There are many thoughts and opinions on whether or not you can have it all. Some say – NO! You cannot have it all. Others say – Yes! But, not at the same time.
I heard a quote the other day from Dr. Freda Lewis-Hall that I have fully embraced:
YES! Because YOU have the POWER to define YOUR ALL!
Why would you give up your ability to define what “all” is? Who has the right to define that for you? YOU DO!
This quote came at such an important time for me. For the past several months, I was feeling like my life was in balance…well, in “my” balance. I was able to do my job well, spend time with my husband and children, and write this blog – continue to explore and deepen my faith. So, I thought I had it all. Really, I was happy.
Except, when I truly looked in the mirror, I was a missing something very important. I wasn’t taking any time for me. And, because of that, my health was struggling.
How do I fit in time for me? And, does my time have to equal work-out time? Some other people may thrive during that time, but that does not seem like fun to me. And, when do I do that? Do I get up at 4am to get down on the treadmill. YUCK! Seriously, that is not for me.
Something has to give.
You may remember, I went to an amazing, life-changing women’s conference almost two years ago called “Women Leading Change” put on by the Institute for Women’s Leadership. The leader (and overall AMAZING WOMAN) reminded us – everyone only has 168 hours per week. No matter how hard we try – that is all we have.
So, understanding that I am in a zero sum game. I only have 168. How am I going to fit all of this in:
- Friends / Volunteering (I do a lot of that)
- Me (Sleep, Fitness, Other)
- Oh, Yeah – and WORK
And, with this new job, that work thing has definitely taken on a life of it’s own. And, while I truly LOVE what I am doing, I have been spending an significant number of my 168 in this area.
There I was, sitting at a volunteer event, listening to Dr. Freda Lewis-Hall, fretting about the number of things still on my plate and how I was going to fit it all in. Thinking about my 168 when she said…
Can you have it all? Yes! Because You define Your ALL!
I missed the next few minutes of her talk because I allowed those words to wash over me. I took the time to think about what did I want to and need to do with my time. And then it hit me…
Integration doesn’t have to be between work & life. How can I combine / integrate other things to find time to do more? Or, what is on my plate that I can take off for a while and not feel bad about it?
So, I started to define my all:
- I commit to being the best Wife and Mother I can be. That is my priority.
- I commit to giving my best at work because I asked for this, I want this, and the impact can be truly amazing.
- I commit to improving myself both physically and spiritually
- I commit to eating well and exercising
- I commit to listening to Christian music and praying during my workouts
- I commit to spending time volunteering and with friends that help me grow in my faith / or share my faith with them
- I commit to surrounding myself with others where I can live my Christian Life Out Loud
In that integration, I added exercising. I needed to find a way to be happier with the person in the mirror looking back at me. And, if I was either spending it in fellowship with friends or singing to my favorite Christian songs – I can integrate! WooHoo!
So, what had to give? Even though I was finding ways to integrate – I still only have 168.
What gave was this blog… Not forever, but just for a few weeks (well, 4 weeks) while I was defining and living my “ALL”.
I will tell you, when you define your all, define what is in it and what is not, an amazing thing happens…
You stop feeling GUILTY about the things you cannot do!
And, you actually do feel better about all the things you can do. Because, let’s admit it, WE DO A LOT OF THINGS!!! So, we should focus on that, and not on what we have missed…
Ecclesiastes 3:1,9-12 (GNB): Everything that happens in this world happens at the time God chooses.
What do we gain from all our work? I know the heavy burdens that God has laid on us. He has set the right time for everything. He has given us a desire to know the future, but never gives us the satisfaction of fully understanding what He does. So, I realized that all we can do is to be happy and do the best we can while we are still alive.
God wants us to BE HAPPY and DO THE BEST WE CAN. If we are always focused on what we couldn’t do, how can we be happy?
So, I choose MY ALL. And, I am happy to note that MY ALL can now include getting back to blogging. And, on the weeks when I cannot get to it because other parts of MY ALL get in the way, I won’t feel guilty about it. I’ll pick it back up when I am able.
Thank You so very much for giving me the eyes to see, the ears to hear, and the heart open to learn. Thank You for bringing such amazing people into my life to help me find my balance.