When I was 8 I dreamed of doing back handsprings off a balance beam. My mother took me to gymnastics lessons, and I joined, confident I would cartwheel across a beam in no time. But no time never came. I kept looking down at my feet. I was prone to second-guessing my step. I was more interested in getting across the balance beam with flair and confidence, than working my way through the awkwardness of finding balance. I wanted to do it perfectly, or not do it at all. Eventually, I quit, because it was just too hard.
We all want an elegant and perfect dismount. Nobody wants an audience while wobbling with arms out, falling off from time to time.
Lately, I've been trying to find balance. And some things have just fallen to the wayside.
I've been doing everything, but writing. My mind is all over the place, and about the only thing that coherently forms into a sentence or two ends up in the microblogging that is Instagram. That's all I've been able to handle lately: little nuggets, small truths, a thin string to hang on, a short shelf to set my tea down.
I miss having real thoughts that last longer than 2 minutes. Thoughts that felt luxuriously long, provoking, and worthy of lingering. But that was before we began selling our house, before I started a shoppe, before Number 6 became a mischievous 1.5 year old, before I started homeschooling 4 boys two days a week with two littles running amuck, before I had a middle schooler, before starting a school became costly and sometimes grueling, before leadership became costly, and before spending time with my husband and kids became such a precious and rare commodity.
I miss sitting down to mine the depths of what I've read or heard or wrestled with, and unearth what doesn't come up in small talk. But lately, there's not been much reading, or hearing, or wrestling, or unearthing. Even God's Word's has not received the attention it deserves. It makes no difference if we have the same circumstances or not-- I know you know what it feels like for noise to cloud your thoughts.
It's that kind of season in my life. I've simply put one foot in front of the other. I've done the next thing, over and over again, and the next thing hasn't been time spent excavating thoughts and penning what matters most in my heart. And in all the unfinished thoughts, toddler-speak, hat juggling, and ball dropping, guilt and condemnation can kick in. Fear of failure can stand in your path. Giving up can seem like the brave thing to do.
And, perhaps you relate: A season where the pace of life doesn't afford you the time to consider whether you're even on the right track with goals, dreams, and determined purposes. A season where you're surviving more than thriving, maintaining rather than growing. A season where the tyranny of the urgent drives the words you speak, the time you spend, and the plans you make.
You see, it takes time to assess, evaluate, and discern. And sometimes, we're called to take a timeout...to get off the balance beam. But, sometimes, the thing to do is to just keep adjusting your footing, place one foot in front of the other, and keep your eyes on the prize, ahead.
I've chosen the latter in this current season, and am fully aware that in every area of my life, I am arms-flailing-awkward and unsure for all to see. But, this time...this time, I'm not getting off just because I'm not doing cartwheels or handstands. I'm not getting off just because it's too hard to find balance.
Friends, it's not your amazing balancing act that will get you through whatever season you're in. Because of Christ, you don't have to perform gracefully and beautifully...You need only align your heart with his as he holds your hand.
This God—his way is perfect;
the word of the Lord proves true;
he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.
For who is God, but the Lord?
And who is a rock, except our God?—
the God who equipped me with strength
and made my way blameless.
He made my feet like the feet of a deer
and set me secure on the heights.
He trains my hands for war,
so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
You have given me the shield of your salvation,
and your right hand supported me,
and your gentleness made me great.
You gave a wide place for my steps under me,
and my feet did not slip.