bal-ance / noun
a state of equilibrium or equipoise; equal distribution of weight, amount, etc.
As a working home school mom, September has often felt like a balancing act.
School begins, our home school co-op starts back up, each weekend has a big outdoor craft fair to sell at, and at least here in the Midwest, we're trying to hold on to the last few weeks of beautiful summer days, desperately soaking up as much Vitamin D on our skin as possible before bundling up for those inevitable colder months.
I have one kid working full time and planning a wedding. I have a senior in high school working hard, focused on graduating a few months early, and learning to drive.
My youngest is enjoying being part of a local recreation department football team, filling his schedule with practices and games. House church, bible studies, a discipleship class, meetings, appointments and family parties all add to the "busyness"... all good things, just a lot happening all at once, and a big change after 2020 really slowed things down for a while.
Of course, I knew September was coming, it certainly didn't take me by surprise. I knew this month would be a balancing act of all the events, all the activities, all the school stuff and work stuff and mom stuff. I prepped and planned and worked ahead as much as possible but this past week it still has felt like too many things needed me, too many things have been pulling at me and fighting for my attention.
I've been more careful lately to not fill my plate so full of commitments. I've learned to say "no" to a lot more things than I used to. Both the Lord and my husband have helped me determine where I should place my focus; which things I should give my time and energy to.
Life is unpredictable, though. For all my plans and preparation, I've still been overwhelmed with last minute obligations, problems that demand a quick solution, unexpected issues I need to solve...
These things fight for my attention and I am responsible to handle each thing that's come at me this month, BUT I'm also wrestling them into their place on the totem pole, so to speak.
Yes, I need to take care of pressing things like solving a food truck emergency for the market that's only days away, make sure my kids have baseball gloves in their back packs the night before home school co op, get papers signed at the bank and on and on...
But more than anything else, my family needs to know that THEY are my priority and they will always have my attention.
I've made it a habit the past few years to stop and listen to my kids, to REALLY listen.
I might say "one second, let me finish writing this email, or answer this text..." but then I set aside what I'm doing and look at them and give them my full attention.
They are not an interruption, they are my "why."
THEY are the reason I work hard.
THEY are certainly more important than an issue with food trucks or table rentals.
I think it took me too many years to realize I wasn't giving them the attention they really needed. I honestly don't know if any of them ever really thought that, but I just knew I wanted to be a mom that really saw them, really heard them, really knew them.
So that's the reason for the balancing act. Life is full of plenty of commitments, plenty of problems to solve, but these kids only REALLY need their mama for a short time and I don't want to miss a minute if I can help it.
I also know I can handle the pressures of life when I put FIRST things FIRST.
"Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”
I love this passage about Martha and Mary. One was bustling about and one sat at the Lord's feet. Martha isn't doing anything wrong by serving, or being "busy" but her focus on getting everything ready, everything done, doing everything that SHE thought was important, made her anxious and worried and ended up distracting her from the ONE thing that should have captured her attention.
Set aside your to do list and your anxious thoughts and busy plans and be READY to be interrupted. Welcome the interruptions of your spouse, your children, the Lord.
I'm purposing to and practicing letting them have first dibs on my attention, and hopefully, in all of it, I'll find balance and rest.