How do you do it all? Do you feel like you’re so busy that you’re constantly trying to balance a myriad of spinning plates, desperately hoping none will lose momentum and come crashing down? Are you overwhelmed by your busy? Seems like “busy” has become our go-to state of being, either by necessity or, often, as an expectation in our society. If we’re not busy, we’re not doing enough.
What’s in your busy? Parenting young children? Raising a special needs child? Caring for aging parents? Following God’s call to ministry or mission? Trying to achieve a milestone in your career or changing jobs? Managing through health challenges? Balancing a myriad of volunteer roles on top of all your responsibilities at home? Shuffling children to and from activities and events? Or, a combination of these and more?
We all lead busy lives. We all play a myriad of roles and have more on our to-do list than we’ll ever accomplish. If we took the time to list out everything we do and all our responsibilities and concerns, the burdens would be overwhelming. So, we keep pushing forward, trying to get it all done, trying to keep all the plates spinning. Yet, is this the life God has planned for us? Is this the best way? Is there a better way to do it all?
5 Essentials to Balance a Busy Life
First, start by acknowledging you can’t do it all. Not well, anyway… However, you can do the most important things well if you stay focused and balanced. These five tips will help you stay plugged into God’s power, enabling you to find the balance and strength to press on.
“The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand.” (Psalm 37:23-24)
1) Align yourself with God’s mission for your life.
Make sure your mission is aligned with God’s mission for your life. Be clear about your mission and stay focused on it. Keep your eyes fixed on God and be faithful to follow where He leads.
When I’m ‘in the zone’ with God, I can feel it. It’s a supernatural energy that propels me forward, even when I think I can’t possibly do the next thing. He fills me with a energy, passion, direction, and purpose.
You can’t do it all… if you’re not aligned with God’s mission for your life.
2) Stay focused.
When you start chasing squirrels, you veer off the path and lose focus. We’re bombarded with distractions every day – television, social media, Google, just to name a few. We’re also distracted by requests to say ‘yes’ to good things, opportunities we enjoy, but may not be our best focus for this time. Ask God for direction and to show you His answers. Learn to say ‘no’, so someone else can say ‘yes’. Stay focused on your mission.
I refocus on my mission each week as I kneel before the altar and take communion. It’s a checkpoint to recommit myself to God’s mission for my life and ask the Spirit to guide me and lead me in the next steps.
You can’t do it all… without crystal clear focus on your mission.
3) Pray. A lot.
I couldn’t sustain this pace without prayer and God’s equipping. I couldn’t get through the tough times without trusting in God. We all need prayer in our lives – in good times and in bad. Yet, especially so when we’re leading complex, busy lives.
You can’t do it all… without prayer.
4) Be willing to ask for help.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Seek out others who can walk by your side, to provide support, advice, comfort, and encouragement. Ask for prayer and ask for help.
You can’t do it all… alone.
You must prioritize all the things on your plate. Focus on the most critical for the mission God has for you. Learn to say “no” if something isn’t aligned with your mission and priorities, even if it’s something good. You must focus your time and energy on the most important.
This may mean your house won’t be featured in the next edition of House Beautiful or you’re eating takeout or a frozen dinner for the umpteenth time this month. Maybe it means you can’t say ‘yes’ to something you enjoy, because there’s another ‘yes’ that’s more important.
You can’t do it all… period.
“For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love, and self-discipline.” (2 Timothy 1:6-7)
So, how do you do it all?
First, admit you can’t and then turn to the One who has far more ability and ask for guidance and strength. None of us can do it all, but we can do more than we think – if we lean into the power and direction of God and follow His vision for our lives. See where He leads, how He works through whatever circumstances you’re facing, how He’ll use your challenges to develop strengths and purpose. Keep your eyes fixed on Him, and the struggles fade as your purpose becomes clear.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily enables. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.” (Hebrews 12:1-2)
I’m scanning your 5 points again after reading your post because I need this wisdom! I love this reminder to stay aligned with God’s mission for us. I want to stay focused on that rather than running ahead wearing myself out on things God’s not calling me to anyway!
PS Definitely pinning and sharing on Facebook this week. Too good to keep to myself!
Thanks, Betsy! These were definitely things I needed to remind myself of, too! So often guilty of trying to do it all on my own, according to my plans and my timelines ?
Jeanne Takenaka says
Kathryn, such a great post! I love your five points. They are spot on. We can’t always avoid everything that makes us busy, but we can make sure we’re being effective. Prioritizing is the one the Lord keeps reminding me about. That and asking for help. Not always an easy thing for this “independent” woman to do. 🙂
I’m your neighbor at Holly Barrett’s today. So glad to “meet” you!
Michele Morin says
Kathryn, this is so good! I’ve gotten to the point where I cringe when someone asks me, “How do you do it all?” because I don’t want to have that “busy woman” air about me. Numbers 1 and 3 are the ones I’m working on most right now. Thanks for putting your message so succinctly.
Bev Duncan @ Walking Well With God says
“You can’t do it all”…Why do I continue to buy into that myth. Even when I’m focused, I am hesitant to ask others for help…also not good. I needed these reminders this am, Kathryn!! Thank you for getting me back on track!
Ginger Harrington says
Oh that “do-it-all myth gets me way too often. I think that is one of the enemy’s best tactics. The first point is one I don’t often read on this topic and it’s a great place to start. Great points. I think one more that works for me is to give myself permission to not “do-it-all.” I often struggle with feeling guilty I’m not doing this or doing that… Linking with you today at Grace and Truth and so glad we’re neighbors. I’ll share this and post on my FB page:)
Karlene Arthur (@KarleneArthur) says
If there’s ever been a generation that needed teaching on this, ours is it! I’m actually working on an Ebook on this very topic to share on my own blog. Thanks for sharing this encouragement. (Visiting today from #Grace&Truth where we’re neighbors.)
Great points and ones I often come back to and teach others too as well! Nicely done!
Aimee Imbeau says
This is a great list, Kathryn. I like that you mention being aligned with God’s call on our lives. This is so important! And something many of us miss out on. Thanks for sharing at Grace and Truth.
Linda Stoll says
Hi Kathryn … #1 isn’t something most of us think about from day to day, but it sure would keep us focused and give clarity when saying yes or no. Thanks for this insight!
Good to connect with you again via LinkedIn!