My first teaching job involved teaching 7th grade science. Those poor kids! I was 100% humanities trying to teach elementary physics. When it came time to explain centripetal (centrifugal?…I don’t remember, honestly) force, I resorted to the salad spinner object lesson. They had great fun swirling small objects inside my favorite kitchen tool. If you take the lid off in time, the detritus inside will fly all over the room. Yipee!
Often, as I think about what it takes to be a mom, a wife, an employee, an American, a suburbanite, or a responsible member of the local pool, I feel like my sin looks like the salad spinner. I am dizzily spinning around something that seems a lot like nothing, trusting that the constraints of life on the outside will hold me in my orbit.
Problem. As Yeats lamented, “Things fall apart / The centre cannot hold.”
When I orbit in this way, there is eventual disintegration because the center is weak and the constraints are false.
Keller says that orbiting anything but God causes us to lose direction, to misunderstand our identity, and to experience isolation. He says, “Spiritual darkness – turning away from God, the true light, and making anything more important than Him – leads invariably from disorientation to disintegration…We are all orbiting around something else. And we’re all incapable of changing our orbit, because we inevitably, ultimately, seek to glorify ourselves instead of God. So we are all on a trajectory toward a life of disintegration.” (King’s Cross, p. 205)
When the gravitational pull of my idols becomes too weak or too strong; when things fall apart because the center has failed to hold; when the constraints fall away and I fly outward; then Jesus.
Those whiplash moments are His reminder to me that I am only safe, only held together, only home, and only in line with the Love and Laws of Heaven when I yield to Him. When I acknowledge the brokenness of my gravitational toys and have faith in the power of His strong, centering grace, I am once again held together. That center will always hold. Amen!
“The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in Him all tings were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” Colossians 1:15-17 (NIV)
“In every high and stormy gale, my anchor holds within the veil.” – Edward Mote
Today, where is my center?