This is episode #83 and today we are continuing our discussion on balance being biblical. If you missed last week’s episode, I hope you go back and have a listen. If not, or you just need a refresher, let me bring you up to speed with what we are talking about. And, if you are new to the show, this is a great topic to be starting in with because it really is the heart of this show. This podcast is for working Christian moms, and my main purpose of doing this show is to restore your belief that balance in your life is possible…..for you. Yes, you! I know how much you have going on. Like I said, I am a working mom myself. This is truth talk. It’s not a competition on who is busy, who is more tired, who has the most struggles in life. Why would we want to win that race? Please know that I see you. I hear you. I get you. But more importantly, so does God. He knows how heavy it all is. And he wants you to let go of it and let him carry some of it for awhile. This is the only way balance is possible.
But before we get into all the details of creating balance for yourself, let’s define what it is. After all, you have to know what you are actually creating, where you are actually going. You wouldn’t just pop on the freeway without knowing what direction to go, right?
After my journey of being so far out of balance and knowing that God had to have something better for me, I began to create balance in my life based off of my own definition. I define balance by setting and moving toward goals in all 8 areas of my life. Why is that my definition? Because when I was at rock bottom and so hungry for a change, my life was the opposite of that. I had one goal in one area of my life and that is where all my energy went leaving nothing or at least very little for the other areas. For me, it was my career. And I nearly lost everything.
But after teaching this for over a year now, I have noticed something….if we don’t set the right goals, we just create even more overwhelming. We create high unrealistic expectations that when we can’t meet them. This is when you decide that I don’t know what I am talking about and you were right all along. Life Balance is not possible.
But it is. And I would challenge to say that not only is it possible, it is biblical. When you look at the Bible and the 8 areas of life that I talk about, the Bible gives us instruction on growing in those areas. It gives us instruction on what success looks like.
This is why within the Life Balance system, I have established 3 pillars to creating life balance.
1. Is giving it all over to Jesus. Line up those goals that we are setting in all areas of life with his word, not our desires.
Let me say that one again. Because this is important. So important that we are diving into this over these two episodes last week and this week.
Your goals need to line up with God’s desires, not yours. The Bible gives clear direction on the areas we talk about.
I’m going to come back to this but let’s finish the 3 things.
2. Is making sure your word doesn’t get too small. We can get self-consumed pretty easy and when that happens, we loose perspective. To keep that from happening, you have to include others in your life. Pray for others, listen to them and build relationships. This is one of the reasons we have our free community on Facebook and a whole other group as part of Life Balance Membership.
3. Are finding the systems that allow you to walk this out. Without action, this is just all a nice idea. But if you want to actually live it. If you want to live an intentional life where you are growing in all areas of life, you need a system that will support that. That is where our life balance membership and the Life Balance Planner come into play. I teach you the exact system that is based off a 90-day process of setting and moving toward goals to create balance.
Now last week, we went into what setting goals look like when they are in alignment with God’s word for your faith, marriage, finances, and health.
This week, we are looking at parenting, your home, friends/fun, and of course your career.
Now, just like I said last week. Our goals will all be different. While the Bible paints a picture of what we should be working toward, we are all starting in different places and our goals should be baby steps toward that. So, as hard as it is, you have to let go of the all or nothing mentality. We are talking 90-day goals. It’s not about completely reinventing your life in 90 days, it’s about praying and seeing where the Spirit would guide you. Setting goals that make sense for where you are right now and what the next step would be.
Ok, I think we have set the stage, so let’s dive right in. Starting with parenting.
I’ll be honest, It was hard for me to set a goal around parenting. If you find the same to be true, think about it this way. What is your intention? When your kids are grown, what the three things that you hope for? How do you want them to describe you? What do you want that relationship to look like? Sometimes we can get so lost in what is happening today, right this moment, that we can forget about the end game. That God entrusted them with us to guide them. They don’t belong to us. They belong to God.
