Reflections - January 23, 2019

My Life Was Incredibly Unbalanced and I Couldn’t Figure Out Why

I had another blog post scheduled in my editorial calendar for today. It’s titled “Why You Need to Know What Your Priorities Are & How To Figure it Out.” I’m still going to publish it, but I wanted to write a less formal, more personal #brightonbrain type post to walk you through HOW we got here – to me wanting to write a post on priorities.

About a year ago, I hit a major wall. I was in a perpetual FUNK and couldn’t figure out what was wrong.

I was burnt out, exhausted and apathetic. I was going through the motions, surviving rather than thriving. And I hate when I get like that. I didn’t realize it at the time, but my life was incredibly unbalanced. I worked almost every weekend and even when I wasn’t working, I was thinking about work. And if I wasn’t thinking about it, there was still this feeling. This icky, heavy feeling.

If you had asked me to list my priorities, I probably would have told you family, friendships, health, faith, and work. And I actually believed all of those things were priorities (ha!). But my schedule and day-to-day life did not reflect this.

I allowed work to come before just about everything, making sacrifices in other areas of my life in order to get just a little more work done. I’d tell myself I would get to all the other *important things* later. That I’d make up for it the next week. The more I achieved, the faster I ran, believing the lie that my efforts and sacrifices were worth the elusive reward I was chasing.

What was I even chasing though? To be honest, I don’t think I could have told you the answer. But I couldn’t stop.

Work made me feel good. It made me feel important. And there was instant gratification. I was addicted to the feeling of productivity, success, and affirmation. And my life just got so out of balance because of it. I knew something was wrong, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. I don’t think I fully realized the effect that the unbalance was having on me emotionally, physically, and even professionally too (like I think my work suffered because I wasn’t living life if that makes sense?)

There were several times that I tried to incorporate balance into my schedule. I’d sign up for workout classes or plan coffee dates with friends. I even joined a bible study and started leading another one. OR I’d force myself to take days off and set arbitrary boundaries for when to stop working.

But doing these things was not enough. When push came to shove, I could always somehow justify or rationalize choosing work.

I wasn’t getting to the root of the issue. I needed to take a step back and see the way my life actually looked and compare that to what I wanted long-term. And I needed some major perspective.

During one of my breakdowns, I started journaling. I took a step back from everything and tried to go back to the basics. I wrote these questions down:

  • What kind of person do you want to be?
  • What’s important to you and why?
  • What do you desire most?

I spent TIME writing down the answers and actually THINKING about the answers before writing. I didn’t just write what came to my head beacuse honestly some of those answers didn’t feel real at first. So I let my thoughts marinate and THEN I answered them.

This was a GAME CHANGER for me.

I was able to see clearly that my life did not align with who I wanted to be, what’s important to me, and my deepest desires. Something about writing it down and seeing the discrepancies really gave me perspective.

And so I started to dig. I asked myself a lot of WHY questions. I started meeting with a counselor and journaling a lot more, spending way more time in self-reflection. I asked myself why I was running so hard and what I was running towards. To be honest, I’m still trying to figure it out. But I will say that writing down WHO I wanted to be and what I believed to be MOST important set the stage for some radical transformation in my life.

Once I put on paper what my priorities were and saw how I wasn’t living them out, I knew I needed to make some changes.

If you don’t know what your priorities are in life, then the world will define them for you. If you don’t define what’s important to you and commit to following through, then the urgent things in your day-to-day will takeover your life. Time will pass, things will pile up and before you know it, you’ll realize you’re not living the life you want to be living.

Because trust me, more money or a more successful career (or whatever) is not what you’re missing in life. And it shouldn’t be the only thing you’re running towards.

So stay tuned and come back to the blog next week to read my post on why you need to define your priorities and how to do it! And then eventually we’ll talk about how to actually live them out!


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