Holiday Boundaries: Balance

I love hosting New Year’s Eve parties, not the fancy New Year’s Eve parties where everyone gets all dressed up, eats all kinds of gourmet foods, and acts all sophisticated.

No, when I host a New Year’s Eve party, it’s the old-school, typical Midwestern New Years’ Eve. 

  • Comfy clothes
  • Crockpots full of buffalo chicken dip, little smokies, and meatballs
  • Cookies, Puppy Chow, and Rice Krispie Treats
  • All the party games
  • Competitive rounds of euchre
  • Kids in the basement playing video games and board games
  • Lots of laughing so hard we’re crying
  • Cheap sparkling wine and grape juice at midnight
  • Noisemakers, hats, and all the other obnoxious party favors
  • Carharts so you can sit on the back porch 
  • Gunshots throughout the surrounding acres at midnight
Happy New Year

While New Year’s Eve is a blast at my house, New Year’s Day brings with it all sorts of other things. 

Like, clean up.

Sometimes a hangover.

And reflection.

  • What were my goals for the previous year?
  • How did I do with those?
  • What should I focus on this year?
  • How many resolutions should I make?
  • What do I need to change?

If I’m not careful, I can quickly jump right into that rabbit hole and follow it to Wonderland with my “should haves” and “could haves” from last year and “shoulds” and “coulds” for the current year.

See, I’m a chronically overachieving Type A personality. 

That does not lend itself toward rest, relaxation, calm, and going with the flow.

No, it lends itself more to rigidity, schedules, goal-setting, achievement, and running myself into the ground.

Consequently, I have to deliberately choose rest and balance in my life.

It does not come naturally to me.

What comes naturally to me are:

  • Schedules
  • Deadlines
  • Lists
  • Calendars
  • Menus
  • Goals

I have learned that I have to purposefully work toward balance in all areas of my life every day or it does not happen.

Resolutions spelled out

Less not More:

As the Holiday Season is coming to an end and the New Year has our attention and focus, let me encourage you to seek balance in your own life.  You might not be a ridiculously driven Type A personality like me, but whatever your personality is, I hope you take the time to sit down, reflect on the year behind you, and think about how to achieve balance in your world this year.

We tend to focus on New Year’s Resolutions this time of year.  The top resolutions of 2022 were:

  • Exercise more
  • Lose weight
  • Get organized
  • Learn a new skill or hobby
  • Live life to the fullest 
  • Save more money

I find these fascinating, and I think they say so much about our culture. Almost all of these top resolutions have to do with more of something–exercise more, lose more weight, learn more skills, live more, save more money.

What if instead of focusing on the more in our lives this year, we focused on the less?

  • Less commitments
  • Less time spent away from our families
  • Less time spent on things that aren’t our priorities
  • Less stress 
  • Less anxiety

Maybe as the New Year comes into focus, we can think more about what balance looks like in our lives and work toward achieving that. 

  • Balance in our work lives
  • Balance in our home lives
  • Balance in our church lives
  • Balance in our volunteer lives
  • Balance in our kids’ lives and activities
  • Balance in our ministries

I’m still learning what that looks like for me. I’ve been working on it for five years, and I still don’t have it completely figured out yet!

  • I still overcommit from time to time.
  • I still struggle greatly with saying no.
  • I still worry too much about disappointing the people that love and support me.

But, I’m getting better.

I have faith that you can too.

balancing on a tight rope

Need Balance? Stop Conforming:

Kate danced competitively for 7 years. There are so, so, so many amazing skills and lessons she learned from that time that I’m grateful for, but the schedule was absolutely grueling–for me and her. Here’s the thing–my kid is never going to be a professional dancer! I love her. I support her. But, I am also a realist. So, when she decided to quit dancing when she started high school, I let her talk me through her reasoning, and then I supported her enthusiastically. 

The reason is simple: God didn’t create us to be overwhelmingly busy.

Paul drops some hard truths in the first couple of verses of Romans 12:

Beloved friends, what should be our proper response to God’s marvelous mercies? To surrender yourselves to God to be his sacred, living sacrifices. And live in holiness, experiencing all that delights his heart. For this becomes your genuine expression of worship.

Stop imitating the ideals and opinions of the culture around you,  but be inwardly transformed by the Holy Spirit through a total reformation of how you think. This will empower you to discern God’s will as you live a beautiful life, satisfying and perfect in his eyes.

Romans 12:1-2

There are several key points from these verses that I need to be reminded of constantly. 

  • We are called to surrender ourselves to God to be his sacred, living sacrifices.
  • We are called to live in holiness.
  • We are called to stop imitating the ideals and opinions of our culture
  • We are to allow the Holy Spirit to reform our thinking and transform us.

If we follow these callings, the promise here is that we will be able to discern God’s will and live beautiful and satisfying lives.

While those words and truths should bring us all sorts of hope, sometimes I think they do the exact opposite because we inadvertently allow ourselves to get completely caught up in the world around us.

Guilty as charged over here!

We live in a fast-paced, competitive, overly busy, instantly gratifying culture.

  • Our kids are in sports year-round, and if they aren’t, they probably won’t even make the school’s team.
  • We hold tiny computers in our hands where we have access to information immediately.
  • We have apps that allow food to arrive on our doorsteps in 30 minutes or less.
  • Our schedules are so jam-packed, some nights we only see our partners and kids in passing.
  • It’s easier to go get dinner than to sit around the table and eat a home-cooked meal.
  • Our workdays spill over into what should be our family time.
  • We have more commitments in our churches, small groups, and ministries than we can even fulfill.

I’m sure you could go on and on too.

To do List

This busyness mindset, overcommitted mindset, is a mindset of our culture and our world, and it can truly be an obstacle to our surrendering to God.

As the New Year is looming, I pray that we all can sit down, process Paul’s words here, and lay our hearts at the feet of Jesus.

I pray that God will give each of us direction and allow us to see what our priorities truly are, what we need to let go of, and how we can truly stop conforming to the ways of this crazy world around us in order to have the beautiful and satisfying life we are promised. 

Until Next Time,


Questions for Reflection:

  1. What area of my life is the most imbalanced?
  2. What is one practical step I can take to work on balance in that area?
  3. In what ways do my life and lifestyle conform to the ways of the world?
  4. What is one practical step I can take toward that beautiful and satisfying life God promises me?

Scripture for Reflection:

Romans 12:1-2

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