Cindy sprinted with all she had left down the last one hundred yards of a two-mile race. Opening up her stride, she passed one more of her competitors with the last of her energy. Suddenly, in one horrible moment, the crowd gasped as she crumbled, tumbled and lay in a heap on the side of the track. While she screamed in pain and people ran to help, every last girl in the race ran past and over the finish line. In that one moment of heartbreak, it was over.
Here’s what happened to Cindy…
She and I ran on the same high school track team, she being slight, light and fast and me always cheering her on from behind. Even though Cindy started the year with a leg injury, she was gutsy, committed, and she never stopped running. She pushed herself through the workouts, favoring that hurt leg for weeks until it seemed improved enough to settle into a good, solid stride. She found herself qualifying for Regional Finals!
Unknown to all, this imbalance in her stride had jarred and stressed her opposite hip long enough to cause a significant stress fracture. This gave way at the worst possible moment, and down she went.
Under the strain of imbalance, the stability that God created in her was lost, and the imbalance literally broke her.
Have you ever run in Cindy’s shoes? When your life gets so out of balance, you start limping through without realizing that the break is coming?
Needless to say, mine had nothing to do with actual running! At my age and roundness, running has become a decision, and an infrequent one at that!
But in other ways and times, the balance I need just to keep going has been sorely out of whack!
Some years ago, my hubby and I moved in with my ailing Dad after a scary diagnosis. Overwhelmed and unprepared for it, I quickly became out of balance.
Every night and most every weekend, we cared for, comforted and sometimes were consumed by Dad’s physical and emotional needs. I felt trapped, emptied and often depressed. Our marriage was suffering, and I missed my own little home.
We stayed almost three years before we finally crumbled and tumbled. At that point, we hired more help and moved back home. Dad remained our priority, but we needed our own home and independence back to return to balance.
I often think of balance as a three-legged stool. One leg is your physical wellness, one your emotional/mental wellness, and one your spiritual wellness.
Each of these legs have needs and requirements to hold the weight of the stool. Each must be in place to maintain the balance needed to avoid the crumble and tumble that leaves us in a heap beside the track.
Balance is individualized. How we each nurture ourselves is as varied as the way we were created by God. But to be sure, it does take effort, time, and attention.
My friend Karen walks with her friends to talk out her feelings and relieve the stresses of her life.
My friend Pam has a prayer closet where she marinates in God’s presence, reaching out and up for blessings and peace.
As for me, I write. I eat veggies for breakfast and take walks. I gather for laughter and ladies’ Bible study every Monday night. I cry when I need to, giggle more than I need to, play as often as I can (preferably with teenagers), and nap when I’m tired. I have good friends who point out when I’m overdoing it and need to stop to take another nap.
And most of all, I trust in my Lord, God, and put my hope in Christ. This Hope is my balance.
“But blessed are those who trust in the Lord
and have made the Lord their hope and confidence.
They are like trees planted along a riverbank,
with roots that reach deep into the water.
Such trees are not bothered by the heat
or worried by long months of drought.
Their leaves stay green,
and they never stop producing fruit.”
Jeremiah 17;7-8 (NLV)
Cindy’s hip took a good long time to heal, but she did come back. She took it slow as she recovered and even went back to running. Her new balance grew stronger, and her heart grew wiser.
You can too, friends! You and I both can recover our balance and be stronger and wiser for the experience.
And if you find yourself crumbled and tumbled or even headed that way, I want to invite you to reach out to the Creator of balance. God has it in abundance, offering it to all who trust and hope in Him. God is waiting for you to sink your roots into the Living Water and be restored.