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Life Happens in the Extremes

A hand pulls it back. The pendulum swings–back and forth. It’s been disturbed from its comfortable position. It may seem to the weight that it is careening out of control, but the string reaches the end of its arc and heads back the other direction, ready to repeat it all again.

Photo by Ben Ostrowsky (via Flickr)

I’ve felt like this many times. We are fed a line that life is all about balance. We have to keep everything perfectly set so that you get the best out of your life. It all sounds pretty good, and really who likes being swept up in all this swinging from one extreme to another?  There’s all this anxiety and feelings of being out of control, but I figured out that these things are necessary and not God (or life) being cruel.

That doesn’t mean it’s not uncomfortable, but I now see why we shouldn’t fear the extremes so much.

Sometimes it takes a jarring to wake us up, to rouse us from our comfortable routines and positions. It can be a circumstance or situation. It can be a promotion or new position of leadership. It can be a relationship, friendship, or mentorship.

All we know is for better or worse, we are pushed to the end of the line and we are forced to make decisions. Life is not balanced, but it is in rhythm.

Think about it: when is the only time you’re going to be perfectly balanced in life? When you’re dead. Everything then will be decided and untouchable, but for now, we have opportunity to grow, transform, learn, adapt, advance, get knocked down, get back up again (you’re never gonna keep me down), fail,  achieve, and so much more.

This is what life is all about.

The most dramatic change happens when you’re off balance.

I think about the most “extreme” extreme of all–turning your life, desires, and heart over to Jesus. You recognize you can’t do with it what He can, that you fall short but He gives grace. By faith, you’re forgiven of sins and receive the love lavished upon you that you would be called a child of God. You choose death so that you can live.

How balanced does that sound?

I don’t mean to say there aren’t minor corrections or smaller lessons, but nobody has a problem with those. We get antsy about those extremes, but we can trust God.

According to Philippians 1:6, He who started the good work in you (feel the breeze as you swing) will continue and perfect it (and we’re swinging the other direction). He’s producing great things in us.

What do you think? Am I right or wrong? Have you found God (and change) in the extremes?


This post is included as part of the One Word blog carnival hosted by Peter Pollock where this time the topic is Swings. Head on over to read all the posts there.

40 Comments

  1. Great post, Pastor J.

    That’s what I love about the carnival, one word, so many different possibilities and ideas!

    This was definitely swinging!
    Peter P recently posted..Swings – Blog CarnivalMy Profile

    • Ha! Thanks so much, Peter. Glad you’re hosting them so we get the opportunity. 🙂

  2. extremely… thought provoking

    • Thanks Nance!

  3. Great take on an old subject Jason. Love that you have taken our turning our lives over to Christ as the most out of balance thing we can do. Thanks for a great read!
    bill (cycleguy) recently posted..HolinessMy Profile

    • Thanks so much, Bill. I appreciate it!

  4. I love your use of swing. Trying to stay balanced myself. Not always easy…
    Lisa notes… recently posted..Something to smile aboutMy Profile

    • Thanks Lisa. So thankful God is able to some amazing things in those off-balance moments.

  5. “The most dramatic change happens when you’re off balance.” — That’s good, man.

    When I’m off balance I react with adjustments to regain my balance. Hardly ever do I go back to the same footing, the one in which I lost my balance, but I seek out a better footing. Great post Jason!

    (Great song reference too!)
    Ryan Tate recently posted..Finding your “Sandlot”My Profile

    • Everybody needs a little tub-thumpin’ every once in a while. 🙂

      Loved how you framed that--yes, we seek a better footing. He makes our feet like the feet of the deer to traverse the high places. Thanks Ryan.

  6. Fantastic post, Jason. If you haven’t do so already, this would make an excellent sermon.
    katdish recently posted..The perfect swingMy Profile

    • Thanks so much, Kat! All this is sort of an outgrowth of what I preached last week, but rest assured if it’s not a total sermon, it will end up in there at some point. That’s just how I roll. 🙂

  7. “The most dramatic change happens when you’re off balance.” so true!

    Well said. thanks for provoking my thinking and swinging it around!

    • Absolutely, Louise! Thanks so much.

  8. “Life is not balanced, but it is in rhythm.”

    I gave up on trying to have a balanced life a while ago. I just don’t think it’s something we should aspire to. Every story I read in scripture is about extremes: Moses spends 40 years in the desert in a semi-normal life, then God calls him to stand against Pharaoh and be a deliverer. David spends most of his childhood tending sheep, then is promoted to King and has to fight for his life. Joshua faithfully serves as an aid for over 40 years, then is conquering cities and asking God to make the sun stand still.

    That doesn’t mean I’m searching out the extremes, just what God has for me.

