Are You Struggling With Your Juggling?

juggler.JPGHave you ever had one of those days when it seems like you are meeting yourself coming and going? Does it sometimes feel like you are juggling your life’s tasks and you simply can’t keep up? It’s easy to feel this way. Earlier today, my wife shared a video clip sent to her by one of her business colleagues. In his Amazing Juggling Finale Chris Bliss shows us how it’s supposed to be done. The video is about four minutes long, but you’ll want to watch it all the way through. If you are ready to view it, click here.

This set me to thinking. Three questions came to mind:

(1) What are some of the things you do to help you keep all of the balls in the air?

(2) What are some of the things that seem to really mess you up?

(3) What are some of the things we can do to become “better” jugglers?

Regarding the first question, I’ll confess that I’m not an expert at this. Even though it sounds a bit cliché, one thing that helps me keep all of the balls in the air is keeping my eyes on the ball. Or, as is usually the case, I’ve really got to concentrate on keeping my eyes on the balls. Something that goes hand-in-glove with this is having the ability to let go. I’ve come to realize over time that I’m more of an idea guy. I believe it’s a gift from God. But, although I’m reasonably adept at developing processes by which ideas can be implemented and managed, I’m not the best detail person. I’m very thankful that God has placed some extraordinarily talented detail people in my life.

With respect to question two, some of the things that really mess me up are: 1) failure to prioritize—sometimes the urgent crowds out the important in my life; 2) over committing myself—sometimes I bite off more than I can chew and everything suffers; and 3) forgetting to breath—back in the day when I played the baritone saxophone I would sometimes try to play through longer than my breath take me thinking this showcased my talent. Instead, it adversely affected my sound. I was so enamored with myself for doing without air that I didn’t even notice. Mrs. Hadley did, though. She would wave her hands about her head like she was fighting off an attack of killer bees. Then with crisp, staccato strikes on her music stand she would emphasize each syllable while she said, “You gotta’ remember to breathe, people!” Then, so that I would feel the full intensity and blazing heat of her stare, she would look directly at me and say, “You must breathe!” Even though she was only 5 feet tall, I knew it took every ounce of strength she could muster to keep from thrashing me. Well, that’s a long story to make a short point. Busyness is often confused with productivity. Sometimes, the best thing we can do to become better jugglers is to put down our tasks and take a few minutes or days and just breathe.

As for question number three above, I must constantly remind myself of the words of several key passages:

– Jeremiah 10:23, “LORD, I know that people’s lives are not their own; it is not for them to direct their steps.”

– Proverbs 14:12, “There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.”

– Proverbs 3:5-6, 5Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”

– Zechariah 4:6, “…This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty.”

– Ephesians 5:1-20, especially vs. 15-17, 1Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children 2 and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

3 But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for the Lord’s people. 4 Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. 5 For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a person is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. 7 Therefore do not be partners with them.

8For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10 and find out what pleases the Lord. 11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. 13 But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. 14 This is why it is said: ‘Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.’

15Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. 18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

– Most importantly, Matthew 6:33, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

So, what about you?

Are you struggling with your juggling?

© Bill Williams

August 9, 2006

About a fellow sojourner

a sojourner in life, trying to follow in the steps of Jesus.
This entry was posted in Blogroll, Christian Living, Christianity, Church, Following Jesus, Kingdom Living, Life, Spirituality & Religion. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Are You Struggling With Your Juggling?

  1. Greg England says:

    First, the juggler is amazing! My response may sound lame, but when we moved to Los Angeles 14 years ago, I was very intentional in my determination not to get caught up in the pace of life out here. Fourteen years later, I’ve been very true to that commitment, so I avoid the perils of juggling by not getting too many balls in the air at once.
    At one time I even purchased a PDA but forgot to look at it daily so it sits in my desk drawer unused for the past five years. But I do keep a calendar on the fridge at the house and we write down everything we need to do on any given day to keep us on track. Of course, there are the unavoidable things that come up in the life of anyone, especially someone in our position as “pastors” (let’s face it, that’s what we are in practicality) and I just deal with them as they arise. Otherwise, my secretary is very good about not letting things that aren’t urgent crowd my day.
    Years ago I heard a sermon by Swindoll on the “tyranny of the urgent” and it has helped me tremendously throughout the years.
    Good post, Bill. Your’s are always thoughful whereas mine are ……..

  2. Greg, your posts are refreshingly delightful. Just the kind of thing I need most days! God bless you, brother. -bill

  3. Cecil Walker says:

    “Juggling” certainly comes to mind when I start back to school. I always forget how “multi-task” teaching is over the summer. It always hits me like a ton of bricks on the first day of pre-planning.

    Good post Bill.

