As I get older it is harder to stay balanced.
It certainly applies to me physically. I used to come down stairs in a sort of controlled fall. I could kind of kick my feet over the edge of each stair-tread and let gravity do its work. Now, with the stiffening of joints and the slow-down of my synapses, I tend to have a definite one at a time gait, and I often use the handrail. Staying upright, adapting to rapidly changing conditions and sensations, and doing so without looking like an utter fool has gotten harder--much harder.
What is true about descending a staircase is more-so in regard to mental/emotional/spiritual matters:
- Part of the problem is I see and have seen the damage that comes from a lack of balance. In the same way that part of my perceived--or actual--clumsiness on a set of stairs results from my awareness of what a fall can do to my old body, my struggle with balance in other areas comes from disasters that I have seen--and caused--over the past decades. How much time do I allow "Joe Waste-a-day" take up in my schedule? I have offended Joe's sister because I didn't take time to listen when he was hurting, and I've shown up on Sunday morning unprepared because I allowed him to cut into study time. Balance!
- I know that to be effective in ministry I have to be me. I've tried, and failed miserably, to exposit like MacArthur, tell stories like Swindoll, command a platform like Stowell, and administer like Maxwell. Yet I know that Popeye was on a route to failure with his, "I yam what I yam and that's all what I yam." In so many ways "I yam" not good enough. I need to grow, to become, to expand.
- Everyday I face decisions about doing things that will benefit me, my family and my ministry in the long-term. Often focus on those big-picture matters are crowded out by the mundane. Sunday is always coming. There are always people with current needs. My desk needs cleaning & my grass has to be mowed. I know that if I will invest time and effort into long-range preparation that my right now tasks will be easier to do tomorrow and next year. I can't afford, though, to neglect a "must do" today for the sake of a "need to do" to be ready for tomorrow. Sometimes the urgent really is tyrannical to ignore its siren--as on an ambulance, not in mythology--call is to assure disaster. Yet to let it rule my life is to assure a painful death by a thousand undressed wounds.
I'm trying, but not coming as near to success as I wish I were, to remember, and act on the basis that:
- People matter. My computer will return to silicon. People will be somewhere for ever.
- Yet properly used, the computer can enable me to do my job better than I would with just a pencil.
- I shouldn't flatter myself, I'm not nearly as important or essential as I often think I am.
- Having said that, if God can use others who put on their pants one leg at a time, He can use me. By His grace and enablement I am significant.
- Don't spend more time on something than it is worth. A significant part of balance is proportion. For instance, I figure I've spent enough time on this. . . .