By Contributing Writer, Yvonne Harink
My daughters love to walk the fence lines around our sheep corals, using them as balance beams. While they think this is quite a feat, their older brother tells them that it’s nothing like walking up on the rafters of the new house he’s building.
This led us to a discussion: What is it that helps us keep our balance? Is it the fluid in our ears? Do we have to swing our arms? Is it all in the head? We came to the conclusion that it has everything to do with not thinking about it too much, not looking down, and not focusing on ourselves.
Don’t you ever have the feeling that your life is much like walking on that balance beam? If you’ve ever watched Fiddler on the Roof, don’t you feel like that Fiddler, precariously perched on the ridge? Your job is to keep standing, and to not drop off either to the right or to the left, to pitch into the depths below.
Life for a home schooling mother of a large family can feel like a constant juggling act. There are so many things we have to think of and balance out in our lives. In order to keep the beauty, order, peace, harmony, and rhythm in our lives, we have to keep a lot of things in mind. I could start to list them:
I need to keep the budget balanced. Are we spending more than we are earning? Are we allocating funds for giving, recreation, food, utilities, etc. appropriately?
Are we keeping to a schedule? Are my routines balanced? Do we have a time to work and a time to play? A time to rest and a time to visit? Are we guarding our Sabbath rest and scheduling our time around it?
Am I serving my family a balanced diet, with the right proportion of proteins, oils, fruits, vegetables, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals?
Am I spending enough time with my spouse? Am I actually connecting with each of my children? What about my parents? My family? My church family? Friends? Neighbors?
Are we just focusing on the subjects we enjoy? Are we getting so specialized that we don’t see the whole, balanced picture anymore? Are we starting to glimpse the overall storyline of life, and feel how Jesus Christ is the central thread who gives meaning to every single piece of information?
We all have marvelous brains. Are we teaching to a balance of right brain and left brain activities? What about verbal, as well as nonverbal, linear as well as holistic, analytical as well and synthetic, logical as well as intuitive, digital as well as spacial?
The Whole Person
I have to remember that my children are not made up of brains. For our whole life we consist of body, heart, soul and mind. It helps to think of the wise words of Charlotte Mason: “Just remember every day to give your children something to do, something to think about, and someone to love.” In doing this, we are engaging and forming a whole, balanced person.
Having made my list, am I ready to walk the tightrope of life? Just thinking about it has made me glance down. I start to see the abyss below. There are times when I think I can actually walk, but then come the times of discouragement; the times in the middle of the night, when Satan beckons and tempts me to look down. He chides, “You are losing it! You are not balanced at all. You are all skewed, crooked and warped. You are not prepared for life, and your children will all be misfits. You’ll never make it.”
A sickening, paralyzing fear sets in. It’s true. I’ve been weighed in the balance and found wanting. If I’m honest with myself, I know that, though I can make all the lists in the world, I just can’t walk alone. I’ll be stumbling along in the dark. I’ll lose my equilibrium and come crashing down into the depths. I need to remember every day to hold the hand that the Lord extends. Just as Jesus used Scripture to fight Satan, it is our tool too! I need to remember all the promises of God:
- “When I thought, “My foot slips, thy steadfast love, O Lord, held me up.” (Ps. 94: 18)
- “But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” (Is. 40:31)
- “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make straight your paths”. (Prov. 3:5)
- “Thou hast been my help and in the shadow of thy wings I sing for joy.” (Ps. 63:7)
- But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well. Therefore, do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself.” (Matt. 33,34)
No one can walk the balance beam of life alone. But, we don’t have to, as our faithful God has promised to always be there for us. His hand is stretched out; we walk in the shadow of his wings. His safety net is spread all around us. As long as we take the focus off ourselves, and keep our sights on Him, we’ll keep walking and even flying. Praise God from whom all blessings flow.