    Great post Jason!
    Jason Vana recently posted..A God who FightsMy Profile

    • That’s a good point I didn’t have space to expound on: we don’t seek out to live in the extremes, but there’s nothing wrong with them. His thoughts and ways are higher than ours so if we live our lives in that flow, there will be extremes involved (at least humanly speaking). Thanks Jason!

  9. Thank you for turning the adjective “imbalanced” into a sort of compliment. 🙂
    Helen recently posted..The Packing is Over….My Profile

    • We’re taking back that word! I think we need to get t-shirts printed, “Imbalanced and embracing it.” 🙂

      Thanks Helen.

      • My husband’s favorite joke is to claim he graduated from “Chiselhurst: the royal academy for imbalanced accountants!”
        There’s a reason he chose to marry me! 🙂
        Helen recently posted..The Packing is Over….My Profile

        • I love it! You guys are meant to be like Jack and Rose from Titanic (minus James Cameron, that giant sinking ship, and the whole ‘Jack dying’ thing, of course). Yeah, imbalanced…

  10. Most of my growth/maturing has happened during difficult times. I don’t recognize it in the moment. In the moment I am focused on what is in front of me but after time I am able to see how God used the difficult time for my growth.
    Kevin Martineau recently posted..2 ways to get out of our comfort zoneMy Profile

    • Same with me. I’m glad that even though God didn’t cause the hard times, He is more than able and willing to use them for my benefit and His glory. Thanks Kevin.

  11. “The most dramatic change happens when you’re off balance.”

    Whoa! I am very much experiencing this right now. Great thought, Jason! I love your take on the prompt.
    Melissa Brotherton recently posted..Foolish Enough to Trust GodMy Profile

    • Can you tell where I am in life that the prompt “swings” bring us all this to mind? Ha! Thanks so much, Melissa.

  12. Eversince, I always enjoy the “swing” of life. Because I turn to Jesus when I think the swing is so strong for me to balance my self. Thanks for the great post!
    April recently posted..BANK OWNED UPDATE!!! SKI HOME HIT THE MARKET TODAY!!!My Profile

    • Thanks April.

  13. I think you’re absolutely right. I am in a time of transition right now, and I hate change. There are a lot of really good things going on, and a lot of possibilities, but it makes me very uncomfortable. At the same time, it helps me to lean on God more and learn more about Him and more about me. Difficult, but worth it.

    Great post.
    Lainie Gallagher recently posted..What I Know about SwingsMy Profile

    • I heard one minister say we should just call transition what it is-- we’re going through hell. I think that sums it up, but like you said, we lean on God more in those times. Thanks for your thoughts, Lainie.

  14. “The most dramatic changes happen when you’re off balance.” That’s one of those startling pieces of truth. “In balance” means steady state, even keel. Off balance is when the possibilities have a chance to enter the picture. Great post, Jason.
    Glynn recently posted..PrimeMy Profile

    • Yes! Thanks so much, Glynn.

  15. Great post Jason -- the most dramatic things HAVE happened to me when I was off balance. Not pretty sometimes -- heartbreaking and sad -- and the pain is not worth going back to again -- better to be balanced FOR SURE!

    • Yeah and outside our comfortable spaces, we can further embrace His love and choose faith. Thanks so much, Cindy!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Jason Stasyszen - My post for the #OWAAT blog carnival on "swings"- Life Happens in the Extremes http://ow.ly/5NdpQ
  2. Alltop Christianity - Life Happens in the Extremes: A hand pulls it back. The pendulum swings–back and forth. It’s been disturbed from... http://bit.ly/ntQNgR
  3. Jason Stasyszen - New Blog Post: Life Happens in the Extremes http://ow.ly/1dXVxS
  4. Glynn Young - Life Happens int he Extremes, by @br8kthru at Connecting to Impact. http://bit.ly/mVxCSk
  5. Ryan Tate - RT @br8kthru: Life Happens in the Extremes http://t.co/Eh2U9cp #owaat
  6. Helenatrandom - RT @br8kthru: Life Happens in the Extremes http://t.co/zOAYG5p #owaat
  7. Jason Stasyszen - RT @gyoung9751: Life Happens int he Extremes, by @br8kthru at Connecting to Impact. http://bit.ly/mVxCSk <<thanks so much Glynn!
  8. Jason Stasyszen - RT @taterhouse: RT @br8kthru: Life Happens in the Extremes http://t.co/Eh2U9cp #owaat <<really appreciate it, Ryan. :)
  9. Jason Stasyszen - RT @helenatrandom: RT @br8kthru: Life Happens in the Extremes http://t.co/zOAYG5p #owaat <<Helen Joy, you are a rock star. :)
  10. Jason Stasyszen - RT @kevinmartineau: RT @br8kthru: Life Happens in the Extremes http://t.co/jvmrUBn <<really appreciate it, Kevin!

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