It’s amazing to me that I can completely ignore this space for 7 months and return to find it’s still here. I think in all that time I’ve logged in maybe twice. It’s not for lack of fodder, that’s for sure! Life continues on whether I write about it or not. I do miss it though and would really love to get back into writing at least a weekly post, but even that commitment seems huge right now.
The other day I had a conversation with a friend about over committing. I’ve learned a great lesson these past months. Really, as with most lessons, it’s a cumulative sort of thing that takes years and years of learning some things and unlearning others. What I’ve come to understand is that you can choose to do a few things well, or a lot of things either mediocre or even poorly. That’s what I’ve been doing lately. Making the choice to do my best with the few. It was something God was clearly working out in me without my even realizing what was happening. I’ve pared the things in my life down to a few things that I’m pouring my all into and they are going very well. The other stuff has gone by the wayside. Not forgotten, but just not a big priority anymore. Obviously The Sunny Side was one of those things! Media in general has been one of those things.
For the numerous friends and family I keep in touch with through the internet, mostly facebook, I feel like I’ve failed you. At least as far as the definition of a friend goes. You’ve all been in my thoughts and I’ve prayed for you as you’ve come to mind, but keeping the lines of communication going were more than I could manage, and for that I apologize. It took a year of therapy, medication, lots of prayer and reprioritizing to understand that if I over commit myself, even with the mental lists and expectations of myself no one but me knows about, I start to break down. And then I’m no good to anyone!
In general I think I’ve finally learned balance. It’s taken YEARS for me to feel like I’ve gotten to a good place where balance in life is concerned! It’s a good feeling though :) I’m not saying I’ve arrived completely, until I’m in heaven, that will never be the case. The scales tip at times and things are busy beyond my control, but it’s how I handle it that’s made all the difference. For instance, these past 2 weeks have just been crazy-busy. The kid’s schedules, Phil working a lot, me working a lot! It was just normal life stuff on overload. The thing I kept in mind through it all was that it wouldn’t last forever. This was NOT going to be how my life was ALL THE TIME. And here I am, making good on that thought. Fall break and I’m finally able to sit and write something with some clarity. Of course there are 18,000 other things I could be doing, but right now this is what I NEED to be doing.
The other thing I’ve found perspective in is that when I keep my “world” small and relatively close I’m a LOT less likely to get overwhelmed or stressed. In limiting the amount of information I take in, and focusing on what I can directly have an affect on, I feel as though I AM making a difference and doing well. I say all of this with the basic knowledge that what Jesus says in John 15:5, “Without Me you can do nothing,” is complete truth. Without Him none of this balance would be found! It was orchestrated by Him, with His strength, and for His glory. That truth is the foundation for any good thing that has come or will come from my life…it’s ALL about HIM!
Let me explain what I mean when I say keeping my “world small” or being effective in my “sphere of influence.” I may overuse quotation marks, but those are the things that I’ve heard others say or I’ve read. I’m a big reader, but I hate clichés or catch-phrases. This is how it works out for me (the disclaimer being God may work it out in your life in a different way altogether.) First I’m a Christ-follower. That means that it all starts with my relationship with Him. From there my next priority is my family (husband first, THEN the kids…get that in the right order or you will pay for it at some point ;) After that it’s what and whom I choose to invest what energy I have left in. For me that is mostly my job, teaching kids and working with their families, and being an active part of a local church. After all that, there is very little for anything else. Truly. If I extend myself beyond that on a regular basis, I start to lose it. The connectivity we have in this day and age is a blessing and a curse depending how you use it. If I spend any amount of time on facebook, I’m going to read about disasters and sad things across the world that people are praying for and concerned about. That’s a blessing in that people in need are being prayed for in their situations! The curse comes in that if I read all those things and feel I have to personally pray in detail for each and every one, it will overwhelm me. Again, this is what I’ve found that I need to do to keep my sanity. I limit my information intake, and in doing so have become way more effective in praying for and serving the people I physically come in contact with.
I’m blessed that I have good friends who will notice when I’m getting stressed and ask me how I’m doing. Just knowing someone else cares enough to notice gives me the wherewithal to check myself and make adjustments if needed. As I said, it has taken YEARS to get to this place! Stay encouraged if you’re trying to find balance in your life! It can and will happen if you follow God’s leading and surround yourself with a good support system of people who love God and love you.
And by all means, don’t read this and think I’ve got it all together. Because I don’t! I’m a hot mess in general. To say I’ve found balance in my life means you may come across me in the grocery store looking like I just rolled out of bed (even if it was 16 hours ago) with a list, as opposed to wandering the store aimlessly with no idea what I need to buy. You might think calling THAT balance is a pretty big exaggeration, but again, for me it’s progress! And that’s the goal is it not?