What comes to mind when you think about living a balanced lifestyle?
If you’re like me, the idea of a balanced lifestyle is pretty calming. Your ideal picture may be different from mine, but ultimately I bet we desire the same thing: peace.
A Balanced Lifestyle is More than “the Simple Life”
I used to think that all I really needed in order to have balance was a farm life. There is something SO appealing to me about the simplicity of gardening, owning chickens, enjoying pastures, etc.
However, without mastering the fundamentals of a balanced lifestyle, it would have been incredibly easy for me to burnout. There are no shortage of possible responsibilities in the simple farm life, too.
Honestly, if I wasn’t careful I could TOTALLY figure out how to stay busy at a monastery…
I have a tendency to take on too many projects and quickly overwhelm myself, rather than slow down enough to really analyze and think. This is what it takes to embrace a balanced lifestyle and enjoy its many fruits.
How to Live a Balanced Lifestyle to Delight in Greater Peace
Somewhere along the way in our uber busy culture, we stopped taking control of our lifestyle choices and decided to fall on our swords. We have exchanged calm and intentional with crazed and busy. And we wonder why we struggle to experience the peace our Abba offers.
Sweet sister, there is a better way to live this life and truly enjoy what it offers, even amidst its frequent struggles.
Are you ready to try something different?
I would love to say this is a comprehensive breakdown of a simple how-to, but it is not. Think of this list like a Segway into a different way of examining life’s choices and opportunities. It is not exhaustive, because the way each of us make our choices is different and changing over time.
Allow the Holy Spirit to guide you in personalizing this list and zeroing in on which area in your life needs the most work first to suit where He wants you to go.
Never Forget Who You Serve and Seek to Please: God
I remember when my first few children were incredibly young. I frequently experienced a push and pull of pressure to add things into our lives for either their benefit or my own.
Bible studies, sports, trips to the playground, art class, ballet class, swim lessons, etc.
Although none of these things are bad or evil, the pressure that I experienced was what kept my head swimming and my emotions raw. I struggled with the weight of it all and the fallout of the suggestions subtlely insinuated.
“Am I failing my children or myself by not doing these things?”
The truth, of course, is no, these things are not necessary at all for a wonderful and fruitful life. Our Abba wants our eyes focused on pleasing Him and Him alone as we walk, not on pleasing man.
People may speak more loudly than God, but it’s our job to learn how to block out the noise and tune into His still, small voice....It's our job to learn how to block out the noise and tune into His still calm voice. Click To Tweet
Accept Your Limits, Likes, and Strengths
As followers of the Way, we have ample opportunity to choose our steps. However, it is wise to know our own limits when making plans so that we do not take on more than what can rightfully handle.
Ask the Lord to help you to navigate the options you have and choices you need to make. Pray for clarity and the wisdom to choose a select few GREAT things instead of many okay things.
Especially ask for the help to understand the best choices to help grow and use your strengths.
You are here for a purpose, which utilizes your strengths. Allow Him to help His plans for you unfold bit by bit.
Be Intentionally Selective about Activities and Programs
When I was young, I used to love being constantly busy and on-the-go, but once I added a couple kids into my life, my thrill for constant activities basically disappeared. The world, though, continues to offer option after option for things to keep us busy. Again, there is nothing wrong with options or activities. But in order to live a balanced lifestyle, it is up to us to be intentional about which choices we make.
Take inventory of yourself and what you can and cannot realistically handle. Embrace and acknowledge the things that create more stress than joy and eliminate those things from your schedule.
Yes, even church activities count. Programs and activities will always abound, but it is counterproductive to try to get to all the things to keep up the appearance of spirituality while dying inside.
Assess what you can handle, make the choice intentionally and with prayer, and then put blinders on to any other options that come your way.
Just Say “No”
I am a big fan of boundaries, and I truly believe that as our options and choices continue to increase, there is a greater need for them than ever before.
I recently heard a fascinating quote that I found to be absolutely true.
In a few hundred years, when the history of our time will be written from a long-term perspective, it is likely that the most important event historians will see is not technology, not the Internet, not e-commerce. It is an unprecedented change in the human condition. For the first time – literally – substantial and rapidly growing numbers of people have choices. For the first time, they will have to manage themselves. And society is totally unprepared for it.” ~ Peter Drucker
Boundaries are the method through which we practice self-management and discipline. When we say no to the things that we do not REALLY want and enjoy in our lives, we open up time and space to say yes to those we do!
Say “Yes” Because It’s Best
Now that you have assessed yourself and what will truly benefit you most, and eliminated the things that take your time from you, it is time to say yes to the best options for you.
If you are anything like me, you want to say “yes” to anyone who asks you for anything. You want to be able to bring a smile to their face, or please. The problem, though, is that when we say yes to an event or opportunity simply to please someone else, we do a disservice to everyone involved.
It is always better to be honest and vulnerable enough to say “no” than to put on a happy face and take on too many responsibilities. When we say “yes” it needs to be because we will be engaged in that activity and fully invested in the joy that it brings to our lives.
No matter what the option is, may our yes be YES, and our no be no.
We bless each other most effectively when we do things with a fervent and joyful heart! The overall goal of the opportunity suffers when we say yes with our mouths but say no with our hearts.
No one benefits when we are not fully engaged with the choices we make.
Say yes because it is truly the best choice for you, and let others say yes to the best choices for them. When the best people for the activity or opportunity are present, the most benefit will come for everyone involved.
Establish a Calendar that Prioritizes Your Values
Do you know what it is that you value? Is it work? Family? Friends? Play? Activities? Programs? Or some varied combination of the above?
It is easy to give lip service to what we value, but the truth is revealed in how we spend our time.
Boundaries provide another clear way to live a balanced lifestyle, because they provide parameters to protect the things we value the most.
Sit down and write out the things you truly love, value, and desire to enjoy with your time.
Some of the items on my list include bible time, reading to my kids, time to work, date nights, family time, time to spend with friends, etc.
Once you have established your list, determine a schedule include those things into your life. You do not have to include everything every day, or even every week, but they just need to be included.
We try to have a friend/family over once a week to enjoy a meal together and some adult chat time. It has not been very long since we began this protected time, yet we continue to receive great blessing from the practice.
Determine your values, schedule protected time to include them, and enjoy.
Listen to that Still, Small Voice
At risk of being redundant, ultimately we are here to serve our Abba. He leads us and guides us one little step at a time. Ask Him to help you to navigate your time and to find the best path for your balanced lifestyle.
His voice is calm and gentle, guiding us according to the wisdom of His Word. We must do our part to pay attention so that we do not miss what He says.
There are two wonderful books that I highly recommend to help elaborate on these points even more.
The first is The Best Yes by Lysa Terkurst, a well-known Christian women’s speaker. Our Abba leads us in a variety of ways, and this book helps to remind us to listen to His quiet leading as we go about our days.
The second book is Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by researcher Greg McKeown. This non-religiously focused book is chock full of principles to help you live a balanced lifestyle. I listened to this book on Audible and am determined to get it in hard copy. I NEED the ability to highlight!
Both books are definitely must reads.
Comment below to add any additional steps you take to live a balanced lifestyle. Be sure to share this post so that others can live a balanced life, too.