We all know the feeling. There is only so much time in a day. Demands are heavy between family, friends, career, and--oh yeah--the ever persistent call of the laundry and 'What's for dinner, mom?' We feel guilty if we say say no, stressed if we say yes, but we don't want to let people down. We want to be the friend who's always on call. The mom who serves dinner straight off the Food Network channel. The social butterfly on Facebook. The wife who looks as if she stepped out of a beauty salon the moment she wakes up.
I struggle with this pretty much every day. I have expectations placed on me as a mom, a wife, friend, writer, missionary, and sometimes I simply fall short. Okay, a lot of the time I fall short. Because quite frankly, I can't do it all. It took me, though, a long time to realize this. My wonderful husband reminded me one day that not only was I not Superwoman, but I didn't have to be Superwoman. Wow. What a relief! I can actually leave saving the entire world to someone else.
Seriously, though, it's something I still have to remind myself over and over. I can only do so much, and God knows that. He has called me to make a difference in the world around me, and to do the best that I can as a mother, wife, and friend, but He also expects me to be reasonable in my expectations. To say no, when I need to. To spend time being quiet in front of Him. To recharge myself spiritually. To take care of myself physically. It's a tough balance, but one we need to look at honestly.
David said in Psalm 27:11 "Teach me your way, Oh Lord; lead me in a straight path..."
When I think of a straight path, I think of focus and direction. God doesn't expect us to run around simply pleasing everyone, because in the end we only wear ourselves out. Remember Jesus' words to Martha in Luke 10:38-41..."Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but only one things is needed." Jesus understood the pull of everything thing that we need to do, but he reminded her that sometimes we have to focus on the important and not just the urgent.
Here are some suggestions that help me on a day-to-day basis to find that balance.
1. Take time everyday to renew yourself spiritually. This will help focus your day on Him and bring a calmness to your spirit.
2. Take time to eat right and exercise. You'll be amazed at how much more energy you have for others when you are taking care of yourself.
3. Simplify your life. There are sites on line like the FlyLady (I haven't used this site personally) who can help you declutter and organize your life.
4. It's better to do a few things well instead of spreading yourself too thin and trying to do everything. You don't have to do it all. (This means saying no sometimes!)
5. Get involved in a ministry you feel passionate about. I've noticed over and over in my own life that when I'm doing things for others who are in need, I forget my own problems and worries and it energizes me.