Hello Reader. And we’re back! I’m sorry for the gap in posts and I’m glad to be back sharing with you! The last couple of weeks have had some surprises for me including a short-term higher workload, a little sickness, a celebration of life, and a conversation with a burned-out leader. With these last few weeks it had me re-evaluating my current home/service/work life just to be sure I’ve got it inline. I thought I’d share a bit of my process with you and in turn tell you my secret to home/service/work life balance.
Do you want my secret first?
There is no such thing as Home/Service/Work life balance. Really, you can’t balance it all, at any given time something will take a hit or will get cheated out of time. So no balance. Throw the concept of Home/Service/Work life balance out the window or into the shredder.
Now instead of “balance” I aim for a “rhythm”, I suppose that is my secret. Within the concept of a rhythm, you know things will ebb and flow. Music, water, dance, and yes Home/Service/Work life all has a rhythm.
My adjustment to rhythm came several years ago after I had left corporate work and became settled into the new routine of ministry. At that time, a spiritual director introduced me to the practice of Rule of Life or Rhythm for Life. A few days later while visiting with a mentor we hashed out the details and began the application of my rhythm.
The original Rule of Life or Rhythm for Life was scripted by the one and only St. Benedict who modeled it after the scaffolds his roses grew up and on. He found his monastic life to be filled with tasks and to-do’s and looked for a way to frame his life with joy. A rule for life is a simple statement of the regular rhythms we choose in order to present our lives to God as our spiritual act of worship, recognizing our unique purpose in this time in history. It’s an intentional way of partnering with God for the transformation only he can bring. It’s not a burdensome list of tasks but a brief and realistic scaffold of practices or disciplines that support your hearts desire to grow in love for God and others.
There are 2 big switches in balance to rhythm!
First, even thinking of balance brings a bit of physical tension trying to hold one position. Rhythm is fluid and allows for movement without stress or tension. Not that there won’t be stress, but it’s not needed to move towards the desired goal as in the model of balance.
The second big switch is that a rhythm honors your current limits and God-given longings. It takes into account where growth and where rest are both needed.
Within my rhythm I take into account my current season or life stage so over the years since I’ve first drafted my Rhythm it has adjusted. Practically my rhythm includes some broad SMART goals without being KRA’s that must be tackled.
- For example, in my rhythm I acknowledge as an extrovert I need time with people to not just be normal but to be my best self, so I plan for 2-3 real conversations a week with close friends. Another piece in my rhythm is to create hopefully engaging creative pieces 1-2 times a week because that fuels how God has made me to create and connect others.
- All in all my rhythm has 5 sections (relational, spiritual, emotional, intellectual, and physical) that each have 1-2 items that if included within a given week will give me my rhythm helping me be a whole and healthy person at home, in service or at work.
I used to work through the idea of balance and it just created compartments, but life isn’t about compartments, it’s about relationships and wholeness.
Using a rhythm allows so much grace into the everyday mix and helps me created a connected life, not one that’s separated by different hats. The connecting points are my God given purpose, my limits and God-given desires that bring the intentional partnership with God. Now some might suggest that compartments are helpful and actually needed. I would agree that compartmentalization has its time, but I don’t believe it’s helpful for a full-time method.
So Growing Leader, what do you think about the concept of a Rule of Life or Rhythm for Life? Here’s your time to check it out!
Resources for investigating a Rule of Life/Rhythm For Life:
- Spiritual Disciplines Handbook: Practice that transform by Calhoun
- Emotionally Healthy Spirituality by Peter Scazzero
- Living With Contradiction by Esther de Wall
- The Rule of St. Benedict
- Soul Fear by Marjorie Thompson
Connect with me and let me know how it goes!
Liz Lawrence, MA, LPC-S is counselor, coach and creative who is passionate about people. She directs a counseling center in Austin, Texas and with husband David Lawrence co-leads the non-profit Renue.Me whose mission is to invest in the dreams of leaders in underprivileged communities around the world. Connect with her at www.lizlawrencelpc.com or www.renue.me
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