Monday, March 7, 2011

Forgetting How to Juggle by Katherine Averill

We’re a generation that loves juggling.

Wait… I feel like I should clarify: I’m not talking about actual juggling. Real juggling is straight voodoo magic. What I’m talking about is life-juggling.

Come on, people—I know you’ve all heard this somewhat cheesy analogy before. Just as the voodoo-juggler wows his or her audience by making multiple similar objects synchronize swim through the air in a never-ending cycle, we take on so many projects/responsibilities/commitments that balancing them all truly becomes a work of magic.

And our generation is awesome at it. Sure, life-juggling can drain us of free time, consistent sleep and flexibility—but, while some may avoid the profession, most of us have done it since high school, if not as early as middle school. For years, we’ve balanced jobs and education and relationships and extracurricular activities and service and hobbies like our lives depend on it.

But why do we devote so much time and energy to juggling? For some, we find worth in juggling (the more I do, the better I feel—rather be busy than bored). For others, we’re motivated to juggle (more extra-curricular activities/experience, the better chance we have at getting the scholarship/job).

For me, it was both.

During the winter semester of my junior year of college, I had perfected my life-juggling skills. I was working a nice part-time job that fit perfectly in between the 18 credits of classes I was taking. My first internship in my field of study was going wonderfully, and I had somehow managed to get involved in both worship and high school ministries at my church. Add a social life and a high school sweetheart, and my juggling wasn’t missing a beat.

But then one day—out of nowhere—I forgot how to juggle. I went to class to learn one of my midterms had completely bombed. Then, as I left that class, I got a voicemail from my internship boss saying I had made a massive mistake on a project and the first person to catch it was a livid customer. By the time I got home, there was an email waiting for me that outlined my mistake and had my whole department cc’d on it.

It was awful. I was upset, embarrassed and confused. How could this happen? I didn’t miss beats. I was awesome at juggling. But I failed—and I felt worthless because of it. So, I did what any self-respecting young woman would do.

I called my mom in tears. And you know what my wise mother said to me? “Maybe God let this happen to you so that you would slow down enough to realize what He’s been trying to teach you.”

And she was right. After I took a breath, the message finally came through: While the act of juggling hadn’t been wrong, I had made juggling an idol by giving it too much significance in my life. Over the next few weeks, God reminded me of two very important truths:

Our Self-Worth should be found in our Relationship with God

When we entered into a redemptive relationship with Jesus Christ, our identities changed. We became God’s children (1 John 3:1-2; 4:7) because of His great love for us (Eph. 2:4-5). And this love is not a conditional love based on our successes or our abilities (Jer. 31:3); in fact, God cared for us and knew us intimately before we were even born (Psalm 139). It is in this knowledge that we should find our worth; we were nothing and, because of God’s love, we are now co-heirs with Christ (Rom. 8:17)!

Our Motivation should be God’s Love

Because it was God’s great love that gives us our self-worth, then His love should motivate us to bring Him glory. Just as Paul was compelled by Christ’s love to engage in ministry (2 Cor. 5:14), everything we do should be to glorify the one who has shown such great love to us (1 Cor. 10:31). If our goal is to glorify God, then we’re engaging in missions rather than self-reliance.

So, my fellow life-jugglers, I close with this challenge: When you engage in life-juggling, remain rooted to the above truths so that, if a ball does eventually drop, you can remember where your true self-worth is found.

(BLOGGER'S NOTE - Yes, I am allowed to have a guest blogger. Yes, I added the picture without telling her. And no, that's not a picture of Katherine! I hope you enjoyed my daughter's blog that she wrote for a twenty-something ministry blog of RBC...)


  1. Smiling!! As I was reading, I found myself thinking hmmmm...this doesn't sound quite like Kristen's voice...yet it does sound like her in some spots. Thought the part about being a jr. in college with a high school sweetheart must have been a typo since you were married by then. Got to the bottom and ahaaaaa! The apple doesn't fall far from the tree. Great post Katherine!

  2. Just noticed the title and by Katherine Averill! Missed that the first time around!

  3. I have been listening to Nancy Leigh DeMoss' series on priorities on Revive our Hearts and this post goes right along with that.

    Thanks Katherine! This was a very encouraging post. :)

  4. Mmm...drew me right into the love of my Savior, Katherine, and inspired me to love Him in return, just like your mom's writing does. Full of wisdom and insight too, wonderful post Katherine!

    Enjoyed very much, Mom!