THE BALANCE BEAM

By: Darrelyn L. Tutt
At some point in our physical education class, the gymnastic equipment would appear and …. so would my anxiety.
Back then it wasn’t an aspect of exercise that I appreciated rightly or relished.
Initial efforts looked pretty dismal and the goal, for me, was simply about getting through.
Secretly, I hoped that a few serious looking falls might disqualify me from having to progress and endure the other obstacles awaiting me.
That never happened.
Our PE coach was one of those unrelenting, doggedly-determined “types.”
Every fall was interpreted by him as a teachable moment and so my teachable moments amassed into trainable hours.
He was unswerving in his dedication in teaching me the fundamentals of gymnastics and he remained dedicated to the task to the end, always offering his hand while I worked through the difficult phases.
I felt like I could do anything as long as his presence accompanied me.
Because his instructive measures inspired me and motivated me, I have tried to incorporate them in my Christian life believing that lessons learned in one arena generally transfer into others.
Here are a few lessons I try to live by and leave you with:

1) Falls and fumbles are part of the walk, not the end of it.
My instructor would get up on the beam and repeat “my” fall with perfect mimicry. He would do this in a kind and not a humiliating way so I could see what I was doing wrong.
He would then demonstrate the “correct way” by example and have me mimic him.
His example accompanied by a steady dose of encouragement worked wonders and I did learn to master the “basics” on the balance beam.
*The Christian life, similarly, is filled with countless falls and fumbles no matter our age, stage, or position in Christ. 
Nobody has arrived this side of heaven; nobody is going to.
When you see someone struggling; stick with the individual God has placed you beside and resist the temptation to move on to someone who is walking well. A steady, stable hand mixed with a little truth and grace does wonders to restore mobility in an individual’s life.
“Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labor. 
For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow; but woe to him that is alone when he falleth, for he hath not another to help him up.”
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

2) My instructor taught me that my “gaze” was more problematic than my feet.
He asserted regularly that the beam wasn’t going anywhere and my feet could trust the stability beneath them. Over and over again, I was instructed to fix my gaze on an immovable object at eye level and move toward it and my feet would follow.
He was right; worked like a charm every time.
*When an individual is struggling in their walk with Christ; it’s their gaze and focal point that generally needs to be addressed and adjusted.
Open up the word and pray with someone who is susceptible to falling or has slipped.
The word of God is a steady beam that the believer can rely upon and Christ’s position is eternally settled allowing us to keep focused on the immovable while we keep moving in our walk with Him.
“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding.
In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.”
Proverbs 3:5-6

3) One unforgettable impression my instructor left me with was the one time “he” fell.
He sheepishly looked up at me and said,
“Today, Darrelyn, your walk was better than mine; never forget that teachers fall too.”
I haven't.
*If you happen to be reading this and you are in a place of position and difficulty you’re not alone; though you may feel you are.
Stay the course, walk on the reliable beam called truth, and fix your gaze on the precious grace that is seated at the right hand of the Father.
The Lord has His able hand on you and He will not let you go.
“I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go; I will guide thee with Mine eye.”
Psalm 32:8