I used to struggle on the teeter-totters and be terrified of them because I was so small. Trying to achieve work-life balance can feel the same way, like we’re getting bounced around and aren’t solid as we pivot.
The traditional view of work-life balance is an example of black and white thinking. It isn’t realistic given that so many parts of our lives intersect and overlap.
Working hard has value, and we have to get up and do. But we also need to be self-aware and recognize when we need to recharge to do our best. Jesus had good self-awareness.
There are four tips that can help with work-life balance: #1, take charge of the environment and try to get into a place where it’s just you and God with no distractions. #2, praise God, #3, key in on what your goals are, and #4, track how you’re doing.
Follow the four tips mentioned in the episode to improve your work-life balance.
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What’s coming up next:
Ever screw things up? Yeah, me, too. But failure isn’t the end of the story. In Episode 7, you’ll get some examples of how God’s followers fell short, and how God still used them for His glory.
What’s up, everybody. I’m your host, Wanda Thibodeaux, and this is Faithful on the Clock, the podcast all about getting your faith and work aligned. Today, I’m covering a monster topic for you--work-life balance. Do you really need it? Is it just a myth? AND I’m gonna give you some quick tips on how to get off the teeter-totter. This is one you do NOT want to miss, so let’s jump in.
All right everybody. So I gotta start by telling you a story. When I was a little kid in elementary school--I can’t even believe I remember this, but I do--we had these teeter-totters on the playground. And they weren’t just these little guys. They were pretty monster. At least, you know, when you’re a kid, they look huge. And I would watch people go on these things, and I was like, how do you DO that? Because I was a pretty puny kid, I will admit, and it didn’t matter who else I tried to go on with, I was always terrified, because they were always bigger than me, and I’d get to the top, and their end of the teeter-totter would actually hit the ground, and I’d actually bounce and almost fall off.
And in a lot of ways, I kind of feel like that’s how this whole work-life balance idea feels, too. You know, you know it’s something everybody tells you that you’ve got to have a handle on, but you can still feel like you’re getting bounced around a lot, like you’re not really solid or sure if you’re going to be OK. And even if you can see the hit to the ground coming, it’s still terrifying.
So I just want to say, if that’s where you are, you know, you’re on that teeter-totter and you’re just trying your best to hold on, I think the first thing I’d really like you to understand is that work-life balance isn’t really a teeter totter at all. I do think that’s a myth. There are just too many things that kind of bleed over and interfere with each other, and I think, especially with COVID-19, that it became really obvious that there’s not a clear black and white line between the office and home. So if you’re into sports or athletic analogies, I see work-life balance more like you’re trying to move around on a Bosu ball or something like that, where it’s more circular, and you’ve got to adjust as you get fatigued. And the balance is way more complicated, and you’ve got to engage a ton more things.
And so in that sense, it’s not really about managing two parts of your life or pivoting back and forth. It’s more about, you know, across the board, however things interconnect, that you are able to recognize that you need to recuperate before you can go after it again. And more importantly, that once you recognize that you need to recuperate, that you actually do something about it. So it’s very much tied to constant self-awareness and the ability to just pace yourself, because you know, maybe your tolerance isn’t the same from one day to the next. And you have to be willing to look and admit that you’re not growing or applying yourself at your maximum potential and to make a change. That’s different, I think, than the usual view, because it stays very in the moment. You know, the traditional view of work-life balance, I think, is more focused on being proactive and trying to manage your time or resources well ahead of time to prevent problems.
bedient. And then in Proverbs:
But Jesus, I think, had wonderful self-awareness. You know, it didn’t matter what he was trying to do or who he was with, he was always willing to step back, to get away from it and just say, I’m not doing any more right now. And you know, he wasn’t saying, “I quit!” He was just saying, I know I need to restore myself to keep going on the journey.
