This week we have been talking about finding balance between our personal lives, family lives, and ministry lives. In the future on 200churches.com, we are going to try to spend one week on one theme. We publish a blog post on Mondays and Fridays, and our 200churches Podcast on Wednesdays, and we thinking spending the whole week on the same theme will be helpful and encouraging to you.
So for this week here are our final four thoughts on balance:
1. Balance comes only with intentionality, so it will be very useful for us to intentionally control our schedules. You have probably heard it said that if we do not control our own schedules, others will be only too happy to control them for us. It is also said that if we fail to plan, we plan to fail. Both are true.
Michael Hyatt, in his leadership blog, wrote about his ideal week. I think it is a very helpful blog post that might give you some direction if you have never really been intentional about managing your own schedule. Here it is: How To Better Control Your Time by Designing Your Ideal Week. While you are there, download Michael’s free eBook called Creating Your Personal Life Plan.
2. As you think about managing your time and your schedule, you will find it necessary to develop some clear direction in your life. What do I mean by this? When we fill our schedule, it really matters what we fill it with! A full schedule is not the goal, but a schedule filled with activities and disciplines that move us toward the fulfillment of our mission and calling is the goal.
Stephen Covey, in his book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, calls this “Quadrant 2” living. Covey crafted a chart to illustrate what Quadrant 2 living was, and Forbes magazine thought it was so good, that they said this illustration, with its teaching, was the only thing you needed to remember from Covey’s book. As you think through what things would fit in your “Quadrant 2” box, you will find some clear direction for how to schedule your time. Here is that article from Forbes, and just skip the opening advertisement.
3. In order to enjoy more balance you have to unplug. Here’s what I mean, when you’re working – work! When you’re with your family – be with your family! When you’re resting or enjoying an activity or hobby that refreshes you – go all in! When you plug into one area, make sure you are unplugged from the other areas.
When you’re working, work hard. Go for it. Don’t waste time. Give it 100% and unplug from distractions. Set some time goals and kick it. Clump like tasks together, allocate larger blocks of time to more involved preparation or visits, and get to it. Then when you finish, walk away.
On your day off with your spouse or family, turn off your phone. Yes, I mean all the way off. You know, the part that says “power”, power off. Don’t check Twitter, Facebook, email, Skype, etc. Just BE with your family. Enjoy the moment, and don’t let a musical or annoying notification ruin it.
Then when you’re doing something that replenishes and refreshes you, step into it 100% and unplug from other concerns. Don’t take work with you, and don’t drag your family members along trying to kill two birds with one stone. Go with a friend or friends who enjoy doing the same thing, and lose yourself in something other than ministry (although, yes, our lives are always ministry… not because we are pastors, but because we are members of the body of Christ and we get to serve and love others always).
4. Finally, your life will have more balance, when, whatever you’re doing, you purposely try to create community. It’s always better in relationships. If you are riding a bus, isn’t it more enjoyable to have a little pleasant conversation with the person next to you? If you're an introvert, isn't it better if you're on a bus with a person who introverts with you, and is quiet?! If you have a project to plan, a task to accomplish, a visit to make, a distance to drive – all of these things are more enjoyable and rewarding when you do them with someone else, creating community and developing relationships.
Community will tie together those three areas of your life, helping you to achieve balance and equilibrium. I like to do ministry with my friend Steve, my wife and I enjoyed going out to eat with him and his wife, and we enjoy goofing off together around tech stuff. That’s ministry, family, and personal time, all with the same person, and that really feels like balance to me. And no, he’s not a staff member, just a super cool guy and a good friend.
Life is all about relationships, and creating community in those relationships helps us to live healthy, balanced lives.
Well, that’s it for a week of balance! We hope that you read or heard something that helps you and encourages you in your ministry. Just remember, your leadership in your 200church matters huge in the Kingdom of God!
What do you do to achieve balance in those three areas of your life - personal, ministry, and family? Comment below...
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