Several weeks ago, I was asked if I would be a presenter at a women’s retreat that our stake relief society hosts each year in the fall. “Um … sure,” I replied. My next question, which probably should have been my first, was, “What is the topic?”
The sweet sister replied, “Finding Balance in Our Lives: Focusing on the Essentials.”
I tried to hide my laughter when I responded, “Are you sure you called the right person?”
She was kind enough to hide her laughter when she assured me I was the lady they wanted for the job, and in fact several people had recommended me for this particular workshop.
After the phone call ended, I decided I was doing a poor job of representing myself at church. I should probably get rid of the game face on Sundays, and perhaps start showing up in wrinkled clothing and with bedhead.
All teasing aside, I really did, and do, feel like maybe I wasn’t the best candidate for this particular assignment. I mean, really, didn’t these women know that I had basically given up on cooking so that I could squeeze in all that needed to be done in my life? Just ask the servers at Panera Bread, they know me by name. And my freezer is stocked with more frozen food then I ever thought I would feed my poor, innocent family. I guess since my family is still alive, and looks relatively healthy, I’ve successfully fooled the masses.
Like many of you, my to-do list is longer than I have time for many days. There are days when I wake up not sure how I will accomplish all that is on my plate. Some days, things get pushed off to another day. And that’s ok.
I just recently returned from taking my second oldest daughter to BYU. On the day we left to begin our 1800 mile trek west, I received my latest manuscript back from my editor. I had been anxious to get it back and get to work on it, so that I could get my new novel published by the end of August or the within the first few days of September. My first thought was, thank goodness for technology and a daughter who is a careful driver. I planned to have her drive through Kansas while I edited away. It was a good plan, I thought. But something kept nagging at me, mainly The Spirit. He’s pesky sometimes, isn’t he? I thought back to my oldest daughter, who I had taken to BYU two years ago, and the amazing time we had on our road trip there and back when she returned home after her first year. I thought about the note she wrote me and left for me to read after she boarded the plane to leave for her mission last July. She wrote about how much those road trips meant to her. I decided editing my manuscript could wait.
Editing my manuscript would not have been a bad choice. After all, my writing career helps fund college tuition. But this time around, I chose the better part, not something I always do. Oh how, grateful I am that I made the right choice this go around. We had a fantastic time together. They are memories I will always treasure. And so the book gets published several days after I had originally wanted it to. It’s still getting published.
So, how do we find balance in our busy lives? I’m not an expert, but thankfully there are some out there who I can copy from. I found this excellent list on lds.org:
- Put the Lord first in your life. Always make time to pray, and read the scriptures daily.
- Get organized. Make a “to do” list or a schedule.
- Prioritize. Decide which things are most important and do those first.
- Write important events on a calendar and refer to it frequently.
- Keep the Sabbath day holy. You might not think there are enough hours in the day to do all you need to do, but remember Sunday is the Lord’s day, and He will bless you if you are obedient.
- “Do not run faster or labor more than you have strength and means … but be diligent unto the end” (D&C 10:4). Make the best use of the time you have, and consider eliminating less-important activities.
- Ask for help. Turn to your family, friends, or teachers if your load becomes unbearable and you don’t know what to do.
- Pray for help. Heavenly Father knows the pressures you are under, and He can help ease your burdens.
- Listen to the Spirit. You might feel prompted to do something you hadn’t planned on doing.
- In all your scheduling, don’t book every minute of your day. Leave time for family, for service, and to just relax and be yourself.
I may not be an expert at any of this, but this I do know: when we put the Lord first, he has a way of making things work out. He honors our sacrifices and blesses us in ways we can’t imagine. Sometimes even blesses us with more to do. More on that next time …
I would love to hear from you and how you find balance in your life. Please leave a comment below.