I'm gradually learning what a proper portion size is for me in terms of food. I had a problem as a kid of eating excessively, to the point of being uncomfortably stuffed, especially when it came to things like buffets. Recently I've been having issues curbing my snacking habits, once again eating beyond where my stopping point should be. In my endeavors to rest, I've also begun to consider what the right proportions for activity in my life might be as well. When I have a little taste of something good, I want as much of it as I can possibly take, without recognizing fullness. I have a tendency to overfill my calendar the same way I overfill my plate, and just like overeating, over-committing myself leaves me at less than my best.
In order to feel good, I need to fuel my body properly. I need the nutrients in food, but too much of a good thing is just going to cause me to get sick. In a similar vein, I need to feed my relationships and give them the time and attention they need, but stuffing my schedule with too many things, even good things, will leave me feeling unsettled.
As is the case with food, finding the right level of activity requires some introspection and self-inventory. It means I have to ask myself what I currently need-- do I desperately need a night to rest? Do I need to have my spirits lifted by the encouragement and company of friends? Do I need to try something new, branch out, or step outside of my comfort zone?
Certainly, unexpected things come up, friends make last-minute invitations, and the unpredictable weather can wreak havoc on even the most carefully-laid plans. But when faced with a multitude of opportunities and open doors, we have the power to choose what we invest our time in. We can take life a season at a time, recognizing that different things will need to take priority for a while as needs arise. But we have to be intentional in this prioritizing, or we will likely get overwhelmed by the seemingly elevated importance of everything.
In order to retain some shred of our sanity and ensure we have enough time to rest in the midst of our busy lives, we need to consider how we are filling up our lives. Are they filled mostly with work? Dominated by family time? Wasted in front of the computer and television? Only sprinkled with time spent alone with Jesus? And the most important question: what kinds of proportions do you want the different aspects of your life to have? What do you need to change?
For me, this requires some planning. I plan time for my exercise, including it on my calendar so that I know it will happen regardless of how tired I might be when I wake up in the morning. I carve out time to spend with Jesus because I know I will be an irritable mess if I don't. I plan out chunks of time to spend by myself to recharge, whether that looks like a Friday night of chick flicks, chocolate, and nail polish, a Saturday morning of curling up with a good book on the couch, or a Sunday afternoon of cooking new recipes. And I try to mix in time with friends and family, through dinners, service opportunities, game nights, and girls' nights, to stay connected to those closest to me and avoid being a complete hermit.
Admittedly, I am still in the process of making adjustments to try to achieve balance, but this whole thing is a work in progress, and having even a loose plan give me enough structure to keep things balanced and relax knowing I'm going to get a little bit of everything fit in.
How do you try to keep everything in your life properly proportioned? Do you have any successes in that area that you could share? I'd love to hear them!