I love watching a good juggler. Someone who’s talented. Skilled. Well trained. They can keep their eye on a number of balls at once and steer them all to do seemingly wonderful things.

I can’t juggle. I’ve tried it and find it hard to know where to focus. But to be fair, I’ve never been taught how. Being trained by a good practitioner would probably make all the difference.

What about juggling the demands of life? We need all the training we can get for that too! Here’s a piece of advice I’ve found helpful: ‘The trick to juggling is determining which balls are made of rubber and which are made of glass.’

Spending a week each year at the New Wine N&E Summer Conference involves some juggling for me. As well as attending sessions and leading a seminar this year I’m busy most days seeing people and having various meetings and conversations. I’m also trying to have time with family and time to pray and think. But how well am I doing, juggling all these things? Maybe it comes back to me asking, ‘what am I here for?’ Is it for vicar-ing? father-ing? husband-ing? speaking? networking? or something else? The answer is a bit of them all. But the problem with that is that I probably don’t do any of them as well as I’d like. This I’m sure can be frustrating both for me and for others. 

Most of us at some time have to juggle competing demands – and it’s not easy. So how do we resolve this? The answer I think is to focus. To work out what is primary and to do that well. Having done that, if we can then do other things too, all well and good. To focus on ‘one thing’ is actually very biblical and there are multiple exams of people in the bible who encourage us to focus in this way (eg. Lk 10:42; Ps 27:4; 2 Peter 3:8; Phil 3:13).

So although this New Wine has been good for me, next year I will be working harder at simplifying my use of time, aiming to focus on one primary role. Which one? I have yet to decide, but I suspect it’ll be one where the balls are made of glass – that will be damaged if they’re mishandled. If I do that, the other rubber ones can hit the floor, bounce for a bit and be caught later.

What about you? Maybe today you’d like to pray with me for discernment – so you too can distinguish the glass balls from the rubber ones.