JUGGLING WITH FAITH
Do you know how to juggle? I mean literally, with objects? I learned basic juggling skills while taking an acting class in college, starting with scarves first and graduating on to bean bags and balls. No spinning plates or offers from Ringling Bros., but it’s a fun trick that the kids have always enjoyed seeing, I think especially when I drop a ball and we all laugh.
If only life was so light-hearted when we are metaphorically juggling all the things! Websters defines jug•gle, transitive verb: to handle or deal with usually several things (such as obligations) at one time so as to satisfy often competing requirements.
February traditionally has been a parenting juggle for me. I’m caught between remembering and celebrating my youngest daughter’s birthday, actively teaching the current school subjects, accomplishing the ministry and family work of the present, and planning with anticipation for future events–Easter, summer, and next school year’s courses. It’s a turning point month that can feel harried and rushed, with many opposing things clamoring for attention.
How interesting that this word, juggle, can also mean to practice deceit or trickery, something that the devil can sneak into our faith life when we are caught off guard during the busy-ness of parenting. I can just imagine the devil saying to me, “Did God really say you need to keep up the practice of Sabbath, even in a busy season? You have so much on your plate; just work a little harder to get that task done and you’ll feel satisfied and can rest.” It’s at these times I need Jesus and God’s Holy Spirit all the more to fill me with the strength to heed the words of 1 Peter 5:8: Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. The enemy is the original trickster.
However, if I ask my entire family to be alert and each put on the whole armor of God together, we suddenly have a whole team in place, handling the obligations and supporting one another. When we put time and emphasis on God’s kingdom first, all the things are added to us – the math doesn’t make sense, but with God all things are possible! We transition from a personal juggle to a group game which is uplifting and downright FUN as our families live life interdependently with the Holy Spirit. (If you’ve never done a group juggling game, try this one out with your family and some friends too).
So what should you do when parenting and LIFE seems to be a habitual juggle-struggle? Pause, pray, and call in the team to support. Are your kids too young for the job you’re wrestling with? Maybe ask for outside help. If you lean into community, you’ll find people willing to lend a hand. Seek discernment from your wisdom table. Find new sources of guidance when necessary! Or slow down a bit to teach a skill to your kids so that you can speed up later. (Chores are a fit for this strategy). Often, you need to set up a meeting with your executive team (I’m looking at you, parents) to strategize which ball is good to keep tossing in the mix, and which is deserving of retirement. You don’t need to stop the juggle, you just need to make it fun, feasible, and full of faith.
Most of all, juggle with BELIEF and confidence that God will show up EVERY TIME to catch the falling balls in your life. He won’t trick you or deceive you. He is trustworthy, and is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. It’s not a coincidence that God is a trinity–Father, Son, and Holy Spirit–powerful and able to help us juggle our three top priorities in life–faith, family, and vocation.
We pray February kicks off a strong and successful juggle of faith for all the families in our community!
Grace and peace,
February Epic Kids Unit Verse: