“Sometimes I believe that I can do anything…
Yet other times I think I’ve got nothing good to bring.”
Those lines are the third verse of Francesca Battistelli’s “Free to be Me.” The first time I heard it, I secretly claimed the lyrics as mine. Because, as I experience the world in my skin, with my gifts and goofs, and my unique brand of “I’ve found my calling” mixed with “what was I thinking?” I realize that I am living out the counterpoint she describes.
Yes. Sometimes, I do believe that I may simply tip over – leaning so far toward “I can do this” that it’s almost impossible to contain my enthusiasm, confidence and energy. Which may be followed closely by a serious dose of “Good grief, Nancy, you are SOOOOO far over your head.” And sometimes those aren’t just good days and bad days, or weeks, or months.
No, these east vs. west states of mind have given me the emotional version of whiplash. In a matter of moments, I might go from feeling so filled with joy that I’m certain I will explode… to feeling so broken that I fear I may just crumble away.
So, for a long time, my life word has been “balance.” I continually pray that I may thankfully and graciously embrace my true abilities and gifts and talents… as well as admit that I am the work in progress God continues to mold.
And, I pray that I will keep my levels of competence and confidence as balanced as possible. I picture that little yellow plastic scale we used in school to practice weight equivalencies, carefully placing tiny brass weights on each side until the pointer is perfectly vertical. We celebrated the balance. And when precious artwork is hung, we painstakingly check to make sure that neither the left nor the right side is too high. We stand back and admire the view when that little bubble in the level is dead center.
Now, I can’t find where or why “dead” became known as a synonym for “utterly” or “absolutely.” But it did. And I’m a bit put off that we continue to use “dead center” to mean perfectly centered, or in the middle, or balanced. No, the center, the place where the scale comes to a stop and the bubble finds a home, that place of rest is certainly not dead.
And in life, it’s an oasis of peace where we can sense God’s blessing. It is not dead. I believe it is true living.
It is the living center.