Jesus’ ministry began in the flow — the flow of baptism. When the flowing begins, the need for rootedness arises. In the pursuit of this rootedness, we feel the need for balance. How do we feel a rootedness within the flow?
Just after Jesus found out his cousin, John the Baptist, was executed and before he fed the five thousand, the gospel of Mark 14:13–14 says, “When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns. When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.” Christ found the discipline of balance as he flowed with power in words, healing and love and then he rooted through solitude, fellowship and worship in the temple. He knew he had to retreat when the crowds pressed in and he knew he had to return from solitude to teach them again.
The discipline of balance allowed him to find the rhythm that was uniquely his — his vocation as the Messiah. His ministry as the Messiah is like a diamond, and we are facets in our own shape and size reflecting the brilliance of that diamond to the world. In our own ministry, how do we know that we are getting the balance we need between the flow and the rootedness?
There are two unexpected ways we can begin to feel this discipline of balance is working.
The first of these is that you feel imbalance. At times you will have the inability to center down in your spiritual practices. You may also get something I call being “peopled out” — that feeling you’ve been around too many people for too long of time. At other times you may feel completely tapped out and the inability to give. The thing to remember about becoming balanced again is that it is like finding balance within a yoga pose. First you must begin to feel your grounding and then soften into the steadiness happening. A heart and mind that softens around the grounding of scripture and worship finds its balance. The distraction in your spiritual practices needs to be there to draw you back into the silence. That “peopled out” feeling you get is him beckoning you back to the quiet of his presence. When you feel tapped out is when you feel the need to lean into the source. Feeling imbalanced draws one back to balance.
The second way you can tell the discipline of finding balance is working is that you feel vulnerable. You will feel like you are going to fall — you may even fall. Faltering is not weakness. Falling is not failure. Know that when you wobble on the inside or stumble a bit with your outer world, that is when God’s grace reaches out to steady you. This all an opportunity to feel rooted again, to deepen your relationship. Balance can’t be rushed. There is a slow pull in this discipline to our knees, where we can soften in the stillness and feel the suppleness of intimacy with God.
There is a beautiful song that’s poetry illustrates this pull in the discipline of balance. It’s in the imbalance and the vulnerability where our discernment muscles are strengthened and the connection intensifies with God.