Keeping our balance
For many years I carried a photo of Olympic speed skater Eric Heiden in my Bible. Heiden won five gold medals in speed skating at the 1980 Winter Olympic Games in Lake Placid, N.Y.
The photo of Heiden was magnificent. He was competing on Olympic ice, turning the corner and his body was almost horizontal to the track, his arm outstretched to help maintain his control. In 1980, Heiden didn’t wipe out as he turned the bend. He was in perfect balance, speed in control, skating to win the gold medal. Victory!
I kept that photo to remind me of the importance of balance in my life. I can get out of whack in a nanosecond. Getting out of balance for me might be overworking, overeating, overspending, overdoing church work, overindulging in pleasures such as hobbies, reading, cooking and just being over, over and over the limit on just about anything. However, when it came to reading my Bible, praying, donating time to help others, etc., I usually didn’t go overboard there.
Like I said, balance can be lost in a nanosecond. Just ask a tightrope walker, or a balance-beam gymnast or Eric Heiden. A person can lose focus in the blink of an eye. Sometimes recovery is possible if negotiated quickly. If not, a fall is inevitable -- “the thrill of victory … and the agony of defeat,” as ABC sportscaster Jim McKay would say at the start of “Wide World of Sports.”
Culture brings imbalance, introducing more stuff, more information and more noise, spinning and spinning around us until our heads hurt. Our flesh desires to keep up and not be left behind or to have the latest stuff. My kids are grown and out of the house so I don’t even have all the kid stuff – school, sports, fashion, romance -- to try to keep up with. I blame Satan for prowling around and seeking whom he can get off balance by enticing our eyes to some pretty piece of eye candy or some fun and interesting diversion. Anything the old demon can do to get our eyes off Jesus, he’ll do.
As Christians, we know exactly when that nanosecond of imbalance occurs because the Holy Spirit checks us. Isaiah 30:21 is a marvelous verse: “And your ears will hear a word behind you, ‘This is the way, walk in it,’ whenever you turn to the right or to the left.’” If we stay in a close relationship with God by knowing His Word, communicating with Him in prayer and fellowshipping with other Christians, we will be able to hear any whispered command or correction. Any other way is second best and will put us off balance in a nanosecond.
Keeping the balance in our lives will help us finish well and know the thrill of victory. Press on to the finish line!