by Gail Rodgers
A paper on the issue of “Balanced Living” and how to address and analyze what is out of balance in your life.
The ginger ale bottle fell to the floor. The kids scooped it up and promptly turned the cap before I could say “Wait!” And there it was…sugared foam oozing out of the bottle and all over the kitchen floor. “A bit like life”, I thought, as I cleaned it up. Impossible to put back in the bottle and a sticky mess outside of it.
Do you ever feel like life is getting away on you? Kind of oozing out in all directions and impossible to put back in the bottle? This time of year we often operate under the illusion that a good New Year’s resolution will get us on our feet. But all too often we find life takes that “fresh start” feeling of January, along with our resolutions to change things, and washes them away in a sticky mess.
We all know we need improvement in some area! As women with nurturing hearts we tend to stretch ourselves until we feel like a worn out piece of elastic. Remember the demonstration the stewardess gives before take off? “Take the oxygen mask out and put it first on yourself and then help the child or dependent next to you”. As nurturers we aren’t much help to those around us if we are stretched to our limit and “low on oxygen”. Here is a simple, practical tool you can use to evaluate the balance in your life and bring things back into focus. January is a great time to do it!
You will probably recall the familiar “Wheel or Circle of Life” from some distant time management course somewhere. I like to take that tool out from time to time and allow it to help me shape my life. Here’s how…try it and the results may surprise you.
Think of your life as a wheel, a circle or a pie.
Divide it into the four main quadrants that make up You!
Break each of the four main categories into 3 parts
Think of the center of the circle as zero and the outer rim as 10. Rank your level of satisfaction with each area of your life by drawing a curved line at the level that best describes how satisfied you are. For example: if you are relatively healthy but have no exercise in your life, you might draw your line at a “5” or at the halfway mark in that area.
Don’t get too detailed. Use the following questions as your guide.
Take a look at your wheel and see how balanced it looks. Note the areas you marked high and congratulate yourself. Note where the low spots are. Is there a significant deficiency in one quadrant of your life? Is there some deficiency in all quadrants? Everyone has low spots when this analysis is done. The idea is to bring balance. One high spot may need
to be brought down a bit in the interest of time and energy spent in order to focus on some area that needs building up. Be realistic.
Pick your lowest area and begin to incorporate one small change that will bring your level of satisfaction up in that area. Review monthly and keep adding value one small step at a time. If the task seems overwhelming ask God for wisdom and strength to focus on one small change at a time. If one area is completely overwhelming, ask God to guide you to a friend or a counselor who can help.
Balanced Living can be achieved as you grasp the full picture of your life and make deliberate, small steps of change in individual areas.
Remember, you can bring balance to your life, one small step at a time.