At a conference I spoke at recently, a woman approached me for some help. She said something like, “Nicholeen, I need some help. My life is totally out of balance. How do I find balance? You are such a busy woman. You homeschool your children, teach classes, write blogs and books, garden and do church callings, etc. You must be a really scheduled person. How do you do it all? How do you stay in balance?”
When I looked into this dear woman’s tired eyes, I wanted to give her a magic formula to balancing everything out, but I couldn’t, because there isn’t one.
We live in a time when life is rushing past at a crazy pace. There are always too many things to do and too many places to go. We all have family, church, and community duties and responsibilities. To top that off, many of us are called to do other things to prepare the world for hard times and glorious times ahead. We all have missions which are specifically meant for us. Yes, we have to add those things into our busy lives as well. Is there time for mission? No way. Does that stop us? No way. Are we tired? Yes. What do we do? How do we make it through healthy and happy and still get everything accomplished?
These seem to be the questions of our times. Life is moving so quickly, we can’t possibly get everything accomplished.
Do We Really Have To Do Everything?
Some years ago, when I had my fourth child and was starved for time and sleep, I felt like, “I never got anything done.”
One day I was telling a wise friend of mine about my time limitations and frustrations about not getting the things on my list done. She told me something I will never forget. She said, “Nicholeen, you are making the wrong kinds of lists. You need to make a list with the really important things on them. You know the things you are really going to do. You need to write…hold the baby, hold the baby, hold the baby…then you’ll actually do your list of things and have plenty of things to check off at the end of the day.”
I took her counsel and tried it. I actually wrote a list of all the things I was juggling each day. I wrote hold the baby a bunch of times, change the baby many times, and other things which I knew I would have to do in my day. I also wrote a few things I wished to do, but didn’t write too many of those, because at the end of the day I wanted to see I did what was best and that I left time to follow the dictates of the Spirit too.
I learned that life wasn’t about doing everything I thought I had to. It was about doing what I needed to and that each day would look differently depending on how the Spirit directed. Following the Spirit is the most important thing we can do with our days.
Should Life Be In Balance?
There are probably mixed views on this question, but I think the answer lies in the word life. Life is too big to ever be in balance. If a person is following the promptings of the Spirit and is trying to serve her family and fellow men while living her life’s mission, there is too much passion to balance. These things can’t be part of a check list. If they were part of a check list, the most important things, like “hold the baby” wouldn’t get done.
Life can’t be in balance or much of the greatness in the world wouldn’t happen. However, spirituality should be in balance. In fact, if a person is spiritually balanced then they can make it through all the uncertain twists and turns in life.
The Wild Ride
There is a ride at Disneyland called “Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride.” I must confess I don’t like this ride too much, but it stands as a great symbol of what spiritual balance can do for life’s wild ride. On “Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride” the passenger is loaded into a car and securely fastened for safety. Then the little car is sent on a wild and crazy ride full of ups and downs, crashes, near misses, booms, honks, and flashing lights. When I emerge from the ride I have been known to have a headache due to the sensory strain from the wild ride.
The ride is symbolic. As you go through or pass by all these bumpy, loud, distracting things, you feel lost sometimes. Also, you always come out alright because you were securely fastened in a protective device and on the right track the whole time.
Life can seem like a wild ride sometimes. Sometimes it is full of ups and downs and sometimes it is louder and larger than you really feel comfortable having it be. In fact, I would say that nowadays life feels a little large for many people. The meridian of time is an exciting time.
However, through all the crazy twists and turns of life we can journey with joy and security if we have invested the time to have spiritual balance. If we study scriptures, attend church meetings, pray often, and know the voice of revelation, then we can always be secure even when the storms of uncertainty are around us and the hectic flow of life makes us feel like we aren’t making progress quick enough.
So, is balance possible? Yes. Spiritual balance is, and it is the only kind of balance which really makes any difference. Strive for spiritual balance and then the rest of life will be joyful no matter how crazy things get.
How Do We Do All That Is Required?
A few years ago I was at an area conference and heard Elder David A. Bednar give a presentation about how to get through the craziness of life. He said the best way to keep going was to keep spinning the plate which is going to fall first.
Have you ever been to the circus and seen the performer who has a whole bunch of plates spinning on sticks? I have. The performer has to watch for which plate is getting the most wobbly and then spin it to keep it going. He goes from plate to plate always spinning the one that will fall first to keep them all up.
Elder Bednar said that we need to be plate spinners too. We need to look for the thing in our lives which is the soonest to fall and focus our attention on that thing. Then we need to look at the plates and see which plate could wobble or is wobbling next.
Pray that you will complete all that God wants you to get done and then pray that you will accept that the rest wasn’t meant to be done right then.
Well, that’s pretty much how my life is. I go from plate to plate and spin the one which is ready to fall. This is what I told the woman who looked to me for an answer for how to put her life in balance. There is only one kind of balance possible, and that is spiritual balance. The rest of life we will spend serving family, friends and God and choosing between all the good things which we can spend our time on.
There are many good things we can do with our time, but remember that for our spiritual balance the best thing we can do is strengthen our eternal relationships with family and God. Our time with family is so important. Let’s appreciate it.
I usually write articles to help parents better communicate with their children and to bring greater peace to their homes. I can think of no greater thing which can bring happiness to a family than a parent who is spiritually balanced and joyful in the journey of life.
Your peace and joy amidst all the things you have to do will strengthen and unite your family. Teach your children and others that life during these times is not going to be a smooth ride, but that your family is up to the challenge and knows how to feel balanced when life is not.
For free parenting tips, advice and principles visit Nicholeen’s blog http://teachingselfgovernment.com