Life is tough.
We have a million different things vying for our attention each day. Text messages, emails, Facebook notifications, appointments, class, studying, phone calls… The list is never-ending! We wake up in the morning and our to-do lists pile up before we’ve even sunk our feet into the ground.
Balance is tough.
I remember when I started undergrad they said there are three things you can prioritize but you can only pick two: sleep, school, and friends. I’ve found that statement to ring true in grad school as well. You can’t do everything. You decide your priorities. In PA school, I’ve chosen sleep and school to be my priorities. I know that digging deep and investing in a church community will come in the next season, but during these next 3 months of didactic, my priority is to finish school well and to take care of my body as best as I can.
But how can I practice balance daily?
How can I overcome the debilitating pressures of performance and responsibility?
How can I find joy in the journey?
Here are a few of my tips for managing the challenges that life brings with a little bit of order and a whole lot of letting Jesus take the wheel…
Tips for Practicing Balance:
Making To-Do Lists
On my Instagram stories, I’ve gotten into the habit of creating to-do lists in the morning detailing the events of each day and what I hope to accomplish. With time, it’s really helped me to find peace jumping into the craziness of the day. Obviously, I don’t always follow it rigidly because life happens but the obsessive compulsive part of me loves having a blueprint for the day. Even a simple written list can help you to accomplish the present tasks of today.
Creating Time to Do Things that Feed You
I love baking. It literally feeds my soul to create sweet things for the people I love. Yet early on in PA school, I became overwhelmed with the workload in front of me and lost sight of the life I had right in front of me. To stay sane, I needed to do things that blessed me and encouraged me to keep on keeping on. Baking was the key. A quick hour long break from thinking about meningitis treatments and the Centor criteria for strep pharyngitis to experiment in the kitchen and get my hands dirty. Find those things that lift your spirit and do them regularly. That consistency will give you stability amidst the chaos.
Starting My Day in God’s Word
Took me 24 years to get to the point of actually craving time spent immersing myself in the Bible daily, but I can honestly say I love starting my morning in God’s word. Grab a cup of coffee, snuggle up under a cozy blanket, sit in peace and silence, and ask the Holy Spirit to come into your plans today. I all too often forget to invite God in. But by kicking off my day with the word of God, I are much more equipped to fight the battles of my day armored in truth.
Not transcendental meditation or cosmic union hogwash, but real quiet meditation seeking after God’s own heart. Being quiet, relaxing my body muscle group by muscle group, deep breathing, and reverent prayer are foundational to my time spent in meditation. It helps me refocus when I feel overwhelmed and literally calms my body within a few minutes. Whether I’m listening to nature sounds, worship music, or the sound of my own breathing, just sitting in stillness inviting God in always seems to be a positive way for me to cope with whatever I have on my plate.
Practicing Grace for Myself and Others
Surely you have heard the quote, “Comparison is the thief of joy”? Well, this quote has been a mantra of mine for quite sometime. It reminds that I am not my neighbor and my neighbor is not me. We have all been bestowed different gifts and talents, and saying one quality or trait is better than the other is a complete falsehood. I constantly have to practice giving myself grace for falling short in some areas of my life, but also giving grace to those who fall short too. I can’t expect the people around me to offer me grace and forgiveness if I can’t even accept it myself. Practice what you preach. Walk in love as Christ loves.
Meal prep. Meal prep. Meal prep. When life gets hectic, meal prep. I can’t emphasize this enough. Knowing and planning out what you are going to eat for the week ahead alleviates the possibility of you having to resort to drive-thru meals. You often eat healthier and better portion-sizes when you meal prep. Win-win if you ask me. I don’t always follow this rule, because heck, no one is perfect, but when I do I have such peace of mind going into the week.
Learning When to Let Go and Let God
Allowing God to be in control is not easy. Even despite the fact that I have never been in control to begin with, rather I have just been living under the falsehood that I somehow command the ways of this crazy world. Not true. The sooner we invite God into our crazy and come before him with open hands rather than clenched fists, the sooner we can start living the life He has set before us. I can’t control my circumstances, but I can control my reactions. I can choose to let God pervade my actions and reactions and allow Him to work through me rather than in spite of me. Through prayer and submission, we are more capable of letting go and letting God invade our lives and transform our hearts for our good and his greater glory.
Balance is not easy and it’s not something you ever truly achieve. It’s a constant battle we face trying to practice balance within our homes, workplaces, families, and relationships. Hopefully the above tips will guide you to a place where you will find better balance for the tasks set before you.