Tightrope walkers have always fascinated me. Their mental strength and ability to fight against nature itself is astounding. The key to tightrope walking is effectively maintaining your center of mass directly over the rope. This can be done more readily with bent, slightly bowed knees because the closer you are to the rope the harder it is to fall. Imagine a tall, slender vase versus a short, stout one. The short, stout one is going to be more difficult to knock over when the same force is applied to both vases.
In this same way, there are precautions that we need to take and heart adjustments we need to make each and everyday in order to walk more closely with Christ. Our natural nature and tendency is sin. We must focus and recenter our lives on Christ in order to stay zeroed in on living for Jesus and loving others in his name.
Another competing element of tightrope walking is that the natural tendency of the rope or wire is to slightly twist with every step taken. The tightrope walker has to apply what is known as “rotational inertia,” or positioning oneself to fight against the rotational force of the rope. This is a hidden element that many people do not realize as spectators, but makes tightrope walking all the more difficult.
As moms, we have daily external struggles and challenges; laundry, the dishes, cooking dinner, cleaning the house, picking up toys, feeding the kids, and many more “to-do’s.” Maintaining a lifestyle of balance and not becoming mentally overwhelmed used to be a huge challenge for me personally. It made me a very snappy, rushed person, unable to offer my presence in full, or enjoy God’s peace in my life. My life was like a ticking clock, revolving around my daily external duties, while inside my heart was crying out for Jesus. It wasn’t until one of my best friends invited me to be a part of her women’s Bible study that the vicious cycle was broken. I began to get into God’s Word and the Lord softened my heart and enabled me to realize that although my housework chores were being checked off in stride, inside I was totally broken and in need of the presence of Jesus to rejuvenate my weary soul. As I focused more of my time in God’s Word and committed myself to daily prayer my anxiousness subsided and I was able to go about living with the peace of God’s presence alive and flourishing in me.
As moms, we build up these ideas in our minds that we have to be perfect, each and every day. We push ourselves to our breaking points in terms of performance as mothers and wives. This is simply not the way we are meant to live our lives. It is okay to smell the roses and realize God’s goodness, and spend time with him everyday. In fact, it is good. Time spent with the Lord is not a chore, but rather a blessing and priority we get to experience daily as Christ followers.
God’s Word encourages and inspires us to be more like Jesus. If you are not currently in God’s Word consistently, I encourage you to do so. But might I warn you, it will change you. It will change the way you think and act. It might even get in the way of you accomplishing every single task on your to do list. The Word of God will well up inside of you and convict you to apologize and seek God’s forgiveness for things you could have otherwise easily concealed. It will tug on your heart and ask you to help when you see a mother kneeling down on the sidewalk with her daughter covered in bodily fluids. It will inspire you to encourage that mom in the checkout line at the grocery store whose child is throwing a hysterical temper tantrum. God’s Word will change you, and it may not be convenient, but it will be rewarding. You might not win the lottery, get the raise, or experience the sudden heart change of that family member you have been fervently praying for, but God notices your diligence when you love and live from his Word. He is storing up for you treasures in Heaven.
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21
We need to be more concerned with the eternal and internal conditions of our hearts rather than our external appearances. Facebook and Instagram lie like dogs in terms of representing real life and what really matters to Jesus. A recent study reported that one in three teen girls have escalated body image issues because of Instagram. The study suggested that there are connections between Instagram and teen anxiety and depression. Having a little girl, this breaks my mama heart! It makes me want to closely monitor my kids' screens when they are older. Although these statistics are for teens, I cannot help but realize that Facebook and Instagram most certainly have had these same detrimental effects on some moms.
Before you start scrolling through Facebook or Instagram, I encourage you to download and read the “First Five” app. It is an app created by Proverbs 31 Ministries that provides a five minute daily devotional and reading from God’s Word. We need to be doing things that fill us and not drain us as mothers. We need to edify our hearts and minds daily.
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2
Making heart filling choices with our time in the everyday moments of life is a discipline of a godly woman that we need to adopt! It does not come naturally, but much like tightrope walking, we have to take conscious steps to do things that will fill our cups each day. In this way we can recenter our minds on Christ’s likeness and uplift our hearts spiritually and emotionally. The rotational inertia of the tightrope beneath our feet is similar to the world’s ability to creep in and tell us what to think, how to feel, and to act on our emotions. We must fight against this oppositional tendency in order to live full lives that are centered on Christ.