Balancing Act

Have you ever heard the expression about a person “wearing a lot of hats”?  I think we’re all competent enough to know that it is figurative.  (That’s the English teacher in me.). The older I get the more responsibilities I feel like I have; the more “hats” I have to wear.  This past year, 2014, I’ve realized that life is all one big balancing act.  I know I’m not the only one who has a lot going on, but I realized this past year I was wearing a lot of hats:  teacher, co-worker, coach, youth worker, PLC leader, daughter, sister, friend, and follower of Christ.

When you wear so many hats, life can get out of whack if you don’t handle it properly.

Many people get overwhelmed easily.  I feel like I handle stresses and pressures differently than most.  It takes a lot for me to reach my breaking point when it comes to stress, duties, and everyday tasks of life.  I’m not superhuman though; I do break every once in awhile!  But the past six months or so I’ve found the perfect balancing act.

So how have I managed to not collapse?  Honestly, putting prayer and the Word at the center of it all.

Before every new year I come up with 5 goals, I don’t call them resolutions (not sure why).  I figure calling them goals keeps me on track a bit more.  I came up with a goal for each of these five categories, these were my 2014 Goals:

  • A spiritual goal:  (to get closer to Jesus by praying EVERY day)
  • A goal for my soul (my mind, will, or emotions) (memorize scripture that has to do with my emotions, particularly anger)
  • A physical goal (squat 45s by the end of soccer season)
  • A goal that has to do with my family (get closer to my family by calling them once a month)
  • A financial goal (pay off my credit card before the last day of school)

Without my first goal, about praying EVERY day, I would not have been able to wear all of those hats or even accomplish my other goals.  And ALL of the glory DEFINITELY goes to God.

I’m thankful for the “hats” He gave me to wear in 2014.  I’m thankful He provided a way for me to wear all of them comfortably, all at the same time.  I do have my 2015 goals picked out and I’ve been praying about them… I won’t share them yet, not until the new year has started…

But writing this post, I wonder if God has a change of “wardrobe: for me in 2015?  Maybe He has more “hats” to add to my collection?  Maybe some of my “hats” will “go out of style”?

Only time will tell!  Looking forward to the New year!

14-in-1s: Encouragement (Part 2)

In my previous post I talked about 14-in-1s, a form of conditioning for basketball, and how players are given a second chance if they fail to make it the first time, much like God gives us second, third, and fourth chances…

In this part I’m going to talk about the people that cheer on the runners; the ones who encourage from the sideline while their partner is doing the running.  I’m also going to make a personal connection to this using the friends I have in my life who do the same thing as I’m running my “race”; encourage.

I’ve noticed there’s different types of encouragers during the 14-in-1s.  First we have the understanding one.  The one who just finished running so they know exactly what you’re going through.  This person can relate to the runner.  In my life, the person who encourages me through understanding would have to be my friend Jeni.  She gets me.  She believes in me.  She can understand me even when I think no one does.

The second type of encourager I’ve seen in the 14-in-1s is the tough one.  The one who is in your ear, encouraging you, but in a tough love kind of way.  They’re straight up and say it how it is.  Saying exactly what you need to hear without sugar coating it, to keep you going and push you forward.  The person in my life who encourages me through tough love would have to be my sister from another mister, Tiffany.  She’s given me so much truth in my “race”.  There’s two things she’s said that have stuck out to me:

  1. The Prater Rule:  You’re not responsible for how other people treat you but you are responsible for how you react.
  2. If you don’t make things a big deal, they won’t be.

I can always count on Tiff to tell me what I need to hear, when I need to hear it, exactly how I need to hear it.  I’m thankful for that!

The third type of encourager I’ve noticed is the motivator.  The one who is encouraging with positivity, the person who believes in you and knows that you can make your 14-in-1s.  This would definitely be my friend Randi.  She motivates me so much as a teacher and a coach.  She gets my philosophy and why I am the way I am and pushes me to be better than I was the day before.

The last type of encourager I’ll talk about is the even-keeled one; the calm one.  The person who is relaxed and knows you can finish strong, it’s just a matter of time.  When things get stirred up this person helps you to refocus.  This would be my friend Elizabeth, she encourages me in my “race” by just being calm, which calms me.

I have lots of people in my life that encourage me in many different ways.  These four friends of mine have one thing in common though, and they might not know it.  But they all encourage me in the Lord.  Which is the best encouragement I could ask for.

14-in-1s: Second Chances (Part 1)

When I played basketball in high school my coach would make us do what’s called “14-in-1s”.  It’s a form of conditioning.  You line up on the sideline of the court with a partner behind you to count.  One minute is put up on the clock.  When the whistle blows, you have one minute to sprint to the other side and back… 14 times.  Hence why they’re called “14-in-1s”.

Well, I couldn’t break tradition.  I make my 8th grade basketball girls do this every day.  The first group goes.  Then when the buzzer goes off, the second group goes.

There is an incentive though.  If you make it… you don’t have to do it again.  Unfortunately, if you don’t make it then you have to do it one more time.

The girls are given a second chance.

As the girls run their hearts out in the 14-in-1s, it hurts me to watch when the whole team doesn’t make it.  There’s a few stragglers.

This season, God has really opened my eyes when they’re running their 14-in-1s.  It makes me think of all the chances God gives me to get things right.  I’m so glad He doesn’t just give me two chances!  I’ve failed, failed… and failed some more.  As a teacher, as a coach, as a friend, as a daughter, as a Christian.  I’ve missed the mark.  I’m not afraid to admit it.

The thing about the 14-in-1s is if you don’t make it the first time, you won’t make it the second time.  Your body is so tired from working so hard for that first minute, and one minute’s rest in between while the other group goes, is not enough.

I’m thankful the Lord gives us so many chances!  However, we can’t lean on that; we have to learn to give our best the first time.  Be obedient the first time.  Do it right the first time.  Try our hardest the first time.  Yes God gives us chances.  But if we stay stuck where we’re at, eventually we won’t even recognize the opportunities as chances anymore.  We’ll continue to miss the mark and overlook those opportunities, and that could even affect the lives of others!

It hurts me to watch the girls who don’t make their 14-in-1s the first time, to have to do it again.

I can only imagine how much it hurts God to continually see us miss the mark when we know exactly what to do and how to do it. Whether it’s with disobedience, sin, temptation, lack of Bible reading, or time in prayer, etc.  He’s given us the tools:  The Bible, the Holy Spirit, a great Pastor, and even encouraging friends who are in the race with us (which I’ll talk about in part 2 of this the next time)…

I’m thankful for God’s mercy, forgiveness, love, and grace…  But my advice to you tonight is don’t rely on getting a second or third or fourth chances. We never know when our chances will run out.