on finding balance {erin's story--part one}...

earlier this spring, i found myself greatly struggling with balance.
with feeling comfortable in my skin.
with liking who i am and where i am in life.

i want to be sure to be clear...
i wasn't struggling with contentment...
at least not as far as money or prestige or personal possessions is concerned.

i was struggling with me...or with my view of me.

the turmoil was deep.
it was dark.
and it consumed much of my thoughts for several weeks on end.

i felt buried.  overwhelmed.  beside myself.
i'm a doer.  an achiever.  a git-'er-done sorta girl.
and what i do, i do well.
at least, that's always my goal.

my mom always told me, "erin, with you it's always 'all or nothing.' there's no in between."
and she was right on.
if i'm going to do something, i jump in with both feet...cannonball style.
i'm in.  all the way.

but sometimes that catches up to me.
and this spring, it all caught up to me.

i sought advice from friends, counsel from mentors, and solace from His Word.

i'm looking at my phone, scrolling back through some messages...
finding my words from when i was in the thick of it all...
and i'm remembering exactly how it felt.

"it seems to get really bad once a year.
it's like i just get COMPLETELY overwhelmed with ALLLLLL that's on my plate, 
and have NO clue what can "give"...
it seems like NOTHING can give.
that it's ALLLL priority."

"i'm VERY task-oriented.
also very motivated by fear and guilt.
that probably sounds like a weird combo.
ok.  here's an example.
i 'go easy' on a day of school--it's gorgeous and sunshine-y, so i let the kids play outside and do a nature report and i call it good for the day.  now mind you, i don't do this all the time--VERY rarely, in fact--just today, since it's such a nice day.
but, IF i do such a thing, then the fear--they'll be 'behind' (whatever that really means), they won't learn what they should, and on and on.
then the guilt--i should be better at school.  i should plan better. i should make it more interesting.
and on and on and on.
it's ALLLLLL in my head.
all at the same time as doing the laundry and cooking dinner and shipping packages and weeding the garden...and...and...and..."

"yes.  it sounds crazy.
because it IS.
but when all those voices are talking at once, 
it's like i can't turn ANY of them off."

and then from a different conversation...

being a decent, kind, gentle, loving wife and mother.
walking with Jesus.
diet and exercise.
it's not that all of those weigh on my mind necessarily.
it's that i just canNOT seem to find a balance.
i feel that all of these are things i MUST be/do.
but when i try to successfully do ALL of them, i seem to fail miserably.
i can be good at ONE.
so, while i may have a good money-making/selling week,
i'm a terrible mom/wife...short-tempered, barely getting meals on the table.
or i may exercise every day, but my devotional life lags and the bathrooms are scuzzy.
you get the picture."

"i'm just really, really struggling with all of it.
and feeling like a failure.
and feeling like my kids are going to grow up and i'm going to have chosen all the wrong things to focus on.
yet, i can't really just DROP all the other things, either!
and my type-A brain is just in a dizzy-tizzy over trying to sort it all out."

"it's so much easier to see why OTHERS deserve grace and why *I* just need to muscle through and get it ALL done."

"the biggest thing for me, right now, is pinpointing exactly what *isn't* working for me.
because right now, it feels like it all HAS to work. 
like there is no other option."

does any of this sound familiar?
does any of this sound like you?
well, i'm certainly no guru, and i can't claim to be an expert on much of anything; but the Lord really opened my eyes to several areas of faulty thinking, skewed reasoning in my own life.

i had to change my thought patterns in three specific areas.
and to be perfectly honest with you, it wasn't difficult!
in fact, it was surprisingly easy.
once those three areas were pointed out to me, it was like the proverbial lightbulb moment.

i distinctly remember when and where i was when the Lord showed me the first fault in my thinking.
i was vacuuming my living room on a sunny Saturday morning, when i started thinking about my all.
i love my family--my husband and children--i love them so very much.  i want to be what they need, 
do what they need, give what they need.  i want to give them my all.
but what does it mean to give my all?
i understand that in serving my family i am serving Him.
but what does it mean that He desires my all?
you know what it means, friend?
it means that He wants me to give Him, to give my family, MY all.
MY best.
MY 100%.

