But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:31
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion foreJust . Psalm 73:26
It might seem silly, but a summer tradition our family has is watching the reality television show, America’s Got Talent. Each performance is something to behold. From singers and dancers to magicians and comedians, these contestants dare to take the stage and show off their skills for the world to see. We all pick our “golden buzzer” performer and root for them to take home the grand prize. My wife tends to gravitate towards the singers, our girls for whatever reason love ventriloquists and dance groups, but for me, I enjoy the death-defying acts that keep you on the edge of your seat.
One season there was a plate spinner who caught my eye. Even though they didn’t advance very far, I still remember it to this day. The way they went back and forth down that long line trying to keep numerous plates spinning on random poles struck a chord deep within me. Why? Because it provided a glimpse into my soul and the pressure that was consuming me.
Each one us has numerous spinning plates that we must keep our eye on. We have the needs of our families, tending to our marriages or relationships, and investing in friendships. Our call as believers also entails making sure we pray, read Scripture, journal and serve others. Then we’ve got to fix things around the house, make ends meet, eat healthily, exercise more, develop hobbies, discover our life’s purpose, be active in the community, volunteer, and, well, you get my drift.
“Just keep spinning, just keep spinning…” is the tune that gets stuck in our head. We’ve become experts at maneuvering from plate to plate in just enough time to keep the action going. Our arms might be weak, and our knees might be wobbly, but we reason in our head that the show must go on.
But, here’s the reality. If we don’t create margin and moments in our lives to be still, to rest, and to reflect, it’s inevitable that these plates will come crashing down around us. We’ll fool ourselves into believing that we are the leading act when in actuality we play a small part in a much grander play that God is directing. Being a plate spinner is a great skill for America’s Got Talent, but it’s not a sustainable way to live, love and engage in ministry.
Our ministry (what we do with the gifts, talents, and resources we’ve been given by God) flows from our walk. Every time I hear this statement I nod in agreement. I know it to be true. I’ve even given this bit of wisdom to others, yet I struggle to take my advice and make checking the gauges of my heart a priority. Chances are good; I’m not the only one. Maybe you find yourself serving out of the reservoir rather than the overflow. In an attempt to make everything fit, you’ve inadvertently squeezed out your connection with Christ. Perhaps while doing your “job” you’ve lost your purpose. You’ve burnt the wick at both ends for so long that the once-dominant flame that fueled your pursuit is slowly fizzling away.
You might be unable to articulate when this shift occurred or what caused the drift in the first place, but you’re well aware of your desperate need for rest, refueling, refinement, and refocus. Don’t lose heart or feel embarrassed or ashamed. A faith journey has its peaks, but it also includes its fair share of valleys. There are unbelievable highs along with low moments of silence, confusion, and frustration. In both, we’re called to walk in faith and hope. In both, God is still present, by our side, and faithful.
In fact, those desert seasons, when our need for Christ is more pronounced, are transformational opportunities in disguise. God promises us that we will find His heart if we seek and pursue it. We encounter His heart, not in the hurry, the rush, the competition, the effort or the comparison. Pursuing doesn’t involve trying harder on our own, exerting more self-will, or strengthening our flesh.
Rest for our soul consists of slowing down and entering His stillness. Sometimes God shouts, but often He speaks to us in a gentle whisper (1 Kings 19:12). When we quiet everything around us, our ears can tune into this conversation of forgiveness, mercy, conviction, and encouragement. The prophet Zephaniah says that “He will quiet you by His love” (Zephaniah 3:17).
So, today, take a break from spinning all those plates, quiet your heart and let God speak words of grace and life into it.
- Where do you find your strength in short supply? What causes you to rely on your own power to get things done rather than leaning in for support from God?
- How can you tend to your heart today?
God, my energy is in short supply. Running on empty, or near it, can only get me so far. Help me to realize that my connection to You is what fuels my heart and sharpens my focus. Where I am weak, You are strong. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.