Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Balancing Act

I watched a documentary once on a guy, Philippe Petit, who was a tight rope walker. I think it’s an impressive talent to be able to walk along a rope high up off the ground. Really, all gymnasts & acrobats impress me. It clearly takes a lot of physical stamina and discipline to be able to do these things, let alone to do them well.

So, this tight-rope-walker-guy… It would have been impressive enough had he performed his talent only in a circus or at a carnival. But, for him, this was not enough. He had a team of friends that set up rigs so that he could walk his tight rope between buildings. High above the ground, as passers-by looked on in astonishment; he would walk the air from one building to the next – no net. In 1974, he was arrested for his stunt walking between The Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City – his highest accomplishment. The story focused on a man with a passion for his dream, and in a strange way, I could relate.

Since 2006, I have put my passion and energy toward helping create places where people could encounter the living God in a real and authentic way. I was privileged to be on staff at EastLake Community Church, and have been blessed to move across the country to Wisconsin to help launch Great Lakes Church. In both places, and in countless Growth Groups, I have passionately pursued creating environments where people could come and know they were wanted. I love it more than any other job or volunteer work I have ever been a part of.

I love hearing about people connecting, with each other and with Jesus Christ. I love when people start conversations with me like this: “You know, I was just talking with someone the other day about the next group I’d like to lead. What do you think?” Groups are up there with my very favorite things to talk about. As you might imagine, it takes a lot of work to make sure there are enough groups for everyone to have a chance to participate. It takes a lot of selfless leaders and hosts to open up their homes and their schedules. It takes a lot of emailing, researching group topics, and getting to know people on an individual level. It consumes a large part of my mental and physical energy, and I love it!

The reality is, even aside from Groups, I really love everything I get to be a part of at Great Lakes Church. This past weekend, we hosted 20+ church planters here in Kenosha for a Networking Meeting. We gathered together to exchange materials, ideas, & inspiration. All of these church leaders have planted within the last 3 years, and some of them have not yet even launched their churches. I was so excited about the potential for this meeting that I went into overdrive preparing for the event.

Those are just a couple of things I can easily get swept away in the details of. I cling to details and lists. I don’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t. They give me the sense that something tangible is being accomplished, that my time is not idle. Dare I admit that I find a lot of who I am in the items on the lists that I have checked off?

The danger I am discovering recently is that I have been relying on these To Do Lists, and lots of checked off boxes, for peace and satisfaction. Peace. Satisfaction.

Enter Claire. Our sweet baby is now 3 ½ months old, which means I have been a mother for the first quarter of this year. Checking things off my lists has gone from being a great way to keep organized to an insatiable obsession. Now, along with my lists, I have laundry, dishes, diapers, laundry, feeding, and laundry to keep up with. How can I keep up?

No. Seriously. How? Is there something I’m missing? Is there some strategy you learn at mother school on how to organize your life and your home for your family and still be involved in all of the things in life that meant so much before the baby came along?

Lately, as I pray, there is only one thing I know for sure. No, it’s not the magic strategy. (So, if you have it, please pass it along.) The one thing I know is that I am loved.

I am loved.

I am loved by God, the creator of the universe, in the most precious and personal way. Nothing on my lists will earn me favor with God. None of the piles of dirty laundry or dishes are keeping me from being loved either. I am loved and that is that.

Now, I look at my own tight rope and see all I am trying to keep balanced… Growth Groups, Sundays, baby clothes, To Do Lists, dishes, catching up with friends, diapers, calling family… It is a balancing act that will never bring me peace or fully satisfy. Peace. Satisfaction.

If I am truly loved, which I am, then all of my striving is for myself. I am learning, or at least desiring to learn, that the only lasting peace I will ever have is in my relationship with Jesus Christ. The most important “phone call” I can make each day is the one to my Lord and Savior and Friend. I would like to step off of my own tight rope and fall into the net of grace that God has offered me.

I am working on it.

Jesus said, ”Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon your selves and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Matthew 11:28-30

1 comment:

Pam said...

Wow. I love when you share your heart so openly, Michelle. And I remember "old" (now I would say "older"!) women saying, "Treasure this time, it goes by all to quickly." In my mind I would think if one more person tells me to treasure the time that I had 3 children under the age of 4 wrapping themselves around my legs as I tried to walk, I was gonna seriously hurt someone. Fast forward to now. Ahhh, yes! Treasure this time. Within a year she will want to be walking (or running) and not wanting to spend so much time in your arms. I have always struggled with the organization part, and my kids will all tell you about the shelf FULL of organizational books that somehow NEVER worked for me (still don't!). So sorry. No magical formula. Just wrap yourself in the knowledge that you are loved, not only by God, but by Tony and Claire, and many, many others whose lives you have impacted. And know that God calls us to seasons in our lives. This may be the season for you to hear God calling you to a different pasture. Matt Cox did a great sermon on Sunday about the crossroads in our lives, or the dried up creeks in our lives, that cause us to take stock. I know you hear God, and he will speak to your heart just what you need to hear. So if that means no boxes to be checked off, so be it. You can never go wrong when you follow that still, small voice. Love you, Honey.