The Bliss of A Delightfully Balanced Life
What does a balanced life look like for you?
The last few months have been unusually full for me between work and some major renovations on our home. The extra activity has been stretching. It’s forced me to let go of some very good things in order to maintain balance in my life – space for the life-giving activities and the treasured people in my life.
And this season has been a dramatic reminder of how essential it is for me to manage my life in a balanced way. When I try to accomplish more than is humanly possible, I feel stressed, exceedingly less creative, and less focused too. That’s not the way I desire to do life!
When the out-of-balance persists, however, it doesn’t take long for that to feel normal. Maybe that’s where you are right now. The stress, exhaustion, and general blah feeling – you’ve gotten used to that! You don’t even notice the negative way it makes you feel.
It’s Like Fast Food!
I liken that out-of-balance feeling to sustaining yourself on a fast-food diet. While it satisfies your hunger, it’s depriving you of the nutrients you need to THRIVE in life and work. Not only that, it doesn’t take long for you to convince yourself that a fast-food diet is delicious even though it’s taking a toll on you physically. While it isn’t doing you any favors, you may still crave that quarter pounder.
The Good Stuff
Now if fast food has been your thing, it might take your palette a minute to adjust to the healthier more flavorful dining options. Initially, you may still crave the quick fix. Yet, a talented chef is able to create sophisticated and scrumptious flavors by creating dishes with a perfect balance of flavors – a combination of sweet, salty, sour (acidic), bitter, and the right spices. And because they typically use fresh ingredients and include more fruit and veggies, their concoctions are better for you than fast food.
When you come to appreciate the flavors and the way healthier food makes you feel, that’s when you truly enjoy the “good stuff”!
A Balanced Life
When your life lacks balance, you exist in survival mode.
With balance, you are able to savor and enjoy life and it’s considerably more compelling. There’s space to be creative, dream, and most importantly be, just be!
Life is not static. What was balanced for you yesterday won’t be balanced for you today, and tomorrow – well, who knows?
A chef deals with the same unpredictability when preparing a dish. The ingredients are not always exactly the same. One container of strawberries might be sweeter than the last container, or the ham in the soup significantly saltier than before. That’s why a chef must taste and make adjustments to ensure that the flavors in a dish are well balanced.
In the same way, you must be able to assess your life and identify the what needs tweaking in order to improve your life balance. Each season brings new activities and new challenges. Maintaining balance is dependent on how connected you are to what you need and how realistic you are about what you are capable of. With that information in hand, you are then able to make wise choices when it comes to managing your life and maintaining balance.
And guess what? Life is more delightful when it’s in balance. Too often we take on more and more and crowd our lives, which is not delightful! And it’s counterproductive.
You are most productive when your life is in balance – that’s bliss!
A balanced life is happier, gets better results, and is significantly more motivating!
Ready to find more balance in your life? Start by…
1. Be Honest!
Without tasting, a chef won’t know for sure which flavors need adjusting. And without honestly assessing your life and level of balance, you won’t know what needs fine-tuning either. Here’s a quick exercise to help you assess your life so that you have a better idea of the areas you might be neglecting.
And it’s important for you to understand what you really need. Do you need to slow down? More time with the treasured people in your life? Make time to connect with God daily?
What’s missing in your life? What’s needs to go?
How do you really feel? Part of the reason you’re out of balance in the first place it’s because you are ignoring the information that your feelings are trying to provide you with – in formation that will enable you to make decisions that would facilitate greater balance in your life.
What are you afraid of? How is fear causing you to do life in an out-of-balance way?
Now that you have a clear picture of where you are, it’s time to imagine where you want to be. Dream a little! Visualize the possibilities personally and professionally!
3. Be Intentional!
When you realize your life out of whack, the temptation is to do a major overhaul. Resist that temptation and start small. Then, when you’ve mastered that, move on to another area of your life. Remember, it’s a process – not something that happens overnight!
Let’s say you need to work on the relationships in your life. While your goal is to improve your relationships, your intentional day to day action or habit is to connect with at least one person you treasure every day – a lunch date, a phone call, or even sending an encouraging text or card.
What one area of your life do you want to improve?
4. Track It!
If you want to increase the odds of successfully making those changes, you need a way of visually tracking them. Maybe checking it off on your physical calendar, using an app on your phone, or some other visually pleasing way is your preferred way of keeping track of completing the daily actions.
Check in with yourself and notice your progress. Have been consistent? If so, celebrate that. If you haven’t, take the time to what would work better for you.
When your life is in balance it easier to dream and it is more motivating to pursue big goals!
So, when you are ready to pursue something bigger:
1. Choose Something Compelling
What excites you? Brainstorm – what are you naturally interested in? What makes your heart break? Where do your strengths, talents, and experiences all converge with your passion? That’s most likely where you’ll also discover a compelling goal or dream.
Unless God’s given you a specific directive – stop pursing things that you don’t have a heart for and find something you are excited about!
2. Pace Yourself
Beware! Excitement about a compelling goal or dream might create some imbalances in your life if you aren’t careful.
Go slow and be steady! Remember, being consistent is more important than being fast. Worthwhile endeavors take time! Don’t burn out before you reach your goal.
3. Harness Inspiration
What inspires you? Being creative? Reading? Time with like-minded friends or colleagues? Inspirational movies? Time spent in nature?
Whatever it is, how will you regularly include inspiration in your life? Minus inspiration, the obstacles you encounter will hinder and discourage you – maybe even make you want to quit!
4. Embrace Support!
The sheer magnitude of your compelling goal may leave you overwhelmed. That’s why it’s invaluable to have support along the way. Trusted family members, friends, or a coach to encourage and cheer you on! And that outside perspective will help to illuminate blind spots and to arrive at create a powerful strategy.
A perfectly seasoned dish is pure bliss! Something to be savored and enjoyed. Maybe even something to want more of!
A perfectly balanced life – that’s also worth shooting for! After all, it literally impacts everything you do!
What’s keeping you from a delightfully balanced life?