Balancing Act

BalancingAct

Have you ever thought to yourself, “How in the world does she do it ALL”? That girl you wish you were like. She seems to have it all together. Her house is perfect, her hair is perfect, her pictures on Instagram are perfect, her fingernails are always done, etc, etc, etc. After a while, I just want to unfollow her because I feel like I can’t measure up. In reality, the girl we envy is going through the same balancing act we go through every day.

There are days, even weeks when I feel like I dropped the ball at home. I should’ve cleaned more, I should’ve cooked more, I should’ve been more respectful towards my husband. We really don’t get anywhere if all we do is analyze where we fell short. So how can we start getting better at having balance in our life? How can we be great students and still have time for family and friends? How can we be great wives and also make time for our household (without getting cranky)? How can we make time for our girlfriends, for our church, for our hobbies, without neglecting our family? These are all questions I’ve asked myself.

Here’s what I’ve found in my quest for balance:

We can’t do it ALL
I really think it’s a myth when people say that women can do it all. Perhaps we CAN, but should we? There is a time and season for everything under the sun (Ecclesiastes 3). Although we are more than capable to do it all, it’s not always wise to do it all. A good habit to form is to ask God if it is the time and season for something. Balance requires trust in God and surrendering our anxious thoughts of “needing to do it all” to Him.

Choose wisely
The girl that seems to have it all together probably chose her schedule wisely. She made priorities, decided what was a need, and removed the excess from her schedule. If you haven’t fixed your house all week, then it’s probably a good idea to clear out your Saturday morning and afternoon to get your house in order. My Monday nights (and some Wednesdays) are spent at church with my husband, so on his day off, Thursday, I make it intentional to not book anything for that day. Saturday mornings while he works, I hang out with friends, clean my home, or run errands. I’ve discovered that in order to have balance, we must decide what our priorities are.

Calendars are our friend
I put everything on my calendar. It may seem funny, but even nights when our favorite basketball team is playing is on my calendar. Because in reality, it’s not about what we are doing, it’s about the meaning and the importance of what we are doing. If it’s quality time with a friend, with a family member, if I’m serving at church, if it’s time to get my place in order, if it’s a priority, then I should treat it like an appointment at work. No excuses, I’m showing up!

Make time for yourself
When we make time to take care of ourselves, we are better equipped to take care of others and our responsibilities. Taking care of myself means spending daily time with God, reading for a bit each day, making something that ignites my creativity, and working out (which I’ve been really bad at lately lol). What about you? What does taking care of yourself look like? Make an effort to pencil that into your calendar.

As women, we have the ability to bring peace and joy into our home like no other person. If we take time to quiet our souls, seek God, and take care of ourselves, we will overflow with discernment and wisdom to have a balanced life.

P.S. Life is messy, sometimes we won’t have perfectly balanced lives. And that’s ok.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. -2 Corinthians 12:9-11 (NIV)

The Secret Place

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The secret place is a dangerous place to be in, whether it’s a good secret place or a bad secret place. And yes, both do exist.

We see the secret place in movies, TV shows, and books. Movies like Mean Girls and TV shows like Pretty Little Liars, show us the bad and corrupt secret places people can find themselves in. There are burn books, lies, gossip, and shame.

On the other hand, there is a secret place, a place of intimacy, that our culture and our society don’t know about and it’s just as dangerous as the corrupted secret places we do see and know about. It’s not dangerous because it hurts us, it’s dangerous because it transforms us.

The Bible speaks of the secret place many times. In Exodus, God hides Moses in a secret place so that he could see God’s glory. (Exodus 33:22). In the Psalms, we can read about being hidden or abiding in the secret place (Psalm 32:7, Psalm 27:5, Psalm 91:1). In Matthew, Jesus instructs us to find a secret place to pray in (Matthew 6:6).

