“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven…”
On a scale of 1 – 10 how balanced would you say your life is? The reality is, we all face competing demands which can make striking a balance between them more than difficult. However, living a balanced life is key to living your best life.
Growing up, my cousin Rena used to tell me, “All work and no play makes Lynne a very dull girl.” Apparently even as a child my achiever strength was in overdrive. As an adult, my drive to complete tasks has not changed. Even through my blog you may notice I often challenge others to dream bigger, work harder, and push themselves further than ever before. While I am still all about hard work and big dreams, over the past few weeks God has been impressing on my heart the need to slow down and simply have a little fun.
This past month, with my stress level rising as I was trying to wrap up final work for my graduate program and my now 3 year-old deciding naps are a things of the past, I noticed myself becoming increasingly irritable and short – I’m sure my family did too – yikes!
Last weekend, despite my inclination to knock out schoolwork and household chores, with the unseasonably warm fall weather here in Minnesota and my love for the outdoors, I could not pass up the chance to get outside and soak in the last days of warmth and sunshine before the snow flies. Putting my books and laptop down, my family and I headed out on the bike trails. While my husband and older two along with my brother-in-law hit the single track mountain bike trails, I loaded my little guy in his bike trailer and we hit the paved trails. After nearly two hours on the trail I could feel the stress fading away. Coming home, with schoolwork and laundry still waiting, rather than getting right back into things, I decided it would be better to join my older two for a full on game of dodge-ball on the trampoline. As we bounced and laughed together while nailing each other with well aimed throws, I could feel my soul coming alive. I was quickly reminded of what christian coach Chris McCluskey tells his clients regarding life balance.
According to McCluskey, all of life can be placed in three categories: worship, work and play. In a snapshot, worship includes time in church, reading the Bible, and acts of service such as ministering to your family or serving others. Work includes not only your 9-5 job, but also all the tasks that go into managing day-to-day life. Finally, play is something that requires intentional time and effort on your part, but also refreshes your soul. McCluskey shared that when he bought his horse, he really had no business doing so from a financial standpoint, but he valued the playtime that riding gave him, because quite simply, play feeds our souls. As someone who grew up riding and showing quarter horses and would love to ride again, don’t think I didn’t share that story with my husband!
Okay, so while maybe we should not all run out and buy a horse tomorrow (or maybe we should!), I would suggest perhaps we should take ourselves and life in general a bit less serious from time to time. If like me, you struggle with fitting play into your regular routine of life, purpose this week to step away from your tasks and to-dos and simply have a little fun. Take a bit of time this next week to intentionally enjoy life and the loved ones around you. Go for a bike ride, meet a friend for coffee, or play some dodge-ball on a trampoline – whatever play looks like for you, take a bit of time for it this week and enjoy – and just see if your soul doesn’t feel just a bit more alive.