Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Finding Balance in a Weighted World- 7 Ways I've Restored the Balance in my Life

My life is a juggling act.  No, seriously... It's a giant juggling act. 

I'm a:
Full-Time #KidsMin and Church Admin
Part-Time Retail Associate
Best Friend

There are so many pieces to the puzzle called Mary.  I've struggled over the last two months with avoiding burn out and finding a sense of balance.  Over the last two months I have felt like I was holding my two arms outstretched and the weights were just being added on.  When one arm was too full weights were just added to the other side.  I struggled with finding balance and I began to feel the effects of burn out.

Burn out in the ministry is a very honest and real feeling.  We have all felt it at one point or another, and I'm admitting it to you right now.  I've struggled with burn out.  I like to keep my blog real and I want you to see what my life in full time ministry is really like.  I've struggled with finding the balance of everything that is required of me.  

How have I done it?  How do I maintain balance at crucial times in my life.  

According to the New York Times (2010 statistic) 1,500 Pastors leave their ministry each month due to burn out, conflict, or moral failure.  75% report suffering from severe stress and anxiety.  90% work more than 50 hours each week.  45% of Pastors say that they have experienced depression or burn out to the point that they have had to take a leave of absence from the ministry.  (Source)

Those are statistics from 2010.  Burn out and stress from the ministry is real.  

What have I done?  How have I found the balance between a full-time job, a part-time job, blogging, and being the person that everyone else needs me to be (daughter, friend, sister, girlfriend)?  

It hasn't been easy.  

1) I've prioritized- I truly feel like this is one of the most crucial things that I could ever do.  At the beginning of every week, on Monday morning at 9:00 AM, I look at my calendar for the entire week.  I look at my work schedules, special events throughout the week, blog posts I would like to write, and times that I know I need to commit to my friends and family and I prioritize.  As much as I would like to, there are some days that I just can not focus on my blog.  I can't write a post every day of every week.  I prioritize my time throughout the week on the things that are most important.  If it's something that can wait, or sit in the backseat for a week, it does.  One of the most important things I have had to learn is that I can not do it all.  I have to prioritize my time. 

2) I've committed to spending time with my family, my boyfriend, and my friends- These are the people who give me incredible joy in my life.  It's these people who know the right words to say at the right time to provide me with that little piece of encouragement.  I have found that I can't just give of myself and never have time to just let my guard down and allow others to pour back in to me.  Those phone calls to my mom every afternoon uplift my spirit.  My weekend visits with my best friends restore a sense of balance and normalcy to my life.  

3) I've learned that taking time for myself is not something to feel bad or guilty about-  I think that there are far too many times when I have felt bad for taking time for myself.  I struggled with thinking that if I wasn't on the go all of the time (at every event, every birthday party, every small group, etc...) than I couldn't possibly be doing everything that I could.  I've had to learn that it's ok to stay home on a Monday night to get caught up on laundry, read a book, have a long quiet time, and go to bed early.  There will be busy times in life and ministry where I may be out 6 of 7 nights of the week and I may only get 5 hours of sleep a night for those 6 days, but on the 7th day I'm going to make sure that I take time for myself and get 9 hours of sleep that night and take the time to rest.  Even Jesus rested- "By the 7th day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the 7th day He rested from all his work."  Genesis 2:2

4) I've learned to ask for help-  This goes back to me having to learn that I cannot possibly do everything on my own.  I've had to ask for help from trusted volunteers.  I've had to relinquish my control (which is extremely difficult for me to do) and say help me please.  

5) I've learned to say no-  This is the most important word that I have learned to say in my life, but one of the words that is the most difficult to say.  No.  It's such a little word but it can make or break you in your life.  This goes back to knowing where my priorities are.  I've also had to learn that saying no isn't the same thing as saying I don't care.  I've also learned that saying no to some requests gives other people the opportunity to plug in and find their strengths and receive blessings from the Lord for serving.  

6) I cherish the moments of joy-  Those little moments of joy far outweigh the moments of stress that I experience.  There are so many joyful moments in the ministry that touch my heart.  Those moments when I see the light bulb go off in someone heads.  That moment when a small child raises their hand to say that they've accepted Jesus into their heart.  The feel of a small hand in mine walking to the playground.  Those moments of joy touch my heart and encourage me in a way that more than makes up for the moment of stress.  I've learned that in those moments I have to be fully present and full in tune to the encouragement that Jesus is providing to me naturally right in that moment. 

7) I've found my anchor in Jesus- This is the thing that ultimately keeps me in balance no matter what.  When life gets rough, when the winds are blowing 100 miles an hour, when the storm is rough, I have learned that Jesus is my ultimate anchor.  And with Jesus as my anchor I cannot be moved despite the storm.  I have found my complete love, my complete satisfaction, my complete life in my Savior.

Burn out is very real and is very dangerous.  But, it doesn't have to be.  

If we take care of ourselves, if we learn to rest in the arms of Jesus, if we learn to say no and to ask for help we can maintain the balance in our life and not feel weighted down by our responsibilities.

How do you maintain balance in your life?

Let's talk about it below! 


  1. Oh, little Mary! I feel like you wrote this post directly to me!
    I find myself burnt out and trying to say yes to every single person and thing entirely too often.
    I just started reading the book Boundaries by Henry Cloud and John Townsend. It is such a great book so far! I'm learning, but I think it's going to be a slow process. ha!
    Thanks for writing this today and for keeping it real! <3

    1. It's so hard! I've struggled a lot with saying no lately too!
      I think we both just have hearts to help people that we will help until we physically can't so far!
      I'd love to read that book when you're done! P.S. Blogging date soon!