I’ve always been one that thrives with multiple plates in the air. The focus, concentration, and frankly – control, that comes from ‘doing everything’ provides a level of energy that I can’t get from anything else. Not even coffee. Ask me to do a project and I have started it before you have even finished explaining what you need. Need someone to show up for you? No problem. I don’t have time – but I’ll make it. Or I will find the time.
The most exhilarating part of the busyness – not letting any of the plates drop.
This level of focus and multi-tasking takes every bone in your body and every fiber of your brain. I have often heard it described as a juggling-act. Your job is to figure out which balls can bounce while you keep the glass balls in the air.
That has been my life.
Now after reading that you fall into two camps. On one side of the road, you are now utterly and completely stressed out and wondering how someone can thrive like that. Or you are on the other side of the road and you relate 100% to the chaos of life.
Living alone without anyone needing or depending on me, I have found that I am acutely aware at how often I find my value in how many plates I have in the air.
That can be exhausting. In fact, just like you can only run as far as your endurance will take you; I can only keep the plates in the air for so long until I am flat worn out. When the plates start dropping, my world feels like it is crumbling around me. Why? Because I depend on those plates in the air to fulfill me.
Growing up, when the plates would fall, I would make excuses like:
- “I need to take a nap.”
- “Maybe, I should eat something.”
- “I’ve just been working a lot and am stressed.”
In Haggai 1:3-6 God sends a message to the Israelites asking them “consider what you are doing!”
Now, the first thought you probably have is… umm, did you say Haggai? Yes, I did. A tiny two-chapter book in the middle of the Bible has completely wrecked my world for the last six months. The Holy Spirit has been using it to teach me to focus on Him. I had to take a hard look at what was happening around me. Self-examine my heart to reveal the idols that had formed.
I had been spinning my wheels trying to keep every plate in the air failing to realize what I was doing.
I focused on everyone’s perception of me to fulfill so many longings in my heart.
Just like the Israelites had failed to hear God’s command to rebuild the temple, I had failed to hear God nudge me sweetly, “consider what you are doing, Abby. Focus on me.” They had allowed their sin and their idols to place a wedge between them and God (Isaiah 59:2).
But the most powerful thing about Jesus is that He is faithful to redeem if you recognize your lack of focus and repent. He knows we are incapable of following Him on our own. Haggai not only wanted the Israelites to put God first but to keep Him at the center, at the foundation, of every part of their life.
God wanted me to focus more on Him, then on the plates. He wants to help us avoid getting distracted and remain faithful in obedience. Psalm 95:7-8 tells us that if God is speaking to you, do not delay obedience. We should desire to be in the presence of God more than anything else because He is in control.
So just like I had to let some plates fall so I could really focus on God – what do you need to say no to? What do you need to allow God to take control of? Maybe there is a dream, a desire, a relationship you need to hand over to Him and let Him lead?
Whatever it is you have been focusing on and allowing a little idol to be formed, we serve a God that is faithful. We serve a God with open arms saying, Yup! I’m here and I’m waiting – can I take that off your plate?
Let your hearts be pointed back to Him and be reminded that we cannot live in our own strength or our own abilities. We are broken. But in our brokenness, Jesus gets to do what only He can do! Put us back together.