I have a view of the street from my home office.
It’s nice. There’s a tree right outside the window, there’s the blue sky over the park just beyond the houses, there’s a guy up on a ladder…
It’s true. To my immediate left is a guy, on a huge ladder.
Seems he’s replacing trim and adding trim, and installing trim… all up on this ladder. And he works away up there, looking like it’s nothing to be up on a ladder, balanced on the last rung, hands free while he uses them to hold, measure, cut, glue…. he leans one way, then the other, sometimes slightly away from the house. I cringe.
Ex-Cirque Du Soleil performer, disenchanted with circus life, tired of being someone’s clown, fed up with being tossed in the ring, looking for meaningful work that doesn’t require a dramatic Celine Dion soundtrack?
No idea, but he has GREAT balance. Probably comes from years of doing what he does, day in, day out.
And don’t our lives all need a little balancing.
But more often than not, we seem doomed to suffer from extremes. And when that happens, we lose our balance.
This is important for everyone, not just people with chronic depression or mood disorders. Balance often requires us to acknowledge that something in our life might be off. Might be consuming us. Might be taking up spiritual, mental, emotional, or physical space.
And I’m not just talking about the chemical kind of imbalance my brain has, although that’s a serious enough imbalance to begin with. But I’m also talking about the things we try to keep up in the air, that we try to control, that we try to embrace.
Extremes are all those things that make it hard to get back to routine. They don’t just take up space, but they put you into difficult positions. They’re hard to recover from when they gain momentum. They take control and now you’re only playing catch up. With the life you’ve been blessed with. With the life you’ve been called to. With the life that should be alive!
Stop for a second and think about what those things could be right now. What’s off kilter for you? What consumes your thoughts or your time to the extent that it has this unhealthy and very obvious hold on you and leaves little room for something simpler, or better, more exciting, or more important.
And is it because it ran you down before you realized it was coming at you, or is it because you’ve encouraged it?
It’s easy to allow something to overtake you when your defense mechanisms aren’t what they should be.
For someone like me, with some of the symptoms I experience, this can truly be the case. Hard to juggle all of life’s demands, hard to get a better perspective, hard to regain your balance when your brain and your body decide things for you. How much sleep you’ll be allowed. How long you can focus for. How long you can drum up a response instead of cave in, run and hide, decide none of this struggle is worth it.
I found myself saying this, “I’ll figure this all out when I’m better.”
There’s just one problem.
Getting better, for me, is a constant process. Life is a constant process. And when I don’t “get to the end” of better, instead of reasoning that I’m a work in progress, I become despondent, I become frustrated, I feel like better might never come.
Know the feeling?
We have a couple of options instead of wobbling on the top rung of life, our arms doing that “windmill” technique like in any good 80’s cartoon. (Scooby Doo, I’m talking to you here.) So exhausting and precarious.
Our first option. To get off the ladder. To decide to surrender. Today just isn’t the day you have any balance, and so you’re done before you get started. Which sometimes we’re compelled to do, once in a while, forced back down by circumstances we have no control over…. but if you never get back up that ladder to your life, you’ll never really live either.
I decided a while ago that THAT was no option for the long-term. I decided that waiting till I was better was a useless decision unless I worked AT getting better. Otherwise, I could be waiting forever!
So we come to the second option. Go one rung at a time. Test it out, go slow, find all the ways you can reach and stretch and lean and extend from that first rung, and then the next.
Pacing yourself, conditioning yourself, becoming stronger and more agile, every step trusting the “Life Trainer” to catch you if you fall. If you lose that sense of balance. Because we are spiritual beings, we need the Creator to infuse our growth with His perspective, with His good things filling you up, with His patience and grace and strength.
Don’t believe you can just do it on your own. That’s a lie. The best performers have the best balancing abilities way up high because they had the best of the best coaching and guiding them.
Constant work, taking care of their health, listening and learning from the One who goes before them, and then taking one rung at a time.
I hope you heard what I said.
“From the One who goes before you.”
You’re not the only one doing this. If you decide to, you can have your safety lines attached to the One who will never fail. He is the ultimate security.
What does this mean for me, living and managing Dysthymia, an unpredictable condition most days?
It means I trust in the Life Preserver. Because sometimes things become overwhelming, exhausting, and out of my own control. But I have a huge promise. A promise that He’ll never make me do all the heavy lifting. All the grunt work. All the battling.
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
The LORD your God is going ahead of you. He will fight for you, just as you saw him do in Egypt.
He goes before me! I have a safety line linked to the Good Shepherd and Jehovah. When I can’t anticipate what’s coming at me, He can. He goes BEFORE me. He sees it way before I feel it. The Life Preserver holds on and regardless of how things might “feel” I can know I am SAFE. When I dwell there, with Him, I don’t need to see everything coming to try to knock me off my balance. Sometimes He just leans in and shelters me till we can continue the climb.
Like Moses, like the Israelites, like Joshua, like Esther, like David, we can have an ultimate life line cinched tightly to the One who can deliver us.
If you don’t trust your trainer, you’ll never gain your balance.
And I’d hate to have you stranded half way up by lesser securities. With no where to go.
Where do you need guidance? Where do you need the ultimate Coach? Where are you lacking balance?
Time to put a new perspective on this. You’ll have a way more rewarding view than the guy out my window, that’s for sure.
Trust the Trainer.
Keep your eyes heavenward, and regain your balance!
image by christine duncan