Sunday, September 21, 2014

Balance

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In America, "balance" is usually seen as spinning a series of plates, frantically dashing to and fro trying not to let one crash tragically to the ground, breaking into a million pieces.


With this traditional view of balance there's this idea of "doing it all," having so many plates spinning, and keeping them spinning indefinitely. Because of our traditional view of balance, many of us shy away from taking up an extra plate because most certainly the other plates wouldn't spin as fast, or one of them would come crashing down.

I believe balance, in reality, is a spinning top.


The plates are stacked, according to size, the biggest first, and set into motion by one single spin.


The question I get asked most often these days is "How's school going?" I've felt tempted in the past to cast my answer in the plate-spinning light. Obviously, since I've picked up another plate, everything else is harder, right? I'm stretched too thin. Something's gotta give. You can't make up time, and I have less of it these days.

Wrong.

Since I have felt guided by God in this decision, everything has fallen into place. Putting God first was the decision that has put everything else into motion. Putting God first is how this top started spinning in the first place. I'm not spinning it, God is. Balance is not a feat of man. It's a gift from God.

I start out with the big things: Wife and mother. There's no compromising there. I'm not going to put anything ahead of those things. When my kids need to go to the doctor, I skip school. When my husband needs my attention, I put down the book.

I do a lot during the day. My days look different than they used to. Surprisingly it's pretty much the same hours it used to be. I don't get up much earlier or go to bed much later (yet. It's not midterm season). God just uses me in different ways. I ride my bike to class. I ride home. I spend time with my kids. We still make cookies and play with friends. They go to sleep. I do homework. I talk to Ben. All before 11pm.

God directs me in how to spend my time, how to keep those heavier things at the top and keep my balance. When I am with my kids I am present. I don't think about school. I don't do homework. We do pretty much normal things that we have always done.

When it comes to homework I do a lot of thinking. I focus on learning and less on tasks. Luckily my graduate work is more application-based and less busy work, so it gives me the opportunity to do that.

Another thing that contributes to balance is that I have been prepared. In so many ways I see the Lord's hand in what I have thought about, participated in, and become in the last four years. It has been excellent, specific preparation for what I am being asked to do right now. Tasks that might have terrified me before seem doable. Assignments I would have misunderstood are quick and take less time. The thinking I do is simply a continuation, a stretching of what I have already begun.

The Lord is directing me. He is directing me in how I can be more perfectly balanced, where there is room for improvement. I feel the urge to spend more one-on-one time with my kids. I feel the urge to be more specific in how Ben and I spend our time together. I have felt the urge to keep friendships going, to make phone calls, to keep up with this blog. I have felt the urge to keep up my temple attendance, and to stretch my personal relationship with God to a higher level.

If I was spinning separate plates, it would be easy to say STOP! Stop, I need to put one of these down!

But when I allow the Lord to direct me, I see that I am being fine-tuned. He's not asking me to do more, but do more with what I already have. To be more. To cut out the things that don't matter and make life matter, entirely.

I am happy. I'm giving of myself, I'm losing myself. And I'm finding the happiness that is reserved for those who live life this way.

Is God balancing you?


3 comments:

  1. I enjoy reading your blog. I always feel a bit more uplifted after reading it. I think your analogy of a top spinning is spot on! And I feel you'ved helped me but things together in my own mind that I've been thinking about. Not picking up more plates, but living more fully with what I have. Thanks!

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  2. Thank you, Rebecca. I'm so glad I've been able to help you in some small way. I think you're great. I'm so glad we're friends!

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  3. I really love how you explained your analogy. It helps me to not think just about "I've got too much to do already, how could I add anything?" It helps to identify that as a damaging way to think. I'm excited to practice thinking more about balance and efficiency and following the Spirit rather than finishing a list.

    Ps. I'm glad you liked the poem :)

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