Balance Your Plate

You know the drill. It’s Monday morning. You didn’t get the extra hours of sleep you’d hoped for over the weekend. Looking at your massive to-do list, you choke back tears. You pour yourself a large diet coke and hope for the best.

Your sweet bundles of nonstop joy trudge down the stairs to get ready. One accidently bumps into the other one and an argument ensues. You sent a warning flare.

“Don’t start, please.”

But, their ears aren’t awake yet. They push each other.

“I’m serious guys. Not today.”

One of them looks you straight in the eye as they back slap their brother from behind. A small child cries. A large child looks around the room to see who’s to blame. They have perfected the “what? it-was-an-accident” stare of disbelief.

You snap. It’s only been five minutes since they’ve awoken, but the last five days have been an unwanted visit to the island of misbehaving kids, and you can’t take it anymore.

I won’t go into the dirty details. But let’s just say that you are less than the perfect mother, until . . . a ring of the doorbell alerts you to the fact that your next door neighbor has stopped by unexpectedly to see if you would mind driving their child to school as well.

They do this every Monday. Without warning.

And. You. Say. Yes.

Freeze frame. This is where the camera stops and the announcer looks at the situation before him in disbelief. Is this woman really going to take on one more thing? Let’s not press play. I can’t stand to watch.

How easy is it for you to take on too much?

Wait. Put the phone down before you agree to help with the next school fundraiser and answer that one. Have you become everyone’s go-to-girl? Do you spend sleepless nights wondering how you’ll do it all? Does your to-do list sync from your day planner, to your smart phone, to your GPS so you will have it with you at ALL times?

You, my friend, need to say it: NOoooooooooo.

Yeah, I know it’s hard. I mean, you take on these things because you know you can handle it. Not only that, but you can probably do a really good job—and you have great ideas that will make it better than ever before. But, when we overload overselves with outside things, we leave little room in our inner circle for the things that matter.

So, let’s look at those things. A priority list of sorts (hey, you like lists, right?). Think of it as a plate with 5 equal parts. To have a full plate—and life—it’s good to have all of these things present. When our plates become heavily piled up in one area, we are likely not able to stomach much from another area.

The next time your brother’s-neighbor’s-cousin’s-kindergarten teacher asks you to help paint a mural in her classroom, make a mental check of your plate:

1.Your relationship with Jesus.  Yes, number one. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you will spend the most time here. If you are in the young mothering stage, or some other stage that is really hectic, it’s not quantity but quality that counts. Make sure that you prioritize this. Not doing so is like leaving for vacay with no idea of where you’re going. If you’re not checking in daily with the One who leads you, you are quite possibly going the wrong way.

2.Your husband. Okay, I’m preaching what I’ve not mastered here. But, I do so knowing that I need to do better. I want to do better. God has placed this relationship at the top of our priority list and it’s high time we listen. This is the closest and most precarious relationship we will ever have with another person—precarious if we choose not to put it in its proper place.

3.Your children. The little darlings. Most of the time, right? This seems like an easy one to prioritize. But, beware. They need one on one time that has nothing to do with their grades, sports achievements, or any other means of performance. They need to know that you will be there with them throughout their lives, and that you place them as a priority over others. They are watching, and will prioritize as well.

4.Your passion. You thought I was going to say church, right? For some, yes. But, for many, our passions placed by God may not lead to service in the church. It is important to support your church. But, it’s just as important to locate and then find the proper outlet for the passion God has placed in you for His service. Often, when this leads us outside of church service, we wonder if we are spending our time on things that aren’t as important. But, God uses many hands, in many different ways. If we chose to put nothing on our plate here, our lives can feel like we’re missing the point.

5.Your other relationships. Just because these are last, doesn’t mean they are least important. These shouldn’t be placed over other priorities, but they should still exist in your life. Friendships, outside family, your children’s teachers, etc. are all an important part of life. But, when one of these asks you to DO SOMETHING FOR THEM, do a mental check of what the other sections of your plate look like.

Balance is hard but not impossible.  Say it with me: NO is my friend. NO is my friend. NO is my friend.

Hey! Do you think you can help me repaint my garage this weekend? Whaaa? No? Good job!

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