I can’t imagine Moses was not terrified and excited, all at once, to see God’s glory. Moses saw God, and after that he was never same. The Bible says that after leaving the secret place, his face shone. Not only that, but when people saw Moses, they were afraid of his light.

Will we go to God’s secret place, where we can be honest, transparent, and be changed? Being changed in the secret place may result in people distancing themselves from us, like it happened to Moses. It can be scary and dangerous to let go of the place where people accept us and include us, but, the result of being in God’s secret place outweighs any reward we may receive from people.

Jesus’ instruction to go into a secret place to pray, shows us that God is interested in meeting with us and having a real connection with us. He’s not a superficial or anonymous God.

In the book “The Secret Place” by Tana French, there is a noticeboard where the girls of a school can pin up secrets anonymously to let off steam. It’s kind of similar to the burn book in the movie Mean Girls. The purpose of this secret place isn’t to be known, it’s to be unseen, which makes sense, by definition, since secret means to hide or conceal. There are some areas in our lives that we want to keep unseen. They may be too painful to reveal or perhaps, our bitterness and pride, keep us hidden in the negative secret place.

However, God’s secret place is an oasis to all who find it and seek it. It’s a place where we go to know Him, be known by Him, and find ourselves in Him. It’s a place we go to, where we can reveal our deepest needs and wants, our hurts, and let go of our bitterness and pride.

Hiding in the negative and dark secret places we are used to, won’t make a difference in people’s lives and it surely won’t exalt and magnify God. Going to God’s secret place allows us to be changed so that in turn, He can be glorified, and our story can lead others to Him.

So, will you decide today to leave the dark and go into the light of God’s secret place? I pray that you will, because if you do, you will find healing, freedom, and purpose.


To learn more about God’s secret place, you can read Bob Sorge’s Secrets of the Secret Place

Thank You for a Wonderful 2014

ThankYou_Artwork_2014

This year has been filled with many wonderful memories and lessons learned. I became a wife at the end of 2013 and wrote a post entitled: Confessions of a Newlywed. It was a very vulnerable post but the reward was great. That post had 143 views! In total Styld by Grace had 1,200 views. I’m hoping and praying that those 1,200 views, resulted in lives that felt encouraged, inspired, and motivated by God’s love and grace. Thank you for reading and supporting the vision of this blog.

In 2015, it’s my goal to reach even more people. And I can’t do it without you! Please keep reading, sharing, commenting, and sending me your feedback. If you feel connected to the vision of Styld by Grace and would like to share your story, contribute to Styld by Grace with fashion or design advice, or help design artwork for blog posts, please write to me in the About section. I’m looking forward to what God has in store for Styld by Grace in 2015!

And just for fun here’s a New Year’s Game that you can play with your friends and family:

2014 Year in Review Q&A Game
1. Day this year you’d live over and over
I’d relive my trip to San Diego. It was my first “big girl” work adventure. It was my first time taking a “red eye” back home, too (I wouldn’t relive the red eye, though). 

2. Best conversation you had this year
There isn’t a specific conversation I can remember. But I did have great conversation with my newlywed friends about the joyous, the crazy, and the fun moments marriage brings. 

3. Most memorable moment in pop culture
Hands down, John Travolta introducing Idina Menzel as “Adele Mazeem”. Need I say more?

4. Biggest lesson learned this year
I’m more selfish than I thought I was and I need to work on that. Another lesson I am learning is that I need to give people the benefit of the doubt and stop jumping to conclusions.

5. Favorite song of the year
I LOVE music. This is a hard one… Can I say my top 3 favorite songs?
3. Rude by Magic!
2. You Make Me Brave by Bethel Music
1. Heroes by Alesso 

I know super random… but I like all types of music

6. Best piece of advice you got this year
“The decisions you make determine the schedule you keep. The schedule you keep determines the life you live. And how you live your life determines how you spend your soul.” –The Best Yes  

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and I hope you have a very happy new year.

Cheers!
Theresa Palma