What would an integrated life look like?
What if my family, faith, work and play were more intricately woven together?
We live in a world of many boundaries.
My home life is supposed to be separate from my work life. Relationship experts recommend no conversation over the dinner table of faith or politics. Clear lines of responsibility should exist with my children, my spouse, my volunteer work, and my job.
Problem with Boundaries
An unfortunate side effect for me, however, was my “boxed” life.
As the day rolled along, I pulled and replaced boxes from my shelf. Closing a box reduced stress as I sought to turn off my thoughts regarding its content. True.
Problems emerged however when stuff poked out of the box: waiting for a response from a critical email, my daughter home sick, an unexpectedly long meeting, my neighbor needs help, the school fundraiser materials arrive early, traffic delays on commute home, etc etc.
Strategies to abate the stress abound ….
Practice personal rewards.
Have a calendar and to-do list that syncs computer/phone/work/home.
Work two weeks out.
Use a file system where everything is reachable in five-minutes or less.
Use time management strategies.
Have extra school supplies on hand (no late night poster board runs here!).
Settle hurts and grievances before the sun goes down.
Live on a budget.
Say “No, I’m not able to help at this time” more often.
Lower my standards of a “clean house” (not so tough for me!).
Delegate at work.
The tops of the boxes, however, still did NOT close so well…at least not all of them all of the time. I have a hard time walking away from partially open boxes.
Sanity through Integrated Living
Gradually a change emerged …
I have grown to live a more integrated life. Things are a bit messier on the shelf. My soul, however, is more at peace. I humbly talk about faith and politics (oh, horrors!) with family and friends. I respond to an urgent work call or email in the evening, guilt-free…it’s now resolved and off my brain. I calendar review with the whole family … intentionally seeking family time, guilt-free.
An integrated life is missional life. Faith is an ever-present reality of every day not just a Sunday box … talking with my children, reaching out to others in need, personal meditation time.
Although the color-coordinated boxes on my Google calendar make my life look organized, in reality life is messy. And, that’s ok! Release! We are not in control after all!
Yes, there are challenges with an integrated life.
I’ve moved beyond the boxes. Want to come with me?