If there’s anything that amplifies the heat of motherhood, it’s the daily, extraordinarily challenging task of balancing all the many components of our lives.
As if tending to little ones’ needs wasn’t hard enough, we have relationships with husbands, family, and friends that need cultivating, jobs to work, the constant hamster wheel of house work to do, bills to pay, groceries to buy, appointments to make, birthday cards and gifts to mail, school projects and homework to help with, etc. etc. etc. The list could go on in dizzying fashion.
Sometimes, it feels as though we’re trying to walk across Niagara Falls on a tightrope, doesn’t it? And if we don’t maintain the perfect balance—if one thing slips—we’re at risk of having the whole kit and caboodle come crashing down in spectacular disaster.
I feel that wire underneath me wobble and twist erratically when I’m facing a blank dinner menu and a hungry family. Or when I remember that phone call I still haven’t returned. Or when I see that text to which I’ve tried to reply half a dozen times but have found myself interrupted by little hands and voices at every attempt.
I feel it in the friendships I see falling behind due to unintentional lack of effort … in the clutter on the stairs … in the long, ticky “to do” list of doctor’s visits and speech therapy sessions to schedule and more meals to plan because, inexplicably, they want dinner every single night!
Mamas, we do so much. We carry so much. We are walking across a high wire, carrying what feels like the weight of the world at times. What’s a mom to do?
Out of curiosity (and a smidgen of procrastination), I did a quick search into the mechanics of tightrope walkers—how in the world do they do it? I once tried a slack line at a friend’s house, and I looked like an overcooked noodle trying to stand up. It seems like an impossible feat.
Simply put, posture is the most important element. Thus, a tightrope walker focuses on lowering her body’s center of gravity towards the wire. In the same way a shorter, sturdier vase is harder to topple than a taller, slimmer vase, so a walker is less likely to fall if the majority of her mass is closer to the wire.
Tightrope walkers also recognize that the wire itself tends to rotate, threatening to throw the walker off balance. Assuming a position of “arms up and out” in horizontal fashion brings balance to the walker, helping her offset the constant wiggles and turns of the wire beneath.
These may seem like random, useless facts, but I believe we can draw wisdom and insight from this illustration. In our quest to traverse the tightrope of young motherhood and maintain a modicum of steadiness and grace, we can pull spiritual lessons out of physical ones:
Just as a walker lowers her center of gravity towards the wire, so we must lower our center of gravity towards Christ, sinking deep into His Word and truth. With our arms out and open, ready to receive all His very great and precious promises (see 2 Peter 1:4), we are ready to walk through the twists and turns life throws at us.
Our entire ability to maintain balance hinges on us keeping Christ at the very center of our beings. Simple, right? Yes … and ridiculously challenging, because our enemy knows our source of strength, balance, and light is found in positioning Jesus as our center. Is it any wonder he puts all his resources into thwarting that goal?!
Like walking a tightrope, the key to maintaining balance in our lives is simple, but not easy. It takes a lot of practice. But it is possible, even though it appears impossible at times!
Let’s look at 3 practical ways we can improve our spiritual tightrope walking skills and move from just surviving to truly thriving:
Get to Know Him
While Jesus walked the earth, He gave clear teachings on what our priorities should look like:
Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments (Matthew 22:37-40 NIV).
In these simple, powerful words, Jesus makes it clear that we should love God and love others … and everything else flows from this! Living this life of faith requires tremendous trust—yet to deeply trust Him, we must deeply know Him.
To lower our center of gravity towards Christ, we must first come to know and love Him. Talk to Him through prayer. Spend time in His word. Find a devotional that speaks to you in your current season (some of my favorites can be found HERE, HERE, and HERE). Get involved in a small group or Bible study at your church. God longs to be in a love relationship with you that is real and personal!
Like any relationship, becoming better acquainted with God requires time … which brings me to the next point:
Mamas, I know you’re tired and stressed out. I know you—like me—feel as though you have zero moments to spare, but may I humbly ask permission to push you a little bit here? Only because I believe we could both use a gentle, loving push.
The truth is, we make time for those things we find most important. We find time, create time, or cut time from other places in order to prioritize what matters most in our lives.
When I find myself walking through life without His joy and focus, and I want to scratch my head and wonder why, I’m reminded of the words of Jeremiah:
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord (Jeremiah 29:13 & 14 NIV).
So I’ll ask you the hard question I have to ask myself: are you seeking Him with all your heart?
Are you making room for Him, or spending your time seeking approval on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram? Perhaps instead of checking our e-mail and blasting out a couple tweets first thing in the morning, we could spend those first quiet moments with Him.
I know that’s not a popular thing to say—and believe me, I feel the tension too, and the desire to reach for other distractions first. But just give it a try for a few days and see how you feel. The First 5 app from Proverbs 31 Ministries is an excellent way to begin!
Speak the Language of Gratitude
Finally, we could all benefit by learning to speak the language of gratitude. I know I sound like a broken record here, but y’all, this one is huge. I can be having the worst day paired with the worst attitude, and if I force myself to stop, breathe, and write down five things for which I’m thankful, it completely turns my heart around.
Ann Voskamp, one of my favorite authors and followers of Christ, writes that there is always something to be thankful for. Always. I rather agree with her!
Few things restore balance to my day faster than lifting my head up and refocusing on the good things God has provided rather than the stressful, negative things that often consume my conscious thought. It’s a game changer, sweet mama, I promise you that.
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I realize this post is long, so thank you for hanging in there with me. And I know I’ve challenged you guys to a lot: digging into God’s word, setting aside lesser things to make more room for Him, and being willing to give thanks even in the midst of a hard day …
… but what do you have to lose? Nothing, really.
And who knows? You just might look up to find yourself half-way across those raging falls, taking in the glorious sights and sounds of a life lived with balance and steadiness.
This post is a part of May’s Series, Ring of Fire: Surviving & Thriving in the Furnace of Young Motherhood.
Come back Monday for Cultivating Community as we finish out this series with a guest post from Jennifer Moye!