Is Your Lifestyle Sustainable?

I intended to write my weekly gratitude post and a Memorial Day post, but I got sidetracked by a question that hit me today as I was reading Day 10 of this devotional plan from

The title was “A Sustainable Life,” and in it Joyce Meyer explains what she means by that. It’s very well-written and thought-provoking, and the main point is this: if what you’re doing causes you to wonder how much longer you can keep it up, or if your health is in jeopardy because of the pace you’re keeping, you’ve got to stop and rest. I’ve written about this before, and obviously I haven’t learned my lesson. God used this devotional to hit me again with Psalm 90:12 (NIV1984):

“Teach us to number our days aright,
    that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”

Despite understanding what that means, I’m still doing too much. I’m putting my health in jeopardy by staying up too late, not eating well (or enough), pushing myself past the point of exhaustion, and thinking that I must do everything, every day. I can’t.

Not only am I feeling the physical effects of this lifestyle, but I’m losing myself in the process. The things I need to do for my spiritual, mental, and emotional well-being are getting pushed to the side because I’m too busy doing other things that are urgent, but not important.

In the process, I’m sacrificing:

  • time to read each day, both for entertainment and to learn about subjects that interest me
  • time to do more in-depth Bible study and extensive Bible reading
  • time to journal to figure out what’s really bothering me so I can bring it to God and leave it there
  • time to write for my blog and other projects God has opened up for me

Even with a sustainable lifestyle, I realize that I can’t accomplish everything on that list every single day, either. I must begin my days with prayer, asking for the heart of wisdom mentioned in the Psalm so that I can bring God’s order to my day. I must put the important before the urgent, with God and my family (in the above picture) taking first priority. I believe that when I get my priorities right, God will bring everything else into line. He will help me to do what He has called me to do, and the rest will have to wait or get crossed off the list completely.

It’s time to say, “No. My schedule is full. I would love to, but I can’t do that now.” The opportunities God is bringing to me are amazing. I want to have the time and energy to pursue them after taking care of first things first.

My current lifestyle isn’t sustainable, but I’m making changes, starting now. I’m going to hit “Publish” and go to bed.

What changes can you make so your lifestyle is sustainable? If you’re already on the right path, please share your tips, strategy, or plan in the comments below!

Photo credit: Jennifer A. Janes

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11 Responses to Is Your Lifestyle Sustainable?

  1. Lara V. says:

    Very well written. It’s ok to say no. It’s hard for me to do that, even to my kids sometimes. So worried to be the “bad” guy. But you also have to not forget about your well being along the way. Everything is always for everyone else. Then we get sick or full of anxiety etc. Not fun.

    • Thank you. You’re right. When we’re sick or full of anxiety, it doesn’t make the “supermom” lifestyle quite as much fun. Thanks for leaving your thoughts.

  2. Rebecca says:

    Sweet friend, I had that same reality hit me three weeks ago when I was getting up at 4am…..for 10 days straight to get everything finished…and realized, I was beyond exhausted! If you need to make changes, you do it! You are an amazing Mom…and we love you…all of your readers…love you….for being you, open, honest, transparent and so encouraging!!!!

  3. Joy says:

    Well said! Yes, we need to learn to say no. I have noticed a difference for the better, when I do say no. I know while I have said no a few times, I still have plenty to work on to get to where I need to be. Definitely need to be in the word even more! Thank you for this post!

  4. Exactly! We run at ridiculous paces which God never intend for us. I can’t do it all. That’s why we made family priorities. Right now those are spending time with family and pursuing debt freedom. If it doesn’t distinctly fall into one of those categories, we seriously question whether or not we should be doing that thing.

    • Thanks, Amanda! I’ve been thinking a lot about your family priorities. I think that would be a good thing for us to do too. That makes it easy to figure out if an activity is a good “fit” for that time and place.

  5. Heidi says:

    Great post, Jennifer – and I get this on so many different levels that it’s almost ridiculous. I have definitely learned to say “no” – but I still need to learn to manage my time better.

  6. kelli- AdventurezInChildRearing says:

    I love this- so important – I had people that were just shocked that I didn’t do soccer this year with 3 boys- but I have to do what I can do & I’m happy with my slow pace. People think I do a lot – but actually – I take a lot of pictures of what we do -do. We enjoy the things that we do – but it may not even mean leaving home. Down time is something I cannot function without. literally. great post!

    • We are trying to build more down time into our lives too, Kelli! We limit the outside activities that our girls can participate in so that we have time to stay at home sometimes!

      I love all the pictures you take! Keep it up!

  7. Pingback: Homeschool Mother’s Journal: June 15, 2012 | Jennifer A. Janes

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