So what does the Bible say about parenting? Well, if you google it, you get a lot of discipline verses. You also get a lot verses about being a good example. If we are to teach our kids discipline are you a good example of that in your life? Now, this also reminds me of the example our heavenly father provides us. The relationship he has with us. To always be there for us, for us to seek him. Have you made it easy for your kids to seek you? When they do, do you answer?
Now notice that there is nothing in the bible about making sure your kids are happy or that they are well rounded from being involved in so many different activities. So why are we killing ourselves with that expectation? Don’t get me wrong, a lot of discipline can come from playing a sport or an instrument. But I think we have to look at why we keep our kids over scheduled and why we feel pressured to over deliver for them all the time. Is it to teach them discipline or teach them to conform to the world?
My husband grew up in a Christian house. I didn’t. I found God as a young adult and when I did, I had a budding relationship with Jesus. I sought him. I craved time with God. On the contrast, my husband rebelled. Religion was pushed on him and so he pushed back. Of course, he came back to the Lord, but As we started building a family together, he has been very cautious with pushing faith on the kids.
So if we are to do as Proverbs 22:6 says and Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.
How do we balance that? Looking again to God as the example of a parent, he gave us free will. He wants us to have a relationship with him….but it’s our choice. It’s also our kids choice. So, that is where we have to set the example.
I talk very opening with my kids about how I talk to God. About how much I love him and the love I feel for him. I talk about prompting of the spirit, prayers that get answered and prayers that don’t.
Just like my marriage relationship is an example to my kids, my faith relationship is as well.
So, how do you turn that into a goal? Well, again, we are all at different starting points and you have to look at the next baby step for you.
It might be to instill more discipline in your household. Don’t think about discipline as punishment, think of it as having self-control, integrity, and work ethic pour into this area. What do you have in place to install these things for your kids?
How can you do this? Right now I am working on some tools for our membership on teaching discipline to your kids that will be coming out in August….just in time for back to school. I hope you check it out.
In the meantime, look at this area and pray about it.
For us, this area is so closely related to our home. You know people often ask about cleaning schedules and routines….I don’t have too many resources for you in this area. Why? Because 1. I don’t do clutter. I love getting rid of stuff. It’s like therapy for me. 2. My kids do chores. Everyday. If they live in my house, I have expectations of how my house is run. They have to play by my rules. When they don’t there are consequences.
The truth is when you search for direction of your home, do you know what you find? Scripture about people, not things. When I start to get consumed by chores, I think of two things. Mary and Martha and the Proverbs 31 woman. The Proverbs 31 woman is described as not lazy. Then there is Luke 10:41.
In this passage, Jesus is at the home of two sisters. Martha and Mary. Martha is busy preparing a meal for all the guests and working hard while Mary sits at the feet of Jesus, listening. Martha gets upset and basically, goes to Jesus to complain that her sister isn’t helping. This is his response:
But the Lord said to her, “Martha, dear friend,[b] you are so upset over all these details! 42 There is really only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it—and I won’t take it away from her!”
So are we to just say, forget about the housework? I don’t think so. We are in charge of our household but what matters are the people. So what do your people need? How can you honor your husband with your home? For me, I make sure he has the things he needs and they are where he can find them. I don’t kill myself with this. I order it or keep it on the shopping list. It’s no big deal. My younger son needs a clean environment for his health conditions...so I make sure he has it. It doesn’t matter if I clean the house or I hire someone to clean the house. It’s what he needs. My oldest is very sentimental. He likes his “treasures” displayed. So I provide a space for him to do that.
Question for you….why do you do around the house? Do you clean like crazy? Why? Do you let things get messy and don’t care? Why?
I don’t think God really cares how decorated our house is or how organized it is. Does it serve your family? Does it get in the way with your time with God? These are questions to ask yourself as you set these goals for yourself.
Often we want our homes to be a particular way for social reasons. If that hits home for you, I hope that you would pray and ask God to search your heart a bit with this. Ask him to show you any sin that might be there. I have friends that have their home a particular way is sinful...for them. Becuase it becomes about comparison, coveting, jealousy, and false identity. I also have friends with beautiful homes that keep them that way because they have the gifting of hospitality. There is no sin there, they want to use their home to minister to people. It’s not about them. So I challenge you to always look at the heart. Your heart.
