“Work-life balance” seems like it should be the unofficial mascot of women in the workplace. Right? It’s easily one of the top 3 issues women (and men — let’s not leave them out of this!) bring to the table when discussing hurdles holding us back from reaching our full potential. Despite all the tools, tricks, and top-selling books created to face this beast head-on, work-life balance continues to be a force to be reckoned with. Why? There’s one key ingredient to finding this elusive balance that many of us either forget about or choose to take the long way around.
Open your calendar (book or app) and see if you can find any white space in the next week or so. Take a peek at your text messages and see how many are about getting together with friends or family versus how many are about events, games, or meetings you need to somehow find room for in that aforementioned calendar. Think back on conversations you’ve had lately, maybe with coworkers, friends, or your spouse and kids. How many of those conversations were centered on deepening your relationship with the person on the other end, and how many were shallow interactions?
“He grants peace to your borders and satisfies you with the finest of wheat.” – Psalm 147:14
Have you gotten to the point where you think saying “yes” to everything makes you seem more reliable or competent? Do you promise yourself that you will “find time” to meet up with that friend for coffee or sit with your daughter and watch the movie she’s been talking nonstop about for weeks…and then that time never seems to appear? Do you allow yourself to take in the not-so-edifying remarks from a friend without standing up for yourself, just to salvage a relationship that you’ve already invested so much in? Do you remember the last time you treated yourself to a favorite pastime or hobby?
Dear reader, do not expect work-life balance to fall into your lap, perfectly wrapped and ready to go. It’s like expecting your morning coffee to be waiting patiently for you in its mug on your way out the door each morning. Not gonna happen. Our hope for this month’s topic of boundaries is that you realize how vital they are to drawing protection around your life and the things you value most. That protection is what will inevitably usher in the balance you crave and the harmony you need. Doesn’t that sound nice?