Responsibility & Relationship Juggling (and Upcoming Giveaway)

Well, we’ve talked about plate spinning and now we’re talking juggling.

(And no, I do not have a fascination with circus performers!)

I  just see many tired & worn out women spinning and juggling.

Juggling roles.

Juggling relationships

Juggling responsibilities.

Juggling hats.

Including myself!

While I speak and write on time management, I certainly am not immune to awful tendency we women have to take on too many responsibilities at the expense of our relationships.

In fact, I have noticed a pattern with me. About every three years, I get to my “breaking point”; that place where my plate is so full of outside commitments that God and my family are beginning to get mostly my leftovers.

The problem is this: We women are sooooooo good at multi-tasking and “job-doing” that when presented with another outside responsibility, we glance at our already too-full plates. Then, instead of saying “no” to the new task to do or hat to wear, or removing something from our plate before saying “yes” to the job, we surmise that if we just re-arrange everything, somehow we can make it all fit!!

The result?

A plate so full not even the strongest product Chinette cranks out can hold it all!

Perhaps you, like me, are beginning to buckle under the weight of your too-full plate. You feel rushed. You fear forgetting appointments and responsibilities. You have zero “me ” time–not in a selfish “I must go to the salon, the tanner, a movie and on a 1/2 day shopping spree weekly or I’ll simply die” kind of way.

I mean time to relax. Re-coop. Refresh. Renew. Re-focus. Re-define. Re-direct. Rejuvenate.

I’ve got it! Let’s call it “Re” time instead of the traditional “Me” time.

So….where do we begin? How can we scrape our plates and start all over?

Well, here is what I am doing this week.

Since I like visual images that help me understand a concept, I’m getting out a piece of poster board. On it, I’m drawing several circles of various sizes; some large, several medium and others small.

Then, on a separate sheet of paper, I’m writing down all of my  responsibilities, relationships and activities. My list looks a little like this:

  • Relationship with God ( I DO NOT mean church roles or church attendance. They are important but in and of themselves do not prove a relationship with God.)
  • My husband Todd
  • My daughter who lives in North Carolina (I am in Michigan)
  • My 15 year old son Mitch
  • My 12 year old son Spence
  • My life group at church (a geographical small group of blended ages and walks of life that “do life” together, meeting weekly)
  • My home-making (groceries, cooking, cleaning, etc…)
  • My ministry duties at Proverbs 31 (speaking, writing devos, coaching speakers)
  • My extended relatives; some nearby; some far away
  • My responsibilities in my local church (mainly writing the sermon series take-home study guides with my pastor)
  • My kids’ school responsibilities at their homeschool co-op (I teach Speech & Creative Writing to 48 jr & sr highers!! YIKES!! But hey, that means someone else teaches them their other subjects. YAY!!!)
  • My website
  • My Facebook friends (actually three circles there–friends I personally know, friends from the past and friends I’ve never even met face-to-face)
  • My neighbors
  • My “me” ……….”Re” time

You get the picture….

Then, once my list is finished, I am going to go to that poster board and write the various items from the list in the appropriate sized circles according to the time/energy and devotion I give them. Not what I wish were true, but what is the reality of my life now. (I may need to draw more circles)

What do I see?

Am I letting smaller priorities take more of my time? (Big circles)

Do I squeeze God in a small circle when He should get the biggest one?

Do I simply have too many stinkin’ circles to begin with?

Then, I am getting gut-wrenchingly honest with myself (and I hope you will too)


I know my answer.

If you too have this problem, what is yours?

I’ll be back Friday with my answer, more discussion and also a giveaway centered on this subject. In the mean time, please share any thoughts about all of this.

I’d love to hear from you!



  1. Wow, just thinking about writing down my plates stresses me out. I have 3 girls and 1 grandchild that I watch and i feel like i have a million plates going at the same time and at the end of the day i am so tired I have no time for anything!! Look forward to some good ideas!

  2. Love the idea of RE time not ME time. Sounds less selfish, though we should be selfish about rejuvenating our selves. Our society gives us the metnality of the spa, shopping, movie day you mentioned, but really, don’t we all need a few minutes breathing time to browse a magazine in our favorite chair, or to simply sit outside and enjoy the season we are in breathing in the air, feeling the snow or wind or rain on us..ha,ha…and just being still?
    Can’t wait to see what you will say next.

  3. I would be interested to hear more about the top ten list from the conference call that lisasmith mentioned. I do not have an answer to why I do this, except perhaps an overabundant sense of responsibility with a bit of perfectionism thrown in.

  4. Great post Karen. I have needed these posts this week. God has really been speaking to me about clearing my plate. I have been spinning too many lately. I struggle with telling people no because I don’t want to let them down. The result is I overload myself and let us both down.

    Have a blessed week,

  5. Karen,
    Reading your list was making me tired. Ha! This is what has been going on with me lately. Today, I am taking a me day-or a “re” day. Just hanging out and relaxing.
    The Lord has really been speaking to me about this- I feel like the person who gets put on hold the most is mu husband. I seem to let myself think that it is okay. that he will understand, because He loves me. He is such a good husband. I take him for granted. I want to change this.He is so supportive in anything that I do.
    Thnaks for the reminder today. I need to say no sometimes.

  6. I’m currently a mom to two high school teens and a college son. Our life is constantly a spinning plate.
    We spend too much time rushing from this to that.
    It’s exhausting!

    I keep reminding myself….this is a phase that will be ending very soon. It helps me to slow a bit and cherish the moments I have with my kids!

  7. Karen, you are so wise. I made the top ten list that you suggested on the P31 conference call a few weeks ago and decisions seem so much easier most of the time now.

  8. Wow, what a great idea! So get the comment, “not what I wish were true, but what is the reality of my life now.” And “do I have too many circles?” :P
    If I were to make a chart like that I’d be overwhelmed (not because my life is overwhelmed, it’s not fortunately) but because I would struggle internally over what went in what size circle. I guess getting honesty and desires mixed up.

  9. My issue is different. I have way too much time to spend. It’s weird in this day and age but I do. And I need to fill my life with some responsibilities.

  10. I sooo needed this today! I have really been struggling with being so “busy” ALL the time and my kids aren’t even in any sports right now! I need to buckle down, make my list and totally focus on God, and read his word EVERY single day! Thanks and love ya!

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