Balance, Boundaries & Bandwidth
Have you ever felt like you needed to get your life in order? Have you ever felt stretched, overextended, exhausted, or like you bit off more than you could chew? If you’re feeling any one of these emotions right now, let’s talk about balance, boundaries, and bandwidth today (or tonight, depending on when you’re reading this). I’m going to jump right into it, because you’re either busy trying to grab these nuggets before you dive deep into your workload, during a break, or while lying in bed reading with the covers pulled over your head at night. So, let me not waste any time with this post. Balance – Most of us are busy working on something in our lives. And so having balance between work, ministry, creating content for our audiences, and making time for our personal lives or family, I think it’s really important to manage our schedules better. But also knowing when to just stop for the day. Jesus balanced His ministry between work and rest. He healed, casted out demons, taught His disciples and those in the crowds, fed 5,000+ people, raised many from the dead, and calmed the storm. Matthew 8:23-24 states, “Then Jesus got into the boat and started across the lake with his disciples. Suddenly, a fierce storm struck the lake, with waves breaking into the boat. But Jesus was sleeping.” Did you see that, Sis? Jesus was sleeping. He was resting. Right before this moment, in Matthew 8:14-17, it reads that He healed Peter’s mother-in-law and after that He cast out evil spirits. Jesus worked, but He also knew how to stop and rest. We have to learn this great exemplary principle. So here are a few quick tips…
Work-Life-Balance - Create a schedule from 9am-5pm and go home (even if you work from home). End the day. It’s over, Sis. That’s it, because in order to balance things out where you don’t tip the scales, you have to work and then be home. Meaning, be present for yourself if you’re single (rest, read a book, take a hot shower or bubble bath, scroll your phone, and then go to bed, etc.). If you’re married, be present for yourself and your husband and/or family. Prepare a meal or order take-out and sit down to eat together, relax and read, take a hot shower or bubble bath, watch a movie, scroll your phone, workout, etc. Today, you have been given permission to balance out your work and home life. ;-) This is balance, my sweet Sister.
Boundaries – Yes, yes, yes! You have to set boundaries if you’re going to have moments to do things that you love and enjoy, but also for moments that bring you peace and sanity. Setting boundaries is like creating borders around yourself. Imagine that. Once that border is placed around you, no one can get beyond it. There are no cracks. No one can get in. It’s like setting work hours and being off when you say you’re off and sticking to it.
Personally, I work a LOT! I am a bond-servant of the Lord (i.e. blogger, author, speaker/teacher, mentor, and worship leader), but I am also a wife and mother. My life is pretty spent and full. It’s a life dedicated for service to God and my family. And I love it!
BUT…I need balance and boundaries between my ministry, business, and personal life. For instance, just this past week, I updated my email signature to read, “Saturday & Sunday – Closed/Off.” That was me setting a healthy boundary. And let me just tell you, Sis. That was so liberating for me! I felt FREE! I actually looked forward to the end of the workday Friday, because I knew that I was getting closer to my time of rest.
God rested after He finished creating (see Genesis 2:2-3). Amen! So we can too. With this being said, I want to share with you a few tips on how you can set boundaries between your service, work responsibilities, and personal life…
Consider your Non-Negotiables – What boundaries do you need to set in your life right now? How can you make time to rest or intentionally have quality time spent with your family or friends? What do you need to move around to have that uninterrupted time with God? And when you know, set your boundaries around them and don’t let-up (unless there is an emergency or the Holy Spirit leads you otherwise). This is all about creating that border around the things that are important to you.
For example, it could be setting a boundary around your bubble bath time (i.e. putting a “Do Not Disturb” note on your door). It could be not being on social media for the weekend. It could be setting that date night on Friday night once a month with your husband, while allowing nothing or no one to come between that invested time in your marriage. This is setting boundaries, Sis.
Bandwidth – I think this may be one of my most passionate ones to talk about, because we are living in a time when everyone is so super busy and just doing all-the-things, but also a time of information overload. Am I right? Are you there? I know I am!
But here’s the thing. We have to know our space, limits, and know when to say to ourselves, “I can’t take anymore! I don’t have enough mental or work space (bandwidth) for this!”
Using this word in this way, is definitely figurative. By definition, the term “bandwidth” actually means the ability or time to deal with a situation, especially one that involves a large amount of information or a number of problems. I also love what Verizon said, “Bandwidth is often mistaken for internet speed when it’s actually the volume of information that can be sent over a connection in a measured amount of time.” So here are some tips to manage your personal bandwidth…
Volume - Don’t try to squeeze everything into one day, week, or month. Know what you can realistically handle. Know what you can actually consume before you buy another program or sign up for another monthly subscription of information. Pray and ask the Lord what you could actually add on, commit to, or schedule. If you’ve realized that you’ve reached your maximum capacity of energy, calendar space, commitments, obligations, then stop. That is your allotted bandwidth. Don’t add another thing (or clear out some things to make space for that additional thing). The point here is to know your limitations and only commit to what you can actually do.
We simply have to learn how to balance out our lives, set our boundaries, and know our bandwidth (capacity and limitations). Because in order to have peace, sanity, rest, while embracing supernatural joy, we have to pay attention to our workload and lives. We have to create structure and stick to it. We also have to learn how to say, “I’m sorry, but I can’t commit to what you’re asking at this time” or “I’m typically off on weekends. I’ll be back in touch with you on Monday.” NOTE: I say “typically” because sometimes I do have speaking engagements on the weekend. But my angle here is that we have to be “okay” with what we’re saying. When Jesus laid down to rest, He didn’t apologize for it. He just ceased from His labor and slept. Boom. Done! I love it! So let’s learn from His life-giving example, while paying attention to our need for rest. Trust me, the work will be there, just as it was for Jesus. But let’s be determined to show up well and rested in every area of our lives as we practice balance, boundaries, and knowing our bandwidth. I believe everyone will benefit from this healthy lifestyle, including you.
Remember, Jesus is coming back soon! And those who endure unto the end shall be saved. So let’s be ready from the Inside Out!
~Courtnaye Download my FREE PDF Blog Worksheet on Balance, Boundaries, & Bandwidth. Download PDF below.
QUESTION: How are things going for you? Do you feel balanced? Do you have boundaries? Do you have enough space in your life for all that you're doing or committing to? Let me know. In addition, if you need prayer, you can email me directly and I will pray for you @ firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to hearing from you and praying for you.
Before you go, check out this month's blog cover story as I talked to Viv Mubuni about having, "Open Hands & A Willing Heart." Read it here.
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Courtnaye Richard is the founder of Inside Out with Courtnaye, a ministry that helps women grow in their walk with Christ from the heart and equips them to fulfill their God-given purpose. She is also the author of the book, IDENTIFIED: Knowing Who You Are in Christ and Moving Forward in Your Purpose. Courtnaye is married with three beautiful children and is a contributing writer for ibelieve.com, Women’s Ministry Tools, speaker of a host of women’s conferences, and her blog reaches thousands of women across the globe. She resides in the beautiful Texas Hill Country (outside of Austin, Texas).