When I was a kid on the playground, I would run up one side of the red see-saw attempting to stop myself right in the middle to balance my third-grade frame in the center. If you could master this playground magic, you were a hero. It took exquisite balance to hold both sides of the teeter-totter as your body weight centered on the axis. Then inevitably, it would happen. Someone would sit or push on one side, throwing the entire process out of balance.
Oh, that recess lesson has played out so often in real life. We fight to find balance, centering all the weights of marriage, parenting, careers, and following Jesus. But, like the elementary playground bullies, life has a surprise to throw everything out of balance.
So is there a way to be balanced? Is there a way to hold the tension of the axis and hold both sides of life’s see-saw up? Honestly, I don’t know.
This is usually where some brilliant blogosphere mind gives you three ways to solve life’s imbalance. Unfortunately, I am not that guy. I would rather be open and honest with you and just say, “I don’t know.”
Here is what I know or what I am trying to learn. It comes from the words of Jesus that he eloquently spoke within the Sermon on the Mount:
33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (Matthew 6:33 NIV)
The question of balance is what am I seeking by standing at the center? What am I trying to hold up? If we are honest with ourselves, it is unfair expectations placed on us either by society or ourselves. We get caught in a cycle of seeking approval, affirmation, and accreditation for what we see done. It is all the wrong seeking.
The seeking Jesus talks about is not done to be seen but done in the secret place. It is done in the closed closet of prayer. It is done in the quiet moments of scripture reading. It is done in the everyday experience of walking as an apprentice of Jesus.
What happens with this shift in seeking is that our life gets re-aligned. Not around trying to hold up both sides of life, but in passionate pursuit of the one who holds the whole world in his hands. We become balanced not in our pursuits of life but our pursuit of him. The return on this seeking is God’s addition. God begins to add the “things” in the simplicity of seeking. The things that in the previous verses he had pointed out – worry about the provision of food, clothing, shelter—worry about the things of life.
If you feel on the edge of off-balance on life’s see-saw, check your seeking. What are you in pursuit of? Are you seeking more comfort, more stuff? Or are you seeking Christ?
Please do not take this as a critical ire but a question of recalibration. I think we all get off-center from where Christ wants us to be. We start trying to hold it all up ourselves. Eventually, life pushes hard on one side or the other, and we fall. So I am looking at myself while my fingers type these words and ask: what am I seeking first?
Jeff Pitts is a church planter in Cleveland, TN. He loves his family, coffee, and NEEDTOBREATHE.