Life: Doing The Juggling Act
“Work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. The other four balls - family, health, friends, integrity - are made of glass. If you drop one of these, it will be irrevocably scuffed, nicked, perhaps even shattered” – Gary W. Keller.
“Communication is a continual balancing act, juggling the conflicting needs for intimacy and independence. To survive in the world, we have to act in concert with others, but to survive as ourselves, rather than simply as cogs in a wheel, we have to act alone” – Deborah Tannen.
“When I hear people talk about juggling, or the sacrifices they make for their children, I look at them like they're crazy because 'sacrifice' infers that there was something better to do than being with your children” – Chris Rock.
It is a never-ending challenge when you are juggling life. Priorities need to be set for family, career, friends, hobbies, and everything else that fits in our day-to-day existence. We need to come up with a strategy that involves making serious personal choices. Managing it all isn’t for the faint at heart or the prickly procrastinator. Life will run you over if you don’t have a strategy. It doesn’t take intelligence to keep our life’s priorities in the right order. No, intelligence isn’t a necessary trait. It is helpful but it is not necessary. For the folks navigating life through its ups and downs, joys and stressors, they are the ones who know what it means to commit.
The reality is we are all “juggling,” no matter our age or stage of life. And much of life’s juggle brings joy, fun, and laughs but then there are the many bits that are mundane, frustrating, or downright difficult. So, commitment to living my best life has brought me to the conclusion that the difficulty does not lie in the juggling. The difficulty, for me anyway, lies in the fact that I want to be, do, and enjoy “it all” all the time. And realistically speaking, that is just not possible.
So, after many years of “juggling” and dropping many a ball along the way, I’ve become content in my commitment to be all in and fully present, no matter the stage of life. This has become key for me. It took me from striving to thriving in my life. I realized I couldn’t do everything I wanted just because I wanted to do it. That was a serious reality check. In retrospect, I am blogging to tell you that I produced more stress and self-esteem woes for myself when I tried to do it all. My intentions were awesome, but my efforts were futile. Something undoubtedly went wrong. I dropped the ball here and there. What suffered? Besides what I thought was important, my views of myself suffered. My short-lived successes repeatedly undermined my confidence and self-esteem.
Over time, Holy Spirit gave me breakthrough from trying to do everything. “Everything” is different from person to person. But where “everything” is the same for each of us is when we no longer juggle what is important instead we commit to put a priority on them. That means we are committed to not dropping the ball on important relationships, our faith-walk, our personal peace, for example. It’s essential to consider what our top priorities are in life. Drive toward those – others are better off getting smaller and smaller in the rear-view mirror.
God’s Holy Spirit has a way of revealing that we needn’t quit but rest from our labor. In other words, when we’re juggling life and things are not prospering for us, it’s time to speak up and ask Holy Spirit, “Will You show me what I need to let go of because I can’t do everything?” Now, we shouldn’t ask Him this question if we’re not ready to receive an answer. Some ways in which He will guide our decision-making when we need to reprioritize our commitment to the “juggling act” is:
- Do we still have time to spend with God? If we’re constantly pressed or don’t spend time with God, Holy Spirit will draw us back to Himself for our own good.
- Do we spend quality time with our family? Family is the first to know when we’re misfiring emotionally, relationally, or in any way. Even if the family doesn’t speak up, we still shouldn’t feel content. Oftentimes, Holy Spirit will be the first to prick our minds and hearts about it.
- Are we constantly stressed? Key indicators that we are juggling too much is if we feel exhausted and stressed on an ongoing basis. Another is if we feel sickly for unknown reasons. These are signposts that we need to change directions by reprioritizing our lives. They are imbalanced. Holy Spirit is awesome in this department as well. He will show us how to downsize our individual “everything” to keep our life in harmony.
It's a fact that we must learn how to juggle life. A balanced life is possible, but it requires work and being intentional in making it so.
Balance doesn’t mean allocating our responsibilities equally across the spectrum. Some will require more time and effort than others. But it does mean giving sufficient priority and time to what truly matters.