Balancing God, family, church, activities, friends, self-care, whatever else life throws at you… it is not easy. Every so often I get a clear snap-shot of how I am doing. This look usually comes during a time of transition, when I move from one season of life to another.
In January, a two-year-old boy came to live with us. He came from a very hard place. Adding him into our family grew us from a unit of five to a circus of six. The Fuersts had just gotten to the point where we no longer needed diaper bags, naps, stringent bed times, and sippy cups. Now, we were right back into the middle of a different season of life… one that moved a lot more slowly so little legs could keep up. So how did we find balance?
Balance began with me being honest with myself. Honest about what I am capable of doing. Honest about where I am. Honest about identifying the important things for this particular season of life. Each season comes with natural limitations. Limitations we need to embrace and honor so we can be healthy. When I don’t embrace these limitations I start to feel like too little butter on too much toast.
Adopting a child called for a major slow down.
To fully form as Fuerst party of 6, some things needed to go. We couldn’t be out every night of the week. The older kids had to let go of some of their weeknight activities. We told them they could each do one thing. My oldest daughter, Phoebe, was in Girl Scouts and sports. We told her she had to choose. It wasn’t easy for her, she loved both. Her decision led to good conversations about her interests and desires. It also helped us teach her about limitations and boundaries.
I also had to say “no” to some things. I just couldn’t keep saying “yes” and still be healthy. I had to cut back on my involvement with the women’s ministry at my church. I love working with women, but the higher priority right now is shaping my young family and making plenty of time for my own well-being. Self care is essential to ensure I have the energy required to care for my crazy crew. In another season, when my children are older, when everyone is in school, I might pick up women’s ministry again. Saying “no” now doesn’t mean I will always have to say “no.”
The first step to balance is making a list of what is most important in this season of life. Narrow it down to four or five things. Then start saying “yes,” and more importantly “no” based on this list. Let your list help you weed out the non-essentials. You can’t find balance when you have too many things going, even if most of them are church things. Realize you don’t have to do everything right now. There will be time in the future when you enter a new season. No season lasts forever. Someday we will be done with diapers. I am sure it will come.
Cassie Fuerst is a quiet soul, who needs a lot of time and space to process life around her. She stays at home, acting as administrator of chaos for her four children. Her husband, Tom, has been in ministry for 10 years. She loves creating community by going to coffee with friends, having people in her home, and talking to people on the edges. She lives in Memphis, Tennessee.