Bringing Balance to Your Life
The gingerale bottle fell to the floor. The kids scooped it up and promptly turned the cap before I could say “Wait!!” And there it was…sugared foam oozing out of the bottle and all over the kitchen floor. “A bit like life”, I thought, as I cleaned it up. Impossible to put back in the bottle and a sticky mess outside of it.
Do you ever feel like life is getting away on you? Kind of oozing out in all directions and impossible to put back in the bottle? This time of year we often operate under the illusion that a good New Year’s resolution will get us on our feet. But all too often we find life takes that “fresh start” feeling of January, along with our resolutions to change things, and washes them away in a sticky mess.
We all know we need improvement in some area! As women with nurturing hearts we tend to stretch ourselves until we feel like a worn out piece of elastic. Remember the demonstration the stewardess gives before take off? “Take the oxygen mask out and put it first on yourself and then help the child or dependant next to you”. As nurturers we aren’t much help to those around us if we are stretched to our limit and “low on oxygen”.
Here is a simple, practical tool you can use to evaluate the balance in your life and bring things back into focus. January is a great time to do it!
You will probably recall the familiar “Wheel or Circle of Life” from some distant time management course somewhere. I like to take that tool out from time to time and allow it to help me shape my life. Here’s how…try it and the results may surprise you.
Think of your life as a wheel, a circle or a pie. Divide it into the four main quadrants that make up You!
Break each of the four main categories into 3 parts:
- Living Environment
- Fun & recreation
- Life management skills
- Personal growth
- Friends & family relationships
- Personal renewal time
- Prayer time
- Fellowship with others of your faith
Think of the center of the circle as zero and the outer rim as 10. Rank your level of satisfaction with each area of your life by drawing a curved line at the level that best describes how satisfied you are. For example: if you are relatively healthy but have no exercise in your life, you might draw your line at a “5” or at the halfway mark in that area.
Don’t get too detailed. Use the questions below as your guide:
- Health – Are you as well and as active as you want to be?
- Finances - Are you managing comfortably or do you lie awake nights worrying about money?
- Living environment - Is your work and living place comfortable and relatively low stress?
- Fun & recreation - Do you take time to laugh and play?
- Life management skills - Are you satisfied with how you cope with life in general?
- Career – Do you receive an acceptable amount of job satisfaction whether inside or outside the home?
- Personal growth – Are you happy with your character development?
- Romance – Do you take time to enjoy your significant other?
- Friends & family relationships – Do these relationships generally energize you or drain you?
- Personal renewal time – Is there a place for faith in your life?
- Prayer time – Do you take time each day to pray?
- Fellowship with others of the faith – Is there some connection in your week with others of your faith?
Take a look at your wheel and see how balanced it looks. Note the areas you marked high and congratulate yourself. Note where the low spots are. Is there a significant deficiency in one quadrant of your life? Is there some deficiency in all quadrants?
Pick your lowest area and begin to incorporate one small change that will bring your level of satisfaction up in that area. Review monthly and keep adding value one small step at a time. If the task seems overwhelming ask God for wisdom and strength to focus on one small change at a time. If one area is completely overwhelming, ask God to guide you to a friend or a counselor who can help.
Remember, you can bring balance to your life, one small step at a time.