OK, I admit it. Even though I’m an avid bicyclist, I’m just as happy riding on one wheel. After all, I’ve been unicycling since I was eleven years old. But one of my greatest joys in retirement is teaching other kids to unicycle as part of the “Juggling Masters” program offered at an elementary school near my home in Brownsburg, Indiana.

Any kid I’ve ever taught knows that when they get up on a unicycle for the first time, the very first thing I’m going to do is help them “find their center.” This involves me supporting the child (usually with a bar that we both hold onto) while they try to find the position in which their weight is perfectly centered over the seat. Only when I can tell they’re centered do I have them start to pedal.

And that’s where the challenge is.

You see, because in unicycling there’s only one small point of contact with the ground, there’s no such thing as standing still. Rather, it’s always a matter of maintaining a moving center, which is where the real balancing act comes in.

If you ask me, it’s not much different with our spiritual lives. Yes, we’re called by God to be active in the world—going where the needs are, listening, serving, reaching out. At the same time, though, we also need to stay centered in God—to remember who we are and whose we are, and to nurture that primary relationship. Otherwise, we’ll find life getting out of balance and will become frustrated, exhausted, and less effective in all we do.

The apostle Paul summarized it well when he said one time, “In him (God) we live and move and have our being.” (Acts 17:28) Jesus also talked about the importance of balance once when he was in the home of Lazarus, Martha, and Mary. Martha, who was busy in the kitchen, was upset with her sister Mary for just sitting and listening at Jesus’ feet. So, Jesus said to her, “Martha, you’re worried and distracted by many things. But only one thing is really necessary, and Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:41-42)

 So, how centered are you right now? Are you balanced in your busy-ness, or is it time to stop and reconnect with the One in whom we live and move and have our being?

Prayer: God of our being, help me to always stay centered in you, even as I seek to serve you in the world. Amen

Dave Marty is a retired pastor who lives with his wife, Mary, in Brownsburg, Indiana. They have two beautiful daughters, two great sons-in-law, and two creative teenage grandchildren. In addition to cycling (including unicycling), Dave also enjoys gardening, Scrabble, hosting Holy Land tours with Mary, and tutoring kindergarteners at a nearby school