  4. Thanks for stopping by, Cecil. A few years ago, I taught one junior high level Bible class at a Christian school. It seemed like that class alone required that I have several balls in the air at once. I can’t imagine what it would be like to teach a full load. You have my respect. For what it’s worth, I think you are serving in one of the most fertile mission fields in the world. A Christian couple, both of whom were teachers, were quite influential in leading me to Christ. It’s a long story. Perhaps I’ll write about it some day. Blessings to you, good brother! -bill

  5. Donna says:

    It seems I meet myself coming and going all of the time right now. And I know that busyness is not productivity. As a matter of fact when I get this busy it seems like I shut down and can’t really be very productive at anything.

    Prioritizing and eliminating guilt when your cart is already fully loaded are two things I need to work on.

  6. Kathy says:

    First thing I did was recognize and accept that I cannot juggle, but I can multi-task [ a particularly feminine trait, ya’ know. LOL].

    I learned the hard way that I cannot be in more than one place at a time, either physically or mentally. So, for instance, when I closed the door to my house on my way to the office, I immediately put the house and its challenges out of mind. Reverse and pour from office to home – forgetting office problems that could drain my life’s blood and energy.

    Like your teacher said, Breathe. I’ve become the enjoyer (sic) of momentary beauty – a glance of a lovely garden, a pretty cloud, the smile from a baby passing by, the breath of fresh cool air as harbinger of coming cooler weather and Fall’s beauty. It only takes a nanosecond, but gives me the benefits of a sweet nap.

    My struggle is not prioritizing, it’s staying on task. I can find myself easily drawn to another “oh, I really need to do this,” and the next thing I know, I’ve done three other tasks leaving the original one hangin’ fire.

  7. Dee Andrews says:

    Bill –

    You ask 3 questions of us and yourself today and here is my perspective, for what it’s worth, toward the end of a life lived both with way too much to do and more recently, in a life greatly confined and solitary:

    1) What are some of the things you do to help you keep all of the balls in the air?

    Focus.

    As you say, focus on what you are really trying to do through all and in all.

    (2) What are some of the things that seem to really mess you up?

    Having WAY too much to do, way too little time to do it all and not taking enough, or even ANY, time to rest and refresh in between. Even God the Almighty rested for one day after six of creation. If we would allow – demand – the same of ourselves – 1/7 of our waking time (after allowing an adequate 8 or so hours of sleep, as doctors have determined is fully necessary for healthy living), at least, to rest, we would be much more capable of handling the juggling of all the balls in our lives the remainder of the time. We cannot, we MUST not, let the juggling act take over our lives to the point that we do not have some down time, even if for a few moments on the busiest of days,

    I just got out my trusty calculator and ran the figures. Y’all ready for this? I doubt it for some of you, but pay attention here. Taking 24 hours a day and deducting 8 hours leaves 16, right? Taking 1/7 of that time (which I submit is optimal for a day’s waking length, until y’all can show me otherwise), we find that we should allow ourselves, by God’s own “standard,” if you will, some 2. 2285 hours of rest & relaxation time on any given day. More for some, less for others, I understand, but with that as a goal for ourselves.

    What say ye?

    (3) What are some of the things we can do to become “better” jugglers?

    Juggle less would be my first suggestion. I think (don’t you all, or do you?) that we as Americans think that more and ever more is better, not less. And I mean less in every way. Less material things, less striving after all of the things we are led to believe are worth striving for by our society, less stress and less concern for things of this world.

    More only in living a balanced life in Christ.

    Yes, there are always things to be done.

    Yes, there are many lost souls to be reached and touched.

    Yes, we may sometimes not be able to lead a balanced life as we would wish and God would want for us, as well.

    But even Jesus Christ, when he lived as a man, went off alone on many occasions to rest and pray and commune with His father. We would do well to do the same. And I don’t mean during sleep time. Absolutely not, although I understand that some nights sleep is not an option, as much as we might seek it to help us to rest.

    You know – in the past 3 or 4 years of my life now, I’ve been compelled due to health constraints to spend long periods of time at home alone, which was, I found, just as much a cross to bear as having way too much to do. But I have found, and I consider it a great discovery on my part, that when I seek the Lord, He is with me through all and in all, no matter how “busy” or how “still” I may be.

    So, in the end, I would advise above all to stay closely connected, as we know you are by your writings here from day to day at “Spiritual Oasis,” Bill, to the Lord God our Father and Jesus Christ, our older brother by blood.

    Those are my thoughts here this rainy evening in south Mississippi as I sit here alone in the twilight of the day and the twilight of my life. All I can say from here is that this is a good place to be in this life. A very good place to be and I wish it for you all one of these days that will come much more quickly than you think now.

    Cheers, guys! Dee

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