Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Not balance but it's a wheel that I want...

Too many times in my life I have veered and careened from one extreme to another in a misguided quest for stability. I latched onto the idea of balance and felt it to be a holy grail. Instead it became a self-centered seeking of having my cake and eating it too and feeling clean conscienced about the poundage I was putting onto the flesh, spiritually speaking.

Because my eyes were focused on the wrong goal, namely those things that pleased me and fit in with all the activities I had chosen to do, there was indeed a semblance of balance but not founded on truth. Balance became the perpetual plate juggler and spinner act.

A couple of years ago I was challenged by a godly teacher to reconsider the error of balance. Instead she suggested that I undertake the analogy of a wheel having Christ in the center or wheel hub and each spoke denoted a person or activity in my life. For example, the great man, the future greats, friends, social activities, hobbies and so on were all on spokes. At any given point because of the stress or deadlines or pressures incumbent to one of those spokes, the image becomes that of the particular spoke being pressed against the ground, or "the rubber hitting the road". But at no point is the wheel hub, Christ, to be displaced by one of the spokes. Just because one spoke at any point might need or require greater attention than another, there can be no reason to replace the wheel center, Christ. The spokes are intimately dependent upon the wheel hub to be held together and kept moving, in the right direction. A spoke might break and need repair, even strengthening, but if the wheel hub is replaced with less than perfect strength, then it affects all the other spokes adversely.

Right around the same time as receiving that analogy, I read on a blog a similar challenge--here I pause to apologize to the blogger who wrote this story because I do not have written down exactly where I saw this, but I believe it was Spunky Homeschool's blog so credit to her if it was there and my apologies if I have misplaced the credit.

"When our children were young, I made a wheel out of paper and put a round cog in the center and labeled it Christ. Shooting out from the center were spokes and at the end of each was an arch with the name of a family member. It was our 'family wheel'. When we all stayed in our appointed place, the wheel ran smoothly. But as it often happens, one of the spokes tries to place himself in the center of the wheel. At that time, anyone else was free to go up to the wheel and move Christ out of the center and place the name of the individual in the center. It quickly became obvious that the 'family wheel' was broken and needed fixing. It was at that point that we stopped what we were doing and sought to repair the wheel and the relationships."

These two challenges combined have been very helpful to me in evaluating myself and others on my own family wheel. In my own sin when I place myself in the center of the wheel, relationships suffer and need repair. Or when I place other things, people, activities in the center of the wheel, relationships suffer. And likewise, when other people place themselves in the center of the family wheel, it causes the rest of us to suffer.

So it is not balance that I seek but a Christ-centered family wheel.

Lord, forgive me for trying to be the center. Help me to forgive others for making themselves the center. Do not let me rest until only You are the center.

"The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot. The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance. I bless the Lord who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me. I have set the Lord before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure. For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption. You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore."

Psalm 16:5-11


  1. One of the most profound lessons I learned--and I think maybe it was Beth Moore who said it?--was that Christ doesn't want to be the most important part of your life, nor first in your life...He wants to be your LIFE! I was trying, like you, to achieve some semblance of balance, all the while regulating my relationship with Jesus over there in the religious area and pretty much keeping the rest of life right where I wanted it. I claimed that Jesus was the most important part, but the problem was, He was only a part!

    Beautifully expressed, as have such a gift with words!

  2. I really like the wheel analogy. I find myself migrating toward the center too often in my thinking. You're right, only when Christ is the hub will the wheel work. Thanks for a thought-provoking post!

  3. Oh wow. I love visual analogies and this is a great one. Every facet of our life must be anchored in Christ and spread out from Him. Beautiful!