Balancing My Life—Faith, Family and Friends (Part 1 of 3)
“Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance and order and rhythm and harmony.” Thomas Merton
Balancing faith, family, and friends
As women, we want the best for our family, friends, and ourselves. We know it’s important to have and maintain priorities and values. But the truth is, priorities are like my house—I can have them all in order, then as I start living life things slowly shift, rearrange, get cluttered, and are no longer in the harmonious places they are supposed to be. Life happens. It’s messy and things don’t work out as we plan.
The gap between what we envision life to be like and what it actually is can be stressful and frustrating.
So let’s re-prioritize, put the first things first, and move forward to victory. There is a specific method to the madness of both the categories and the order of My Daily Ten focus activities. And they all interact and play a critical part in the balance or imbalance of our lives.
So, first things first.
What do you hold onto at your very core? What sustains you, makes you who you are, and should be the foundation and steady unchanging rock in your life? Hopefully, like me, your answer is your faith in a loving God who sacrificed everything to welcome us into His family. His love for us is deep and never changes, and can sustain us through literally anything.
In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:33. This doesn’t mean that when we put God first we get whatever we want and life is perfect. But it does mean that God blesses us and can only help us live our best, most balanced life when He is first in every area. Put God first and the rest will fall into place.
In the gotquestions.org article, What does it mean to seek first the kingdom of God?, the authors state, “If we are taking care of God’s business as a priority—seeking His salvation, living in obedience to Him, and sharing the good news of the kingdom with others—then He will take care of our business as He promised—and if that’s the arrangement, where is worrying?”
Well said, right? (I especially like the no need to worry part at the end.)
But again, daily distractions get in the way unless we purposely focus on God and establishing and growing our relationship with Him each day. We know we should put God first in our life but it can be easy to get distracted.
So our focus on faith comes first on our list of My Daily Ten activities. And our faith-focus or daily devotions should come first thing in the morning (or as close to first as possible) so we start each day right and don’t miss out on what’s truly most important. (Truly not a morning person? No problem, say a quick blurry-eyed prayer as you roll out of bed and move the rest of your devotional activities–reading your Bible, more in-depth prayer, etc.—to a time of day when you’re at your best. Just don’t leave it out!)
Daily challenge for all of us:
How can we spend at least 10 minutes each day focusing on God’s love and asking for His help and guidance in our life?
For me, I read my Bible briefly each day while I eat my breakfast (sometimes for just 5 minutes) and pray with my family briefly before leaving for work each day. I also pray in the car as I drive to work—again, sometimes it’s short and sweet, but this simple routine really fits in my busy schedule.
What works for you?
Jesus also said “I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.” John 10:10b. In this verse, Jesus was talking about US—He came to help us and all His children have life that is better than we can ever dream of! He wants us to focus first on Him so he can give us the strength and guidance to live our best life every day.
2. Family and Friends
So we know that we should put God first, and the most important area of our life after that is Family and Friends. We know they are number one in terms of people, but do you ever feel like your life is out of whack and you give your “best” time and energy to other people and neglect your family and friends just a bit?
I know I do.
I go to work and have a long and busy day. I pour myself and my energies into being a good employee, leader, helping my employees and clients, solving problems, listening to challenges and frustrations, and juggling a sometimes insane amount of “stuff.” So when I get home I’m exhausted.
I talk my husband’s ear off about the exciting wins and frustrating challenges of the day. I rush past my daughter after a quick kiss and don’t stop to play with her ‘cause I need to get dinner cooked and served, and take care of the many questions and things that piled up at home while I was off at work. (Why do all the dishes and laundry seem to be dirty and the house looks like it was hit by a tornado?) I’m drained and I really want to just sit down and catch my breath but it feels like I just don’t have the time.
And my friends…well, they really get left out. When have I last called them just to say hi, or arranged for them to come over for dinner? Will it be the next holiday or birthday before I see them again?
Sound familiar? (Please say you struggle with this too…)
I truly love and appreciate my family and friends. But finding time to show that through my actions, words, and how I spend my time needs definite improvement.
So that’s focus area #2. Putting my family and friends at the top of my “people” list, so I can live out my priority to give them my best.
Daily challenge for all of us:
How can we spend at least 10 minutes each day focusing on our family and friends?
For me, I pray with my family at least twice per day—in the morning before we go our separate ways, and in the evening before bed. (Did you notice that this overlaps with putting God first? Yeah, not a coincidence…)
My husband and I learned years ago from a couple that mentored us that statistically very few couples and families pray together regularly. That includes pastors and families in ministry!
And interestingly enough…the divorce rate among couples who pray together regularly is insanely low—something like 2%. Just as importantly, couples who pray together regularly and put God first in their relationship and family tend to be happier, healthier, and better friends with each other than those who don’t.
It’s quick, simple, and easy, yet CRITICAL.
Make it a new incredibly positive mandatory habit in your house if you haven’t already—kinda like brushing your teeth twice a day, don’t leave it out for any reason!
You’ll find like we did that it simply and smoothly creates a comforting structure within your family that your life can revolve around. So easy, yet so powerful.
Other ideas to follow to spend time with your spouse, kids, and friends, but for now, start with family prayers, and knock out My Daily Ten focus areas 1 and 2 in less than 10 minutes each day.
Additional articles in this series: