Of Juggling and Digging for Treasure

I have become good at the circus act…like most women I know. Juggling, wearing of many hats, role-changes in a matter of minutes. The fact is, our busy lives pretty much require this kind of skill on a daily basis. It’s a balancing act to keep up with everyone’s schedules, switch gears between work and relationships and ministry and household tasks that simply must be done so that people have clean shirts to wear and  hot dinner on the table, and somehow keep my own person and relationships intact. But I am good with details and organizing, and sometimes it seems like I can just keep adding more in, if I organize it right….just one more small piece here and there, and if I just shift this over a bit I can fit one more thing in that spot.

With that kind of mindset, having a relationship with God can become just one more thing to fit in, another plate to keep spinning in this big juggling act.

But the satisfaction in being a Woman Who Can Juggle Many Plates is short-lived, and I heard someone say it again today, that we have learned how to “live crazy” and are working hard to teach our kids the same. When did we ever get the idea that doing more is what makes us more– that doing a lot is the same as doing well? My parents always said “If you are going to do something, do it well.” But back then it meant quality over quantity. It  meant taking your time to think it through and do it well, so that you could be satisfied with what you accomplished. No regrets. That proverb applies to projects and tasks. It applies to lives, and if I only have one of those with no chance to do it over, then it makes sense to take the time to evaluate its quality….make sure I am living well.

Jesus told His closest friends that “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.” (Matthew 13:44) The reaction of this man in the story seems old-fashioned, somehow, and narrow-minded. My first thought is how much simpler life was back then, that this guy would sell everything for the sake of something he found in a field of dirt. But that’s not the point at all, is it?  The story is about the sheer value of knowing God, and the sensible response when you realize that fact. The man lays down his entire juggling act– trades it all in for the precious possession of a relationship with God. Get that one treasure and nothing else really matters. The Church-planter Paul said it this wayBut whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ…” (Philippians 3:7-9) It sounds almost too simple to be true, and calls into question the busy-ness we have come to accept as necessary.

But what if the Circus of Everyday Life is just part of the Enemy’s fog cover? What if all the urgent demands for our time and attention are not as vital as they appear? What if more isn’t better, and everything we are chasing after is nothing more than a school of red herrings? While the real treasure is buried quietly in the clay and could easily be passed over, unawares. Or worse yet, snatched up with only a passing glance and added into the spinning plates I can manage.

It’s not like you have to be a farmer digging around in the dirt to find treasure; Paul was on the road to Damascus, breathing fire and seething hatred against the new sect that claimed Jesus had risen from the dead. He was ready to kill them all, if it meant preserving the life he was used to– mind you, he was quite good at organizing thoughts and words and people. Until Jesus (aflame in His resurrected power) burst in on the traveler, and everything Paul had been doing suddenly meant nothing in light of the glory of God. He just laid it all down there in the middle of the road and it didn’t even matter that his physical eyes were blinded, because the eyes of his spirit had seen the Kingdom of Heaven and his heart was bursting full of joy. Later on he would say that God ”made His light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” (2 Corinthians 4:6-7) It was the man in the field all over again.

And really, isn’t that how this treasure comes to us, in earthen flesh? A miraculous Baby in a dirty manger….the Son of God walking these fields and laying His head down at night….a  perfect Lamb dying on a hillside….a Body buried in a rocky cave for only a little while….until one morning it wasn’t. The treasure of the Kingdom of Heaven hidden in plain sight, and maybe it’s not so much a matter of digging around to find it, as it is opening our eyes to finally see what is truly valuable.

Maybe rushing around in this balancing circus-act is actually as crazy as it feels sometimes, and giving up everything we possess to gain Christ and His righteousness is the most perfectly sane and reasonable choice on earth. It’s worth considering.


“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” (Matthew 5:6)


“Busy is a choice. Stress is a choice. Joy is a choice. You get to choose. Choose well.” (Ann VosKamp)

Winds of Change

Sometimes you just feel stuck, in so many ways. When you are trying to pursue the good and do what is right, but old ways keep hanging on, and sometimes you wonder if you are really making a difference or growing at all. When your heart feels like it’s broken, and you know life isn’t easy for anyone, and none of us get to choose our own crosses, but who can show you how to carry this one? When what comes next seems impossible to face, but there’s no other way to go except forward. We all get stuck sometimes, when life isn’t what we want it to be and we wish we were somewhere else.

But no matter how much it feels like standing still on the inside, the currents of time and change are carrying us through day after day on the outside, and before we know it the landscape is beginning to look different, and we are awakening to new perspectives. It’s like when you were a child on a long road trip and falling asleep somewhere on the endless winding highway, only to wake up hours later in a whole different state. Setting us in time might be just one more Divine mercy, because as much as we wish we could hold onto the precious moments, there are far too many moments that would destroy us if they lasted beyond their God-given limits. Indeed, this is how God holds out hope to us– He points us forward, always, opening our eyes to what is ahead. “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” (Isaiah 43:19) But His work is more like the  gradual nurturing and nudging of a gardener than the radical renovating of a construction crew. Jesus described the Holy Spirit like the wind that moves invisibly around us– we can see and feel its effects here and there, and only if we are watching for it.

For everyone who feels stuck in whatever circumstance or in feelings that just won’t go away, Jesus’ beloved disciple John reminds us tenderly that we are in process, and the happy ending is yet to come: “Beloved, we are now children of God, and what we will be has not yet been revealed. We know that when Christ appears, we will be like Him, for we will see Him as He is.” (1 John 2:28) As real as our experience is in this river of Time, we are constantly being reminded that there is an unseen realm as well, that operates by different principles– and someday we will be able to step easily out of this current, with eyes wide open, onto the banks of a new land. This is our hope, anchored in Christ’s sacrifice of blood and in the love of the Father that moved heaven and earth to reach us before we drowned. The Church-Planter Paul frequently reminded the early believers of the reality of this hope, because he knew how easy it is to get discouraged here. “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:17-18)

So hang in there, and keep your eyes open for what God is going to do for you. There is truly only one thing that never changes: “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23)  Everything else is in constant slow process under God’s watchful eyes.


“So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.” (2 Corinthians 4:18, The Message)


“The cross you’ve been given — is always God’s kindest decision. The cross you carry — is carrying you toward who you are meant to be.” (Ann VosKamp)