Spinning Plates

Every day I’m spinning plates, and every day I’m dropping plates.

I wake up; I pick up those proverbial plates; I grab my sticks; and I start spinning.

There’s a stack of little plates under a big plate named, Mom. 

Comforter, Teacher, Disciplinarian, Safety Patrol…

I put them on their proverbial sticks, and I start spinning. 

There’s a stack of little plates under a big plate named, Wife. 

Supporter, Lover, Respecter, Teammate…

I put them on their proverbial sticks, and I start spinning. 

There’s a stack of little plates under a big plate named, House. 

Dishes, Laundry, Cleaning, Meals…

I put them on their proverbial sticks, and I start spinning. 

There’s a stack of little plates under a big plate named, Relationships. 

Daughter, Friend, Sister, Neighbor…

I put them on their proverbial sticks, and I start spinning. 

There’s a stack of little plates under a big plate named, Miscellaneous. 

Social Planner, Activity Facilitator, Emotional Supervisor, Family Organizer…

I put them on their proverbial sticks, and I start spinning. 

There’s a stack of little plates under a big plate named, Spiritual Growth 

Bible Reading, Prayer, Family Devotions, Fellowship…

I put them on their proverbial sticks, and I start spinning. 

There’s a stack of little plates under a big plate named, Things I Enjoy.

Pinterest Crafting, Blog Writing, Dinner Hosting, Book Reading…

I put them on their proverbial sticks, and I start spinning. 

There’s a stack of little plates under a big plate named, Things I Probably Should Do.

Exercise, Pre-School Activities, Random Cleaning, Returning E-mails and Texts…

I put them on their proverbial sticks, and I start spinning. 

There’s a stack of little plates under a big plate named, Community.

Book Club, Mentoring, Bible Study, Coffee Dates…

I put them on their proverbial sticks, and I start spinning. 

And though I may not have to spin all those plates all at the same time, it’s safe to say that I’m spinning a lot of them at the same time.

As I spin, I balance.

As I spin, I wobble.

As I spin, I tire.

As I spin, I drop.

As I spin, I break.

On any given day, I can be rockin’ my plate-handlin’ skills, spinning all my Mom and House plates and feeling accomplished, but then I look to my left and find that my Community and Relationship plates are losing momentum, wobbling, and barely spinning on their sticks.

On any given week, I’m confidently spinning my Things I Should Do plates, feeling like I’m conquering my apathy and taking control of my plates, when I hear my Relationship plates slamming the ground and my Mom plates threatening to topple.

During any one month, I can feel really great about having all my plates spinning in my Wife pile, only to realize that my Spiritual Growth plates are gathering a thin layer of dust on them and pretty much all of my Things I Enjoy plates are laying in a mish-mashed pile of fallen Miscellaneous plates.

Suffice to say, some days the plates spin nicely and controlled, maintaining balance and momentum. While other days, the plates are spinning out of control, lying motionless and broken on the proverbial floor of life.

And when the latter days happen, I am often tempted to feel a whole lot of plate-dropping guilt.

I guilt-trip my plate-spinning self.

If you were more organized, more driven, and less distracted, you wouldn’t have let those plates fall.  

I shame my plate-spinning self.

You’re such a failure, Jessica. Why can’t you keep it together?

I compare my plate-spinning self.

‘So and so’ has all her plates together. Have you seen how she spins them all? Sheesh! She makes it look easy!

I dishearten my plate-spinning self.

That’s it. I’m done trying to do ANY of this. I’m done. Forget it. I just can’t do it. Why do I even try? 

I torture my plate-spinning self.

You need to work harder and faster, Jessica….get up earlier, stay up later, plan better…

On and on, I beat myself up over my plate-spinning failures.

And this last week, when I watched my parents get out of their car and climb the steps to our house to have dinner on a Saturday night (that I had thought I was to be hosting the following night), I realized (yet again) that I had dropped another plate.

But I intentionally chose to do something different this time.

Instead of beating myself up for my social calendar faux pas of double-booking, I apologized to my parents, rescheduled a 24-hour rain check, and reminded my plate-spinning self of four, freeing truths.

1. I can’t spin all my plates at all the same, and that is okay.

I’m not a super-wife, a super-mom, a super-planner, a super-anything, and I don’t have to be.

2. I am going to drop plates, and that is okay.

I’m human; I’m fallible; I’m one person; and I can’t do it all.

3. I am not defined by my plate-spinning successes or failures.

I am so much more than the plates I have, the plates I spin, or the plates I drop.

4. I only have to focus on ONE plate. 

I need to draw my attention to the ONE that holds it all in place; the ONE that I can’t spin; the ONE that I can’t control; the ONE that I can’t drop; the ONE that I can’t break…GOD, the spinner of ALL the plates.

And though the Bible may not specifically talk about spinning plates, this is what His Word DOES say…

He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. Colossians 1:17

But seek FIRST the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6:33

And as I spin the plates that have been laid before me, I acknowledge my weaknesses and spin them in HIS strength.

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One thought on “Spinning Plates

  1. Okay, so this reminds me of your post about lies…. these responses to how you spin your plates (or don’t) sounds like satan fueling lies. And this sounds a lot like me with my responses to my OWN plates. I think this metaphor is really powerful, and it’s such a good reminder that the LORD holds it all together – NOT. US.

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