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The personal balance of time

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It drives me crazy when people say the following:

“I don’t have time for that.”
“How do you have time for that?”
“I’m too busy.”
“You can’t have it all.”
“You can have it all.”

I have said each of those things at some time of another.

This whole time and busy-ness thing is really, really
personal, isn’t it? Almost every single person I know finds time for something that I do not. It might be doing things I love more than I do, doing things I don’t know how to do but wish I could, or doing things I never dreamed of doing.

But what right do I have to question how or why they find the time?

It’s a matter of choice, of priority, of necessity…

I think it’s a line that in particular, American women, are fed, that we “should” place priority on certain things (mainly, how we, our homes, our children, and our social media feeds should look). And seriously, in the year of our Lord two-thousand-and-eighteen, I cannot believe that working versus staying at home is still a thing for us as well. We get stuck in the expectations that have been handed down to us and accept them seamlessly, as natural, as instictive.

Let me pose some questions. See if you see what I mean:

  • Do you have a hobby that people don’t “get?”
  • Do you insist you do not have time for a hobby?
  • Do you feel like you don’t even like or wish to do anything, and if you had the time, you wouldn’t know “what to do with yourself?”
  • Do you feel guilty paying for anyone else to clean your house, watch your children, color your hair, or grocery shop?
  • Do you reserve time to ensure your children are fed and somehow engaged in physical or artistic activity  (ie, drive them to dance/karate/soccer/music lessons), but cannot find the time to focus on your own nourishment and fitness?
  • Have you ever sacrificed serving those closest to you in order to fulfill an optional obligation?
  • Do you (as I did until, like, a minute ago) believe that the financial ability to be stay-at-home-mom means that you shouldn’t work outside the home?
  • Do you ever find yourself feeling resentful, jealous, or even contentious toward someone who “finds time” to do things that you kind of deem superficial, necessary, or low-priority?
  • Have you ever looked at the social media post or actual, up-close activity of another woman and uttered the words, “I don’t have time for that,” or “I don’t see how you have time for that?”

Look, I know it’s tempting… the judgement of others, the denial of your own ambitions. As women, we are often reminded that our role is to be selfless. As American women, we are reminded that we can have and do and be any and everything. As Christian women, we are often reminded just how narrow the road is for us, often being pointed to a single chapter in a very long book (hint: it starts with Proverbs and ends in 31) as a list of to-dos for how we can be successful as people.

Let’s go ahead and call BS on this, ladies.

Who are you? Like, who are you, really? Yes… if we are believers, we are Christ in us (which, by the by, means we can have/be/do all things), but what does that look like for you? I like to see that I’m a Kelly-flavored Jesus Lollipop, which means Jesus in me looks like a loud-laughing, deep-feeling, fairly-observant, big-loving, somewhat-irreverent, passionate, creative, beach-loving, sunset-haired mama bear who quotes movies and TV shows more than the Bible/

It took me nearly 40 years to clearly see all that in myself, to accept it, to like it, to not be afraid to be it.

The me that I am finds time to participate in exercise and Instagram challenges, to read fiction and non-fiction books as well as magazines and Facebook feeds, to execute home cooked meals, date nights, and parties, to work a job, shuffle 3 kids mostly successfully and mostly in grace, and pursue a passion, to love my husband well, to serve my church and community, and to sleep an appropriate amount most nights.

That same person is not finding time to keep in touch with all her loved ones all the time, to clean house or change the sheets or run through the car wash at recommended intervals, to follow all the political news, to use all the produce in the fridge before it goes bad, to make sure my kids have done their homework like they said they have, to remember all the birthdays, to schedule all the wellness and dental and vision exams, to cross off all the things I obsessively write down in colored ink inside my sticker-and-washi-tape accented planner.

As I was contemplating the thoughts in this post – I mean, right before I opened the new tab to write it, I came across this quote from Jill Briscoe. It is the perfect summary. It describes where I am. And I’m at peace with it. It’s okay to give things up sometimes to focus on the needs around you and what is giving you life! 

Let me share a pro-tip: Your kids really don’t care if they eat cereal for dinner one night a week so you can go for a run/go to a book club/go to bed early/paint/quilt/read something longer than 140 characters. No one is passing out awards for martyrdom in motherhood. And one day, those kids, God willing, are going to be pursuing their passions: they will be more likely to do that successfully if they see parents who do the same, who find some joy and meaning in life rather than just the motion of tasks and survival. And when those kids are not your sole responsibility, it would be really great if you still remember what your passions actually are.

Don’t be afraid to run like you’re on fire in the direction of your wildest dreams. It’s part of Christ in you! He had goals and he pursued them with passion…

“Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” Philippians 1:6


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