The garage at Safe Haven Farm, Haven, KS

Living off balance will leave you with bloody knees

I like to think of myself as a coordinated person, even though that’s not actually the case. But, I mean, I’m not clumsy. Not usually, but something interesting happened last night as I was getting home. It had been a long day. I’d gotten done running the lyrics program for my church’s band rehearsal around 8pm, so that meant I was pulling into my driveway about 9pm. I hadn’t slept well the night before, and it had been a long day–a good day but long.

I got out of my car and grabbed my empty lunch bag, my coffee cup, and my backpack. I travel with a large backpack that has my life in it. All my tech. Everything. It’s pretty heavy, but I would rather haul one big bag around than to have to juggle three or four smaller ones. I went to shut the garage door and I looked up to see a wasp hovering directly over my head.

I don’t really worry about stinging insects, but they do tend to love getting stuck in my hair. So I twisted to push the garage door button as I stepped out onto the concrete pad in front of the garage (the only concrete on my whole five acres, really), and somehow my foot got crooked in my right shoe. They’re wedge looking clog things that you slide into. If it had been a flip-flop, it wouldn’t have been a problem, but twisting around when your dominant foot is wobbly will probably cause problems. And then factor in that I’ve got a coffee mug and a lunch bag in one hand, my keys in the other, and a fifteen-pound backpack. See where I’m going?

Yeah, I hit the ground. Hard. Landed square on both knees. Scraped up both of the tops of my feet, because the horrid shoes came off as I fell. But that was as far as it went. I got my coordination back fast enough to be able to sit up before I bashed my nose into the concrete. I had my more durable work trousers on, so they didn’t tear or anything, but I did bloody my knees up through the fabric. And one of the scrapes on my foot actually bled quite a bit. I was proud of myself. I don’t fall very often, but when I do, I want to do right!

But I got to thinking about the whole situation this morning. If I hadn’t been off balance, would I have fallen at all? I mean, I might have stumbled. But falling is a different level of being off balance. It meant there was something on me that got out of whack (the backpack) and when the wasp startled me I couldn’t compensate correctly because the off-balance weight threw me off. And I fell.

The garage at Safe Haven Farm, Haven, KS

The garage at Safe Haven Farm, Haven, KS

Today’s verses are James 1:5-8.

If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.

This is one of the verses that came to mind when I thought about trying to live a balanced life. I’m sure that there are probably some better ones in Ecclesiastes, but (quite honestly) I didn’t have time this morning to go digging for them. And actually this wasn’t what I was planning to blog about. But if you read verse 8 in the Amplified Version, it comes off a little differently:

[For being as he is] a man of two minds (hesitating, dubious, irresolute), [he is] unstable and unreliable and uncertain about everything [he thinks, feels, decides].

Can you identify with being “of two minds”? Like you just can’t decide? That’s easy in our world today, at least in America. We have so many choices. We have so many options. There are so many roads you can take, how can you choose exactly which one is the right one? And that thinking can easily translate into our walk with God. Because if there are so many options in our “real” lives, surely God would offer us as many choices in our spiritual lives, right?

Well, that’s not always the case. But that’s a topic for another blog. The point here is that you can’t straddle the fence. A lot of people try, but eventually your life will come down to a point where you fall off. You can’t live for Christ and live for the world at the same time. You just can’t. Again, you can try, but you’ll reach a point in life where you’ll stumble and you’ll be so off balance you won’t be able to catch yourself, and then you’ll have worse injuries to show for it than two bloody, scraped up knees.

Make up your mind. That’s what I always think when I read this verse. Be decisive. Choose a side. Because if you don’t choose a side, you’re going to be unstable. If you don’t choose a side, you’re going to be a liability to both–or you’ll be trapped in the middle where you’ll never be effective because no one will able to trust you. Follow God or don’t. But whatever you do, do something real.

Our world suffers from a lack of decisiveness in general, so it’s easy to stand out if you have a made-up mind. God isn’t is a God of indecision. He’s a God of clarity, of certainty, of stability, and if you’ve really made up your mind to follow Him, those traits will eventually show in your own life. Because even when you aren’t clear or certain or stable, God is.