April 5, 2005
Encouragement for Today
“Keeping Your Feet Under You”
Glynnis Whitwer, Senior Editor P31 Woman, Proverbs 31 Ministries Speaker Team Member, firstname.lastname@example.org
Colossians 1:16-17, “For by Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” (NIV)
I took my first and last step aerobics class six years ago. My family had just moved to North Carolina and I joined the YMCA. After six months of exercise on the elliptical machine, I thought I was ready for the next step up, which in my mind was a beginning step class. What I learned is they need a “sub-beginner” class for some of us.
The class started out fine. The pace was slow, and I could understand her directions. I was stepping up and to the left, and I even figured out the grapevine step. Then the teacher had us do a fancy step. With our hands on our hips, we jumped and pointed our right toe forward, and then left, then right, then left. We alternated our feet faster and faster.
For the briefest of moments, I felt like a graceful Irish step dancer on Riverdance, with Michael Flatley by my side. My feet were flying. But I made a grave tactical error - I looked down to admire them. Unfortunately when I did, my feet flew out from under me, and my arms flailed in circles as I desperately tried to regain my balance. All the arm flapping in the world didn’t help as I tumbled to the ground, flat on my bottom.
I wasn’t hurt, and hoped to quietly and quickly rejoin the class … but that was not to be. The petite, fit leader on the microphone kindly asked: “Did you just fall? Are you ok?” However, in my mind it sounded like a slow and extremely loud bullhorn: D–i-i-i-i-d-d-d-d Y-o-o-o-o-u-u-u-u J-u-u-u-u-s-s-s-t-t-t F-a-a-a-l-l-l-l? A-a-a-a-a-r-r-r-r-e-e-e-e Y-o-o-o-o-u-u-u-u O-o-o-o-o-k-k-k-k-k-k?
I nodded yes, as every lovely Southern head in the room turned to see my disgrace.
What went wrong? Two things:
- I shouldn’t have looked at my feet to admire them. I should have kept my eyes focused on the instructor. I could have patterned my step to hers. It would have helped me stay with the beat. Instead, looking down threw me off balance.
- I wasn’t able to keep up that fast of a pace. As a beginner, I could have stepped in half time, or taken little steps to the side. But I wanted to keep up with all the other women in the room. I didn’t want to admit my limitations. . . that I wasn’t ready to step that fast. . . that I don’t have as good balance as others. I just couldn’t maintain that pace.
What an accurate correlation to how many of our lives get out of balance. We’re racing around, trying to do what other people make look simple, yet we get knocked to the ground, out of the race and frustrated that we can’t keep up the pace that everyone else seems to be maintaining with ease.
I believe the two reasons I fell in my attempt to be an Irish Step Dancer in the middle of a YMCA Step Class, are the same two reasons many women find themselves stumbling through life with things out of balance.
We take our eyes off the Instructor, who in our case is Jesus Christ.
We attempt to do more things or different things than we are supposed to do, and in doing so we lose sight of our priorities. I should have slowed down, I should have focused on what I could do … on what I was able to do … instead of trying to do what everyone else was doing.
To keep my feet underneath me, I need to keep my eyes on Jesus, the center of my existence. As I pattern my step to His, my life takes on balance. As I align my priorities to His, I find a graceful flow to my life. Once my eyes are firmly on Jesus, I won’t try to keep up with those around me. My pace will be set according to my abilities and what God is calling me to do.
I learned my lesson about trying to move faster than my feet would take me, and I know I’ll never be an Irish step dancer. Now, I’m happy slowing down when necessary – at least I’m still standing.
My Prayer for Today:
Heavenly Father, thank you for making me who I am – and for your deep faithful love. Help me to keep my eyes on you and to pattern my life after your life. I pray for discernment to know when to slow down so that You can use me effectively. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Identify an area of your life that seems out of control or out of balance. Decide if you need to reduce your commitment in that area or another area. Choose to do only what you are able to do, and still maintain balance in your life.
Why do many women find their lives out of balance?
Read Colossians 1:16-17. Verse 16 tells us we were made by and for Jesus. What does this mean to you?
Colossians 1:17, tells us that Christ holds all things together. What does this mean for a life without Christ?
Why does watching Jesus help us keep our lives in balance?
What can you do to keep your eyes focused on Jesus Christ as the center of your life?
Psalm 141:8, “But my eyes are fixed on You, O Sovereign Lord; in You I take refuge – do not give me over to death.” (NIV)
Proverbs 4:25, “Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you. Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm.” (NIV)
Proverbs 17:24, “A discerning man keeps wisdom in view, but a fool’s eyes wander to the ends of the earth.” (NIV)
Hebrews 12:2, “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (NIV)
Matthew 14:29b, “Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out ‘Lord, save me!’” (NIV)
Radically Obedient, Radically Blessed by Lysa TerKeurst
Becoming a Woman Who Listens to God by Sharon Jaynes
A Women’s Secret to a Balanced Life by Sharon Jaynes and Lysa TerKeurst