i don't need to give Him YOUR all.
i don't need to give them HER all or HIS all.
{imagine me there, pointing at imaginary, fictional characters, okay?}
i don't need to be as good as anyone else.  He doesn't ask that and my family doesn't need that.
i don't need to craft like anyone else, or mother like anyone else, or do business like anyone else, or wife or garden or farm or exercise or worship or clean or cook or pray or teach like anyone else.
He doesn't ASK me to be like anyone else!
He doesn't WANT me to be like anyone else!
He wants me to be the very best ME that i can be.
and that's all.
i don't need to give anyone else's all.
i simply need to give my all.
and today, my all may be a day at the beach with the kiddos...
and that may mean hot dogs for dinner and sand on the hardwood floors 
and laundry that didn't get folded and toilets that didn't get scoured.
but that's ok.
and the great thing is, i am really and truly learning and realizing and grasping 
and applying that truth to my life.
it really is ok.
because i gave it my all.
and that, indeed, is all He asks.

are you stressed? overwhelmed? feeling in-over-your-head?
take a look at your to-do list...whether it's actually on paper or just in your head, take a long hard look at it.
how much of it is your all?
and how much of it is you trying to live up to someone else's all?
maybe one of the reasons our lives seem so out-of-balance 
is that we are piling things high on our plates 
that were never intended to be there in the first place.
and maybe it's not the actual responsibility/task/duty that has taken on someone else's identity, 
but maybe it's the intensity or importance that you've assigned that item.
don't try to cook as good as HER.
it's actually more helpful to your family that you're better at gardening.
don't try to mother as good as HER.
He wants you to pour that extra attention into your marriage right now.
simply be the best you that you can be.
give Him your all.
that, truly, is all He asks.

over the next two Thursdays, i'll be sharing those other "aha!" moments with you.
they're small.  not monumental at all.  
but they made a world of difference to me and i'm hoping and praying that they'll help you, too.

after that, i have some friends that are going to chime in with their thoughts and personal stories of finding balance.  i am so looking forward to that...to the opportunity to view my own blog with the same anticipation and opening-a-letter-from-a-friend feeling i get when reading my favorite blogs.

and of course, i'm hoping to hear from you.  
have you gone through your own personal struggle with finding balance? 
have you come through victorious on the other side?  or are you still in the thick of the battle?
either way, sound off!  let me know what you're thinking.
you're just as vital to this entire collaboration as anyone else is.

follow along, won't you?  i'd love to have you here with us!

{just in case you missed it, here's the introduction to the series. xo}

{{this post was completely finished last night, ready for me to hit "publish" first thing this morning.  and in a funny twist of "isn't that just how things go?" this showed up on today's daily calendar page.  it was too fitting not to share.}}


  1. This is amazing. Thank you for sharing your personal revelation! You're a wonder woman. Sowhiteandthe7dorks <3

  2. Erin, I am over here nodding my head & cheering you on. YES to ALL of this.

  3. I'm in the middle of it. Had a massive revelation a few days ago but still very much muddling. Also, do you know Melissa Lyon West? Her IG has been spot on like minded the last couple days. God won't stop telling me until I get it, I suppose. :)

  4. Melissa Lyons ART. Pocket friends goof. ��

  5. this is so so so good and true.
    God has been telling me lately that I am trying to BE HIM with unlimited resources of energy and strength and wisdom and care...and that I am finite. I am a woman of limited resources. I can't be God to my children or to my friends or to anyone. My brokenness and "lack" will drive others to Him and He can meet needs FULLY. Recognizing my humanness has been liberating and that I can rest all things in His hands.

  6. Erin, this sounds so much like things I say to myself. Exact words I say to myself. I think we ALLLL struggle with finding balance, figuring out what's most important. Figuring out who we really are. Thank you for spilling your guts here. It's a hard thing to do.


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