On our recent trip to Pigeon Forge, Jason and I spent about half a day at Dollywood. We arrived early (before the park even opened), rode the rides we wanted to ride, browsed a few shops and left before the surge of traffic we were sure would come in after 3:00 due to the park's "come in after 3:00, get in the next day free" offer. We managed to get quite a few things packed into hours we were there, and a large chunk of that time was spent on Adventure Mountain.
For those of you who haven't been to Dollywood recently, let me describe Adventure Mountain. It is a challenging two-acre course where adventurers traverse obstacles including narrow rails, swinging beams, suspension bridges, flying islands, and a tire traverse. In one portion, adventurers traverse these obstacles through an array of erupting geysers. The course is laid out with variations for each crossing ranging from easy to expert, and crossings range from those that are merely a few inches off the ground to those 26-feet off the ground. It truly offers an adventure for the entire family. . . and a great challenge for those of us who are afraid of heights and are accompanying our fearless husbands.
Jason's goal throughout the entire course (and we were there for over an hour) was to choose the most difficult crossing at every turn. My goal was to survive. I confess that for the majority of the course, I chose the solid bridges and stairways, but occasionally I was ambitious and climbed a rope ladder or crossed a swinging bridge. My greatest feat, I must admit was an accident. It looked a little challenging, but it was only after I had started across that I realized I had picked the most challenging crossing. It was much harder than it looked. Picture it -- two ropes stretched taut, spaced about ten inches apart and spanning approximately twenty feet, with a single rope above to hold to for support. My dilemma came when I realized that the ropes weren't as taut as I had supposed, and I found my feet drifting apart and my body settling into a rather uncomfortable split. It took SEVERAL minutes after that crossing for my heart to settle down enough to allow me to "be bold" again. (Even then, I wasn't really THAT bold.)
As I traversed narrow beams and climbed swinging ropes, one thought kept running through my brain -- I need to work on my balance. Yes, my teetering and tottering reminded me that my balance and coordination were not all that they should be. The funny thing is that I've come to the same realization in my everyday life. With writing, teaching, housework, family obligations, church obligations, exercising, daily time with the Lord, and so on, I often feel like a dog chasing its tail. Some days I feel pulled in so many different directions, I literally get dizzy. Where do I begin? How do I get it all done? If I can't get it all done today (which I never can), what HAS to be done and what can be added to tomorrow's to-do list? How do I accomplish all that needs to be done and still have enough energy to play with my dogs or go on a date with my husband? It all comes down to balance.
Life is a balancing act. There will always be more to do than there is time to do it. That's just the way things go, but it is possible to find peace in the midst of the balancing act. The key is to hand our agendas to God and say, "Would you take a look at this and let me know where I need to make changes?" You may be amazed at what God will add or take off. I know I have been. But I also know that by turning my obligations over to Him, I get much more accomplished and feel much less stressed. I only wish I would remember that on the days obligations overwhelm me to the point that I can think of nothing else.
So, how's your balance today? Are you struggling to find time for work and play, family and friends, God and self? If so, first know that you are in good company. Second, know that God can help clear your calendar and give you the strength to accomplish the tasks that are left. But you have to give Him control. I know it's hard, but I've seen for myself that it's certainly worth it. And it doesn't even involve uncomfortable splits!