And one of the easiest things that I think Jesus did that I think we all can apply is that, when he realized he couldn’t go anymore, he got away from everything to spend time with God and mentally, physically, and emotionally refuel. He totally shifted the environment so he didn’t have distractions weighting him down or draining him. Mark 1:35, for example, say that he got up, left the house when it was still dark, and then went off to a solitary place to pray. And this wasn’t just a one-time thing, either, which is really important to note. Luke 5:16 says that Jesus OFTEN withdrew to lonely places and prayed. So whether you take some vacation time or you just duck into an empty conference room for a minute, don’t stay where the stress is. Go to a place where you can strip everything bare, just be yourself, and ask God for whatever it is you need. Because you know, it’s not really rest, it’s not really recovery unless you’ve completely set down the load you’ve been carrying.
And then secondly, in Genesis 2:2, we see, too, that God rested. And I think you have to remember that, even though God took that seventh day off, so to speak, he didn’t do it because He was tired. He doesn’t get tired the way that we do, He didn’t need a break in that sense. But in the whole story of creation, every single day, He’d look back at what He’d done, and He took time to reflect and acknowledge how good it was. And I think on that seventh day, He was just doing that again, looking at the sum of all those days together.
So I think part of rest and work-life balance is looking back like that, you know, just hitting pause and taking stock of all the good stuff God’s been able to do. And Jesus would go out to pray, or even in the Old Testament with believers like King David, you see them praising God. Even in Job, where you know, Job just got hammered with all these bad things, Job still praised God. Because when those people praised God for everything, they were able to remind themselves just how much God already had achieved and is capable of, and it gave them strength to keep going even when things looked bleak.
And then third, just make sure you know what your goals are. You know, when Jesus came, he had one purpose, and He absolutely knew what it was. He totally committed to it. But I think for us it’s a lot messier. A lot of the time, people struggle with work-life balance, I think, because every opportunity looks so shiny. That fear of missing out or social pressure kicks in, and they do whatever they feel like they might need, rather than what they really want or feel called to do. They get distracted. But you don’t have to do everything. You just have to ask God what your individual purpose is and stay the course.
And then lastly, coming back to that self-awareness idea, go ahead and do some mindfulness tracking. You know, take the time to ask yourself on a regular basis, how do you really physically feel? Emotionally? Because if those things start to dip, that’s a red flag that it’s time to recharge a little. And you can use that tracking to learn what your personal limits are and to decide what to do. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else with that or try to judge yourself by some external norm or standard. Just figure out where YOU personally feel good and where you don’t.
So to summarize everything, if you want good work life balance, #1, take charge of the environment and try to get into a place where it’s just you and God with no distractions. #2, praise God. Take time to reflect and focus on what’s good. #3, key in on what your goals are. Stay out of the weeds and don’t take on every opportunity just because it’s there. And #4, track how you’re doing so you can spot your tendencies and limits and create the good boundaries you need.
So let me just wrap it all up with a bow and take a second to pray.
God, all of us have so much to juggle. And so often it feels like, as we’re trying to keep it all together, we’re just one big bounce from falling on our face. Challenge us and work through us, but let us see all the incredible ways we can rest in you, and help us be aware when we should charge forward and when we need to just stop. Show us what our purpose is so that we don’t get distracted from it, and remind us every day that there is no work more important than the things you call us to do. In Jesus name, Amen.
That’s the end of the show. Whew! I said a lot today--gave you a lot to think about, I hope. Next week, in Episode 7, I’m talking about failure. We’re gonna cover why it’s not the end of the world and show you how to get through it, just like some of God’s biggest warriors did. So join me for that in ONE week, everybody, and until next time, be blessed.
Faithful on the Clock is a podcast meant to get your Christian faith and work aligned. You won’t find mantras or hacks here--just scripture-based insights to help you grow yourself, your company, and your relationship with God. If you want out of the worldly hamster wheel and want to work with purpose, then this is the show for you. Hosted by freelance business writer Wanda Thibodeaux.
Wanda Marie Thibodeaux is a freelance writer based in Eagan, MN. Since 2006, she has worked with a full range of clients to create website landing pages, product descriptions, articles, professional letters, and other content. She also served as a daily columnist at Inc.com for three years, where she specialized in content on business leadership, psychology, neuroscience, and behavior.
Currently, Thibodeaux accepts clients through her website, Takingdictation.com. She is especially interested in motivational psychology, self-development, and mental health.