Last night I watched Survivor. I don’t typically watch Survivor. But as I was scrolling through the channels (so many channels, so little to watch), there it was. The twelve remaining contestants were getting ready for a challenge that would give one of them immunity. Immunity guarantees that at the next tribal council, they wouldn’t be voted off the island. I thought it fitting during Holy Week, one of the 12 was about to be voted off the island. Modern day illustration?
Anyways, the challenge was called Sea Legs. Apparently, other Survivor shows have done this one before. The goal was to balance on a floating platform. Last person to remain on their platform wins the challenge. Here’s a pic from a previous season…
It took about three rounds to get the winner. With each round they had to stand higher on the platform. Unlike the picture, the water was a bit choppy, the wind was blowing, and those platforms were moving in unexpected ways. This meant the contestants had to react, adapt, sense and move with the slightest change to stay balanced on the platform.
While I was watching, I was reminded of a principle that has helped me on more than one occasion: Balance requires constant correction.
Some people disagree with that principle. To them, balance (in life) is achieved when you find just the right fixed state. They believe that if they can get everything in the right order, everything in the right place, everything in their life functioning as it should…then, and only then, they’ll have achieved balance.
Unfortunately, that’s pretty much impossible. Plus, it will leave you feeling unsettled most of the time. Because you can’t control everything. Because everything is always moving, shifting, changing, even you. Hopefully you.
Let me say it again… Balance requires constant correction.
Doesn’t it feel like we’re all standing on an unstable platform right now? I know it does for me. It’s unfamiliar territory with unsure footing. And any sense of balance really does require CONSTANT correction. Which leads me to the second part of this principle: Balance requires constant correction and a fixed point.
Wait, Tim you just said that we have to constantly correct. Now you’re saying the exact opposite.
Nope. There is no such thing as a fixed state. No place that you can arrive at where everything will be in perfect order and harmony (at least not in this life). But notice the subtle difference here – balance requires a fixed point.
The only way the Survivor contestants were able to remain balanced on those platforms was because they had a view of the horizon. That horizon was a fixed point that showed them what was up and what was down. It didn’t move.
You can try this yourself. Go get a broom and try to balance it with the end of the handle in your hand and the bristles straight up in the air. If you can do it, great! Now do it with your eyes closed. Broom falls. Every time.
Why? Because balance requires a fixed point. You need something outside of yourself that doesn’t move. This is what informs where and how you need to constantly correct in order to achieve…balance.
You’re probably already ahead of me here. This is the reason I’m celebrating this Easter. This is why I can live with a sense of balance in the most uncertain of times. Because I am focused on the One who never changes. I set my eyes on the Author and Perfecter of my faith. I align my life with the God of the Universe. The ultimate True North.
When I am uncertain, God is certain.
When I am unsettled, God is a firm foundation.
When I am unfaithful, God is faithful.
We’re all constantly correcting right now, trying to survive and perhaps, even, to thrive during this crazy time. If you choose not to correct, you’re going to struggle. If you choose to focus on something that’s not fixed, you’re going to struggle. My challenge to you is to make sure you focus on the right fixed point. Like Peter, stepping out of the boat to walk across the water, keep your eyes fixed on Jesus. Because you know what happens when all you see are the wind and the waves.
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