What an unbalanced life looks like….
We made a list of all the stuff we are trying to balance out in our lives. If you missed that post you can head over to the first one or just make a list now of all the stuff you do.
Each one of these things on our list will be vying for our attention. Each one of these things takes time. Each one of these things needs to be done. In a life that is constantly shifting and changing finding balance within these things is impossible. BUT thankfully there is still hope and joy and balance. Hope, Joy, and Balance just can’t be found within the things we do no matter how hard we try.
Our lives get out of balance when things are not in the right place. When we take the things we do or the good gifts of God and elevate them life gets out of balance. Looking to the things we do to make everything balanced and okay will never leave us filled with hope. The only only person who has ever made everything all right is Jesus. Jesus is the one who gives hope yet we want to constantly look to our to do list.
A good indicator in my life when things are about to go out of balance or when something is battling for the place of god in my life is when I go from…
‘Ive got this whole life thing all together’ to believing
‘I am an epic failure’ in short order.
I know something else has become my god when I am flying high one moment and the next I believe I am failing myself and everyone around me.
This next scene is a quote from my new favorite book to give as a gift and to recommend ‘Liturgy of the Ordinary.’ By Tish Harrison Warren. The author, Tish, gives us a glimpse of her own life but it sounds like she watched me one morning last week.
“I have a plan for my morning-run by the store and pick up a side for dinner and some dish soap, then head to a meeting.
So after I brush my teeth and help Jonathan get the kids off to their activities, I get dressed quickly and eat breakfast. I throw on my favorite corduroy coat, hoist my computer bag over my shoulder, and head toward the door. I go and grab the car keys on the entry table that we bought (and painted robins egg blue) for the express purpose of having a spot for keys. Nest to the jar of dried lavender and stack of mail are two key rings that hold the keys to the car, the house, and our neighbors house, as well as a couple others the purpose of which I’ve forgotten (but keep holding onto them because you never know)
Cue the sound of screeching brakes. The keys aren’t there.
I check the side pocket of my bag, then the pants I wore yesterday, then my bag again. I start to panic a little. I take off my coat. I walk into my kitchen and look on the counter.
I have lost my keys. With them goes all sense of perspective. With them goes my plan; with them goes my cool. These instruments that I use for security and freedom to lock out bad guys and get where I need to go have suddenly become a means of imprisonment. I’m stuck.
I go through my stages of searching for lost objects.
Stage 1: Logic: I retrace my steps. They’ll turn up
Stage 2: Self condemnation “I am such an idiot. Where did I put those keys? Why am I such an idiot?”
Stage 3: Vexation. I get frustrated I curse. I blame other and I blame myself…God knows where my keys are. Why isn’t me helping here? I’m having a mild theological crisis over a two inch piece of metal.
Stage 4: Desperation: I start to look everywhere even places that do not make sense.
Stage 5: Last Ditch. I stop and pray. Okay, breath. I tell myself that I’m being ridiculous, that I’m overreacting. Calm Down.
Stage 6: Despair. I give up and plop on the couch. I will never find my keys…Everything is worthless. The morning is ruined. Stupid keys. Stupid me. Stupid planet. Stupid universe.”
She then goes and starts at stage 1 again searching high and low for keys
7 minutes later she finds her keys.
Cue the Hallelujah Chorus
She skips to the grocery store. Missing keys end up being a hiccup. But it was also the apocalypse….
Small things go wrong. I feel hurried or overwhelmed, burdened by sad news or worried for a friend, and like a rising flood, inch by inch, the collective sadness and frustration mounts and I snap. I yell at my daughter to quiet down. I slam the broken dishwasher door just a bit harder than necessary. I mutter something under my breath.”
Liturgy of the Ordinary by Tish Harrison Warren
This is what it looks like for me when life is out of balance.
This is what it looks like when keys become my god.
This is what it looks like when order in my life becomes my god.
This is what it looks like when my schedule becomes my god.
This is what Idolatry (or at least one way) looks like in my life.
This is what it looks like for me when I am breaking the 1st commandment. When life gets turned upside down just because I misplaced my keys for 7 minutes.
Have you ever had a similar experience?
We will break the first commandment over and over again. Next week we will look at some biblical history and see that we are not alone in this struggle of keeping God as our God.
As we look at this remember that our inability to keep Jesus in the place of our God has been happening since Adam and Eve. Gods response to Adam and Eve placing themselves or other good things as their God is the same response he has to us. When we run from him he pursue us. When we are naked and filled with shame he covers us with the sacrifice he made. He gave Adam and Eve the promise that he would make the ultimate sacrifice of his own life and he delivered for them and for us.
No matter how many times we put silly things like keys as our god or the good gifts he gives us as our god he will always pursue us. He wants to have a relationship with us. He wants to be out God. He went as far as death to be our God. Our keys and schedules may slip into the place of our God and life may get out of balance yet our True God will always be where he belongs. He will be there because of what HE has done not because of anything we do.