We’ve seen the act. One person. Multiple sticks each holding a spinning plate in the air. We watch in anticipation to see if the person can keep the plates spinning knowing that one small mistake could send a plate, or all of them, crashing to the floor.
For years now, I have used the image of ‘Spinning Plates’ to describe the many things in life that I feel responsible for. I have a plate for my faith, my marriage, and my kids. I even have plates for the daily tasks that need to get done and for the relationships that I maintain. Plates can come and go, but on a daily basis, I am responsible for keeping the plates spinning. There are times when I have too many plates to spin, and inevitably, one goes crashing to the ground. You can imagine the emotions that accompany the crash. Sometimes it’s frustration. Sometimes it’s sadness. Sometimes it’s shame or guilt. After all, that plate was my responsibility! At least, that’s what I tell myself.
I have come to realize recently that I have been allowing myself to live into an unhealthy, unrealistic image of living life. There are many things wrong with the analogy of ‘plate spinning’. It implies that I am the only one that keeps the plate spinning and keeps the plate from shattering. How much pressure do I put on myself to keep everything going? If I drop my ‘family’ plate, my kids will shatter. If I drop the ‘finances’ plate, then what do I do? If something doesn’t get done correctly or on time…the plate falls to the ground. I broke it. This is SO prideful! This doesn’t allow space for God to work, or for others to step in and help. When do I rest? When do I trust? This way of living life is not the way that God invites us to live.
Maybe you’re like me and you’re a ‘plate spinner’? Can we reframe this picture with the image that God is the One that keeps the plates spinning? Or that His watchful hand is there to catch it when it does fall? (Because let’s be honest…plates WILL fall!) Or better yet, trust in God’s word that says that we are to cast all of cares on Him, and trust that no matter how many plates we have, that God cares more about those plates than we do. All we have to do is keep our eyes on Him, and He alone will determine what happens with the plates. No more spinning. Just let God take the plates.
I don’t want to be a plate spinner anymore. I don’t want to be anxious and running around like crazy trying to keep it all together. I want to set my eyes on Jesus. I want to live at His pace and do the work that He has called me to. I want to be in the moment with Jesus, trusting that His pace is the only one that matters.
Matthew 6:33-34 ‘Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow brings its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.