|Photo courtesy of faqs.org.|
Here are three warning signs to watch for:
1. You can't remember the last time you said "No."
The healthy, balanced person says no. In fact, she probably says no more often than she says yes. The balanced life is spent doing those things that God has called you to do, using your strengths and gifts, while turning down opportunities that do not fit with your calling.
Too many women (myself included) tend to be "gap fillers." We adhere to the Big Weld philosophy (ever seen Robots?) - "See a need, fill a need." While there are some needs that we must fill for survival (such as feeding our family dinner), we frequently fill other needs due to feelings of obligation or guilt (such as a Sunday school teacher vacancy when we're already serving in ministry).
If you can't remember the last time you said no, start practicing today. Say no to every new thing that comes your way for one whole month. The following month, you'll be enjoying a much more balanced life.
2. You dream about your "to do" list.
We've probably all had a hard time falling asleep due to the stuff on our minds. But have you ever awoke in the morning feeling as though you didn't sleep a wink or that every dream you dreamt was filled with all that stuff? If your list of tasks is creeping its way into your sleeping hours, chances are that list is too long and demands duties that are not fitting with your calling.
I've never had nightmares about a women's ministry meeting or housework (although, I do have waking nightmares about laundry periodically), but I have lost countless hours of sleep over those parent committees and volunteer duties related to the kids' extra-curricular stuff.
If your list haunts you day and night, take a long, hard look and cross off anything and everything that stirs up your anxiety. I promise, the stress associated with calling and cancelling those tasks cannot even compare to the stress that will plague you if you keep doing things out of obligation. (Of course, there may be some items on your list that common courtesy demands you do to completion. Do them first and get rid of them for good.)
3. You fantasize about quitting everything and running away.
I had that fantasy just last night. I wondered, "What would all these crazy people in my house do if I just disappeared for a week?" And I imagined where I would go, which books I would bring, and how I would forget my cell phone at home. Clearly, quitting on my family is not an option! But that little daydream tells me that I'm going to need to quit something...and soon.
Fantasizing about how things will be better is a sign that all is not as it should be. It will be better when... It would be better if... I will be happier... Life will be easier... All these thoughts are the mind's way of telling you that you need to back off and take a little break. While we can't all run off to the Caribbean for a week (which is where I was headed), we all can take a break (whether temporary or permanent) from some of the items on that "to do" list.
What do you think - is your life getting out of balance? If so, what can you do today to begin to change that?
And just in case you're thinking you can manage the out of balance life, check out these Five Consequences of a Life out of Balance by Michael Hyatt.