This Gift of Plate Twirling

bigstock-Plates-Spinning-on-Sticks-49069412Sometimes we surprise ourselves with our talents. You know, the ones that kind of creep up out of nowhere—and you’re really good at. Like, realizing you can rock a hula hoop, or that you have a natural gift for baking that no one taught you. Or, plate twirling. I’m totally awesome at that.

I’ll bet you are too. Only you don’t even see all those plates in the air you’ve been managing for the last (insert number of years you’ve had children) years. We moms wrote the manual on plate twirling, and have the fewest number of breakages worldwide. Seriously, I’ve done the research online.

So, this explains—doesn’t it—why we’re so exhausted? All these plates constantly spinning in mid-air can wear a girl down over time. Until we finally realize what is going on.

Last week, I walked away from my plates. These things I’ve been terrified of letting even wobble, I let them drop.

Just. Like. That.

And you know what? The earth did not tilt one degree off normal that day. In fact, my world appeared normal for once. I stepped off the stage, and decided that I’m only going back when God firmly places me on it himself. And I think I heard my family breathe a collective sigh of relief.

Because I realized that in all this plate twirling, and scheduling craziness, and worry about getting everything done, I’m actually missing time to do the one thing I know that God’s called me to do. And when we do that, we aren’t honoring him, or impressing him, or anyone else with our prowess of abilities.

We’re simply failing to do what he’s asked.

A wise friend guided me through this (aren’t they the best kind?) and her words have stuck in my mind ever since. “When we continue to do something that we dread doing for God, it’s because he’s lifted his grace from it.”

Whoa, sister.

Did you get that? Have you been there too? Begrudging the very thing you sign up to do for his kingdom? Wishing your turn to serve the nursery, or usher, or even lead bible study was over? Then, feeling guilty every single second for even thinking that way? All the while pretending to be a cheerful giver, as if God can’t see through to the truth.

But, consider this: maybe you feel that way because it should be over. Maybe it was just one step of obedience in what God has called you to do. And, continuing to do it out of obligation feels awful because his grace has been removed.

The grace that blesses our offerings of service. The grace that fills us with joy to serve. The grace that allows us room to do our very best.

You see, often we agree to things in ministry simply because we’re asked, without realizing it’s not where God wants us. And we agree to do good things—in the church and elsewhere—and assume that it is right, because it serves the body of Christ. But, that’s not always true. We have to be more careful of the plates we put out to spin. We have to make certain that the one asking us to do it is God. Otherwise, we’re not only not doing what he wants, but we’re possibly taking an opportunity that he’s meant for another.

In our agreement to serve, we need to ask ourselves: are we leaving room for God to place us where he wants us? Or, are we saying yes to so many plates that we can’t step away from them to do what he would have us do, for fear of the others falling?

How many plates are you twirling right now? Which one’s turn is it to drop?

1 Comment

  1. Love the line “pretending to be a cheerful giver, as if God can’t see through to the truth.” How funny we are to even think we can fool him. I started putting down all my plates about two years ago. Yes, it took me two years to un-do all the myriad of things I had committed to doing. But now, looking back, I am amazed. Amazed at the difference it makes. I am so much happier, so much less resentful, so much less forgetful and much more available to my kids. All because I am living a life that honors God and makes me happy. And when you do this, you have room in your life to be a cheerful giver.

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