But this is a good segway into talking about friends and fun.
The last episode I had a confession and I have one for you this episode as well. Ready? This was the hardest area for me to balance. It still is. I use to dread when people would ask me, “So, what do you do for fun?” You mean, other than work? When I’m not working, I’m playing whatever my kids want to play or I’m sleeping. I love my work...does that count? I would feel like a loser when other people would talk about their hobbies. I didn’t have any. I had fantasies of what they would be, but they were not real. I would say I wanted to climb mountains. I do love to hike, but I am not serious enough about it to climb a mountain. I love to dance, but only around the house when I’m cleaning or acting silly with my kids.
And friends? I had friends. But I rarely talked to them or saw them. Unless you count the people that I work with….Can you relate to this? Finding friends when you are a working mom is so hard. Making time to have fun is super hard as well. But what does the Bible say? You guessed it, a lot.
There is a lot of commands to celebrate! Music, dancing, food, laughter, kids playing in the streets! Do you let yourself celebrate? Often we are so hard on ourselves we would rather point out the things we didn’t do or didn’t do well than celebrate the things we did.
This is so true for me. My 12-year-old pointed it out the other day when we were driving in the car. I was apologizing for something...I don’t even remember what and he said, “why are you so hard on yourself? Your awesome and we love you.”
I celebrate them. I celebrate my husband. I celebrate coaching clients. So, how can we do something different? How about just celebrating what God is doing in our lives?
Actually, allow yourself to celebrate! Get with your friends. Go first. Everyone is always waiting for someone else to go first. I looked for resources for working Christian moms for 10 years before I decided to just create it myself. Looking for things to plug in with at your church for working moms but not finding it? Create it.
Don’t wait for your friends to call you, call them. When they do invite you don’t say no. It’s tempting. It is really tempting to say that you are busy. Let’s face it, you're tired. You just got off work and you would rather be with your family. Maybe you miss your family, maybe you are just using them as an excuse because you would feel guilty. You need friends. Trust me you do. When I finally started making time for my friends, something really hard happened. I found I didn’t have that much in common with them anymore. I had to find new friends. I avoided this forever.
Then one day, sitting in church, the holy spirit made it apparent to me. We are not supposed to do this life alone. I need strong women in my life that I could confide in. That could pray for me. That I could get a window into their life (hello, remember step number 2) to keep me in balance.
So what did I do? I looked online. I went to meet up.com. Nothing. So I posted in a bigger community Facebook group. “ISO: Any groups or activities to get to know other working moms in the area”. Let’s face it, if you are a SAHM there are 1 million opportunities to make friends.
I got a few responses and one of them was delivered by the holy spirit. She has fastly become a very good, trusted friends who I love and adore. Through her, she introduced me to her friends. Now I have a circle of women that I feel God placed in my life for a reason. And placed me in theirs for a reason as well.
You guys, it was uncomfortable. I didn’t want to do it. I’m and introvert that is forced to be an extrovert for work. I'm in sales. But if I am going to build balance, I have to be obedient to living my life in the way that God has instructed me too. It has been so worth it.
So, I saved the best for last. Really, I could do a whole podcast series on this topic. All this information is going into a book I am writing and I can’t decide if this will be a section, a long chapter, or a second book entirely because there is just so much to say about our career. How we balance it with the rest of our lives.
On the basic level, this is where working moms often feel out of balance just due to time. But this is why time has nothing to do with balance. We will never have equal time with our family as we put into our career. If you work full time, it’s just not possible. And it doesn’t make sense. Sometimes we have to work or we want to work. That’s not bad. To suggest that our work time has to be equal to family time to have balance is harmful and it’s shocking to me how many people think about balance this way. It’s not about time spent, it’s about intention spent.
For the sake of this podcast episode, let’s just talk about setting goals for this area of your life to be consistent with what we have been talking about already.
