If our culture says we should have a plate spinning, then we start one spinning!
My wife and I visited our son and his family recently. One morning while we were there, my son was entertaining our 18 month old grandson Jack (that’s him and I pictured here), by getting several wooden rings spinning on the floor at once. And when all the rings were spinning, he was truly mesmerized.
Eventually my son became weary with the exercise and tried to quit. However, when he went to get up off the floor, Jack expressed his obvious displeasure. He liked the spinning toys and the more the better. So my son plopped back onto the floor and began spinning again.
It reminded me of our world. We have to have a lot of plates spinning and we have to keep all of them spinning all of the time. Our culture tells us that we need to put in endless hours to be a success. We need to keep the fire burning. Burn the midnight oil. Burn the candle at both ends. We have smart phones that keep us connected at all times, and 5G networks that keep us in touch wherever we are. Our culture teaches us that our kids need stimulation from every activity possible, and that we are selfish and bad parents if we don’t get them to those activities. There is no time to think—no time to stop—and certainly no time to rest. And we are considered lazy and worthless if we don’t buy in and keep all of our plates spinning.
God’s Word seems to go against what are fast becoming expected cultural behaviors. It talks about a Sabbath rest. It challenges success power and wealth perspectives and suggests a simple contented existence is the ideal place for peace and happiness to thrive. Check out Philippians 4:12 (NLT) where the Apostle Paul says:
"I have learned the secret of living in every situation."
As I watched my grandson’s toys spinning and my son frantically trying to make sure none of them stopped, I knew what the problem was…boundaries. You see, he had gotten several toys going and had to keep them all in motion. And as he did, he was frenzied. Jack would have probably been fine with one. A healthy boundary of one, rather than six, would have alleviated a lot of stress.
I have discovered that people really don’t know what a healthy boundary is or how to set one. If our culture says we should have a plate spinning, we start one spinning. If it tells us another should be spinning we also comply…and then another, and another and another.
If we are grounded in our relationship with God and discerningly knowledgeable of His Word, our ability to know what plates we should have spinning and what ones we shouldn’t, will be evident to us.
Here's a little exercise you can do today. List the plates you have spinning right now. Cross out those you could stop and those God would have you stop. Then breathe!