Have you ever seen that novelty act where a person spins plates on top of long sticks? Typically there is a line of at least 4 or 5 sticks and the performer sets a plate atop one at a time and as they all get to spinning the performer begins running between them in a harried manner to keep them all moving. Turning the plate at one end and the stick and plate at the far end will begin to falter and tip, he'll run to rescue it and not another moment passes before trouble rises for another stick and plate.
Sometimes that picture seems like a perfect metaphor for life. I know I have felt an awful lot like that many times, especially lately. I've only ever seen two endings to that kind of show. The performer either finally removes each plate from its perch, usually with a sweeping bow, or some or all of the plates and sticks come crashing down. And I notice whichever the end result may be, the "performer" is tired and worn.
I've been "spinning plates" lately. I'm working hard at dieting and losing weight, I want to be having a great solid and consistent devotional and prayer time, I'm trying to be a good wife, mom, homemaker, spending time with my husband, each of my kids, keeping house, cooking meals, doing a good job at work, oh and those writing aspirations which include my books and my blogs... spin, spin, spin.
I'm exhausted, and plates are tipping and crashing all around.
I feel like the Lord has been talking about needing to focus. Think of it, if there was only one stick, one plate, a person could stand there and keep it spinning for quite a long time, and with not much effort at all.
One plate, one stick. And I feel like the Lord has even directed what each one is: love and worship. That's where my focus needs to be. Honestly the two are so closely related, I'm not sure which is the plate and which is the stick. But maybe that's the point, maybe they are so connected they will work like a single unit, moving at my will.
This is what I know: the Bible says that Love alone is the most definitive mark of a Christ follower. Jesus said we would be known by our love, our love for Him and our love for others. Worship is an overflow and an outward expression of our love for God, not only when we express it directly toward Him, but also when we express it toward others, in any number of ways: service, generosity, compassion, forgiveness, just to name a few.
I am tired from the running between self-imposed standards and expectations, duties and demands, effort and ideals. It's time to focus solely on love and worship. The one question to ask, "Am I loving?" I must remember love is an action not a feeling and continually choose to love, doing that is in itself an act of worship. Beyond that I need to look and remember at Jesus and His cross, take in again the expression of love there. When my eyes are fixed there I cannot help but worship, and when I truly worship, I cannot help but love.