How do you set goals for your career? Typically a lot of ways. We might have goals for what our career can evolve to or the trajectory of our career. Where we are going with it. Or we can look at the annual and quarterly goals we might have within our job function. The things that we are focused on to perform our job well. Ultimately, performing our job well contributes to the bigger picture of where we are going with our job.
You might even be considering switching your career. Or struggling with what your calling is, or searching for what your career life is ultimately about. These new ones that are personal to you, are what makes this area complex. But regardless of where you are, what does the Bible say about work?
Well, like all the other areas, it says a lot. A whole lot. And the general consensus? Work hard. Do good things with your work. Look back at your work and see that it is good. Work is worship when your focus is on God. This is true no matter what you are doing. When you work, you are using the gifts and abilities that God has given you. That’s what he designed you for. Give glory to him in what you are doing and with your heart in alignment with that, you are worshipping with your work.
So how does all this apply to setting goals for your career? It’s a simple heart check. Are you working to glorify you or him? Don’t get me wrong, it’s not bad to be praised for your work. In fact, you should be doing such an amazing job that you're getting praise. It’s ok. But realizing that our creativity, our brains, our ability, compassion, determination, leadership, skills….they all come from God. He is ultimately responsible for our success.
Some of you might not find yourself in a super ambitious spot. You might not be pining for the next promotion. That’s ok. But are you still giving your all at work, or are you just showing up and doing the minimum?
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,
We should be giving our best work in what we are doing. That’s what our career goals ultimately should be. Think about the differences you could be making with our job. Sometimes we don’t think of it as significant. It’s just a job. It’s just office work, or just….insert whatever you do. But it is significant. With what you are doing for your work, you have the opportunity to bless those that you work with. Those that you work for, and the customers that use that business. It might not be directly, but you are contributing to it.
I have always loved studying amazing companies. One company that I love is Dave Ramsey’s organization. He has done an amazing job in building a company that changes lives. Of course, you may think about his radio program or his books. But think about everyone that works for him. There are over 600 employees at Ramsey Solutions. One of the stories that I loved, is how the people that work in shipping pray over the books going out. They think of the families that will be impacted because of the work they are doing. The family can’t have that same impact without the shipping guys getting the book out. They are making a difference.
It’s all perspective. We can be excited about going to work or decide we hate Mondays. We can give it our all and turn work into worship or we can be lazy and just show up. We can strive for achievements and wrap up our identities into what we are doing, or give glory to him with every mountain we climb, record we break, and award we win.
Bottom line, work hard. And Let your light shine.
With your career, as with all areas of life, your starting place is different. That means where you go from there will be different. But ask yourself, what do I need to do next?
Your next career goal might have to do with your attitude toward work, or it might be to not hold back with your brilliance. (You know, sometimes we do that...hold ourselves back. But that is an entirely different topic to dive into)
Again, as you are setting Godly goals, they don’t have to be all or nothing. Think about the next 90 days only. Look at the next baby step.
Reaching any goal in any area of life takes a clear plan and consistent action. That is what the Life Balance system brings.
Our Life Balance Planner that goes along with the Membership reminds you weekly and daily of what your goals are. They keep you in balance with our three basic principles.
Focus on others
Follow the system
Inside the membership, we have the courses that will walk you through each step of setting up this process for you. I will teach you how to apply all these concepts to your life.
One of the main things that we teach, is to build habits for all areas of your life so you can have those things that contribute to a balanced life running in the background while you focus on bigger improvements in any particular area of life. We help you find weekly bible verses around those areas. You write your verse for the week in your planner every day. This helps you see it in different ways, keeps your focus on what the word says, and helps with verse memorization.
If you are ready to be done with just moving through life. If you are looking for purpose, being intentional as a mom, wife, and friend, Life Balance Membership might be for you.
It is our sponsor for this episode. We would love to have you join us!
Life Balance Membership equips you with the lessons and tools to build the systems into your life, but then we want to take it a step further. We provide resources to help you grow in each area of life And part of that is our sessional packages.
We are just getting ready to kick off our Summer Bible Study as part of our Project Summer of Awesome. And there is still time to take advantage of all that our summer package entails.