“And now, the one and only…” boomed the ringmaster’s voice. A juggler ascended the steps and pranced onto the center ring’s stage. The sequins on his red and gold costume sparkled as he juggled three balls.
His assistant, a young woman wearing matching colors, began tossing one ball at a time toward the juggler. We stared in amazement as the count rose. Wild applause erupted when the tempo increased while the juggler stretched out on the floor and then stood. The balls continued in a cascading pattern.
As the finale music approached last notes, final applause began. Suddenly, the assistant tossed another ball toward the juggler. His head jerked sideways toward her. From our front row seat, we watched as she raised her eyebrows and drew her hands to her mouth.
The performer stumbled as he tried to incorporate the errant ball. Gravity prevailed. Balls bounced haphazardly and rolled off the stage edge.
One extra ball created disaster.
Managing a family resembles a juggling act. Laundry multiplies and mealtimes line up back-to-back. Trashcans fill and pantries empty. Children run in crying and dogs bark to go out.
In the unsettling world of COVID-19, the barrage of news accounts and employment changes push into the mix. Cooking, cleaning, and online shopping take longer when we shelter in place. Parents teach, and children learn online.
Home life is different and even busier than before.
Still, we notice challenges beyond our own. Some people are lonely, and some need masks. Others lack technology or food. Some fear loss of loved ones.
We read Hebrews 13:16 and long to honor God and help our fellow man: “And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” When needs surface, we don’t want to hoard spiritual gifts or material blessings.
However, when we assume extra responsibilities without God’s direction, anxiety becomes a gravitational pull on peace, causing it to roll out of reach. When we notice opportunities to minister to others, how can we determine which ones to accept?
Consider two steps for prioritizing needs inside and outside of our homes during the pandemic:
1 · Spend time with God as early in the day as possible.
Seek His wisdom in prayer and Bible study as you yield your time and gifts to Him. If the feet of little ones hit the floor before yours do, pray as you brush your teeth, and read verses attached to the bathroom mirror until you have more time.
Here is my favorite morning prayer:
“Let me hear Your lovingkindness in the morning; for I trust in You;
teach me the way in which I should walk; for to You I lift up my soul.”
· Psalm 143:8 ·
In Luke 10, we read how Martha complained that Mary did not help prepare for guests. Jesus commended Mary for sitting at His feet. Although her household chores likely required hours of work, I picture Mary riveted to every word her Lord spoke. At that moment, listening to Jesus topped other priorities.
When we listen to God during prayer and Bible study, we learn to set priorities and serve as He intends, achieving balance with a peaceful heart.
2 · Do what you can, no more.
Refuse false guilt and the people-pleasing lure to do more than you can do without tilting your family out of balance.
Shortly before Jesus was crucified, the same Mary, Mary of Bethany, focused attention on her Lord again. This time, she anointed Jesus with expensive perfume (Mark 14:3-9).
When grumblers in the crowd deemed her act wasteful, Jesus said, “She has done what she could; she has anointed My body beforehand for burial” (Mark 14:8).
Mary did not multi-task. She concentrated on what mattered most.
When I squeeze extra responsibilities into the schedule without listening for God’s will, some aspect of family life suffers. When that happens, we can ask,
Am I juggling more balls than God intended as I minister to my family and neighbors?
Am I trying to obey God or please people?
On the other hand, when we hoard time, gifts, and resources like pandemic toilet paper, we can pray, “Father, show me how You want to use me to bless a neighbor.”
With her eyes on Jesus, Mary used her gifts and resources. She did what she could at the time, nothing more.
During the pandemic, let’s begin each day by looking to Jesus for guidance. Then, with His strength, we will do what we can to care for those under our roof and beyond.
Would you share below how you achieve balance in meeting family needs and those of others? Which verses help align your priorities with God’s?
in the Quiver
18 thoughts on “Juggling Life During a Pandemic”
Amen Ms. Jeannie. In wanting to “do good” we can overwhelm ourselves with busyness. I love putting into practice each morning your advice of “seeking Him early.” There’s no better way to start our day than to seek His companionship, counsel, and guidance for our day each morning.
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Thank you, J.D. I like your description of seeking God: “There’s no better way to start our day than to seek His companionship, counsel, and guidance for our day each morning.”
I love your imagery of the juggler going one too many. Bringing my office home was quite an eye-opener. It’s hard for my family to understand that even though I am “here”, I am working as though I am “there”…you know? Peace rolled away, but it was not out of sight. As you so beautifully shared, I turned to my spiritual roots for help. I spent time in prayer, pulled out my agenda, and crafted a plan to implement a better life rhythm, one that allows change-ups according to God’s leading. Your post encouraged me to keep at it!
Charla, I’m thankful the post was helpful for you. I’m sure working from home is a juggling act. Spending time in prayer as you did helps us hear God’s wisdom, doesn’t it? I’m glad you now have a more effective plan.
Soooo good Jeannie! I loved the analogy. It is so me and the admonition of why or WHO I am trying to please is so spot on. I love “Do what you can, no more.” Thank you!
I needed this, too, Sylvia. Thanks so much for commenting.
I appreciate the “do what you can” point of view! As a furloughed working mom now home full time with a toddler, this has definitely been interesting learning new routines
Thank you, Katy. Changes do require new routines and balance, don’t they? I sometimes try to do more than I should do and end up frustrated. I admire you for adjusting to work at home.
Great article, Jeannie! I thoroughly enjoyed all your insight. Thanks for sharing your talent with us.
Jeannie, thank you for these great reminders. It’s so easy for me to take on extra tasks because they are good thing without checking first to see if God even called me to do them. I need this reminder every day!! 🙏🙌
Jean, I also have difficulty selecting the best use of time (God’s way) among a plethora of choices. Thank you for commenting.
Thanks for commenting and sharing, Evelyn. When I find my juggling is out of control and without peace, I realize I’m following my plan and not God’s. We all need reminders, don’t we?
Learning when to say that’s enough on my plate has been huge for me. I’ve had to recognize that even when I’m capable of keeping all the plates spinning, that it’s not always the best for my peace and state of mind. If I can only be a good wife and mother today, then that’s it. And God has helped me see the wisdom in that. I may be able to serve other places in other seasons or other days, not every day in this season is for juggling! Thanks for the reminder!
Jennifer, you summarized my point beautifully. Yes, some days the responsibilities in our own home is all God expects. As we seek His will, He guides us, doesn’t He?
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Jeannie, You are certainly a gifted writer. Thanks for reminders of how to live in the hustle and bustle of our lives. I am going to put the morning prayer from Psalms 143 on my bathroom mirror so I can see it first thing in the morning and ask God to help me keep the right focus for my days.
Thanks for commenting, Debra. Posting the verse is a great idea.
Oh my, you’ve been peeping in my window again, Mrs. Jeannie. I confess to trying to juggle too many good things and missing out on the best. Thank you for reminding me to keep first things first and trust God to handle the rest.
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Lori, you could look into my window and see the same. I know you agree that seeking God’s will is necessary for balance. We’re still learning, aren’t we?