Last weekend our family went to a competition where over a hundred kids showed off their work in the area of robotics. The culmination of the day was an awards ceremony where the teams who succeeded in various categories received trophies.
After the competition part was over, the crowd was entertained by a DJ. It was dance party time, the part of the day that our kids were most excited about, and the crowd of kids (and some adults) wiggled, jumped, and danced along to the songs. My husband and I sat together on the bleachers as spectators, enjoying all the fun that was happening.
As we watched, the group devolved from dance hall to free-for-all, as groups broke off and did their own thing. This group joined hands and ran in a circle. That group played tag. A group of girls walked, crab-like, on their hands and feet.
I had never seen such a display of so many types of behavior in one room before.
We saw one kid, a little ways off from the others, spin around as fast as he could on one knee. My husband pointed him out to me, and we smiled as we saw him spin, then lose what little balance he had left and collapse face down on the floor. He sat up, and we could tell his stability was still impaired as his head kept moving to one side. We laughed as he shook it to get rid of the dizziness. Then he stood up and ran off, no worse for the wear.
I spun as a child, twirling with my arms outstretched, inducing the sensation of dizziness and the resulting silliness of stumbling around. I’d never try it now as an adult – my body can’t handle the physical sensation of spinning anymore. But sometimes I feel as if my brain is spinning with responsibilities and tasks.
I hate that. I hate feeling overwhelmed, off balance. The bathrooms need to be cleaned again. We’re out of milk. Jeez, Andrea, get it together. You just took down your Christmas tree YESTERDAY? Do you know it’s almost February?
We all admit how busy we are. Sometimes it’s just bragging. If I list all the things I do, then everyone will be impressed with how hard I work. I fall into this trap sometimes, listing the things I do every day. It makes me feel better to know that I’ve been productive, that I’ve accomplished much. In reality, I’m just spinning. I’m showing the world what my brain tells me I need to do.
Sometimes I stop when I begin to list the things I do that keep me so busy. I realize that I’m not doing anything courageous by getting through the day; my tasks aren’t harder or more important than anyone else’s. Only my pride causes me to list all the things I do.
I hate realizing my own pride more than the feeling of being off balance.
In those moments I need to remember that God gives me the tasks I must do. They are not of my own construction. God gave me this family, this home, these things to do. If I do them, I do them for his glory; not anyone else’s, and certainly not mine. I feel at peace when I know that I am scrubbing toilets for God’s glory rather than my own. I am less hard on myself when I’m taking down the Christmas tree a month after Christmas is over. After all, God gave me this task to do and this time to do it. When I remember this my pride takes a backseat.
So much goes into God’s plan for us. So much more than spinning around doing tasks left and right. He is teaching us all something specific about ourselves, about him. For me it is realizing that my tasks are just mine. To be humble about doing them. To be nicer to myself when they don’t get done. To not look for accolades from others.
And to find my balance, my foothold in his Kingdom.
After all, who is Apollos? Who is Paul? We are only God’s servants through whom you believed the Good News. Each of us did the work the Lord gave us. I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow. It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow. The one who plants and the one who waters work together with the same purpose. And both will be rewarded for their own hard work. For we are both God’s workers. And you are God’s field. You are God’s building. 1 Corinthians 3:5-9 (NLT)
So then, dear brothers and sisters, be firm. Do not be moved! Always be outstanding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord. 1 Corinthians 15:58 (NET)