Sometimes life and ministry feels a little like this picture. Trying to balance the two precariously on top of one another, hoping the wind won't topple it all over one day
I remember once as a student at ASU our friend Emily showed us this video clip of a man trying to spin plates on poles. He would spin one plate and then go to the next and do the same. However, in order to keep the plates spinning he'd have to keep going back to each plate again and again. Exhausting work, and in the end the plates always end up falling anyway.
From what I remember, the plates represented our tasks and responsibilities. Somewhere along the line we decide that God can't do all this on His own, that He needs our help if He's ever going to get anything done around here. So we began taking on burdens and responsibilities to "help Him out." Burdens and responsibilities that our not ours and that He's never asked us to carry.
In life I have the tendency to "spin plates." I create busy work for myself to help justify my presence and create for myself some sort of man-made identity. I "spin plates" to try and gain worth and value. It's funny though, because whether I have a roomful of plates or just one plate I still find myself spinning them and becoming completly exhausted in the process. I know that this is not God's way of doing things. He has never asked me to spin these plates. He gives me responsibilities and asks me to be faithful to things He's called me to, no more, no less. Yet, I find myself constantly worrying about all the things I cannot control.
The ministry at SDSU this semester has been so encouraging. Both men and women are growing in their walk with God, their vulnerability with each other, and their perseverance to press on despite set-backs. However, somedays all I see are the ways that I supposedly have failed them. The "what-ifs" and 'if-onlys" sneek in and I begin to doubt whether God is really using me.
The semester is coming to a close quickly. I want to savor these last few weeks, instead of wasting my time worrying about them. I want to learn how to serve these students, not fix them. To love them where they are, and not push them to where I think they should be. To challenge them in what God's leading me to tell them without feeling like I'm failing if they're not ready to listen. I want to stop pretending I have any kind of control and just let the Holy Spirit do His work. Most of all, I want to pray like I've never prayed before. Because I feel only then will I see my plate spinning act as what it really is...an exhausting performance to an empty room.
1 Peter 5:7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
Ps 55:22 Cast your burden upon the LORD and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.
Mat 11:30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."