WARNING: High Fall Risk!

“Help, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!

Last month my wife, Rachel, was in the hospital for surgery, and in her recovery room, posted on the wall, was a magnetic sign that read, “Hi Fall Risk!” (I think the nurses thought I was a little strange for taking pictures of the sign.)

After the procedures that Rachel had to endure were finished she was a bit wobbly, and the doctors wanted to let nurses and technicians know to be careful with Rachel’s balance. (Rachel is still recovering, but is at home and doing much better—thanks for asking.)

The picture made me think about how grateful I am to have hands and feet. Obviously this guy in the picture is a “High Fall Risk”—he has no hands or feet! This sign also made me think about when you and I find ourselves near a “Hi Fall Risk.” No, I don’t mean physically falling either. At 6’8″—300+ pounds the idea of me falling is not a pretty sight! I am talking about falling spiritually—which can lead to (I believe) falling in other areas of life as well. Don’t you think? Here are a few things that put me/us at a high risk of spiritual unbalance.

1. No time in God’s presence. I know I am guilty of this one. With 6 kids, a full time ministry, and about a half dozen side projects sometimes the only time I spend with God is when I am preparing a message or praying with other people.  In order to remain “balanced” we all need to be spending time in God’s presence with no agenda other than to hear what God might want to say to us that day.

Jesus, in John 10, talks about the sheep that recognize the voice of the good shepherd. Are you spending enough time with God that you would recognize His voice and recognize what is NOT his voice?

 1-5 “Let me set this before you as plainly as I can. If a person climbs over or through the fence of a sheep pen instead of going through the gate, you know he’s up to no good—a sheep rustler! The shepherd walks right up to the gate. The gatekeeper opens the gate to him and the sheep recognize his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he gets them all out, he leads them and they follow because they are familiar with his voice. They won’t follow a stranger’s voice but will scatter because they aren’t used to the sound of it.” John 10:1-5

2. Accountability. Do you have trusted people in your life that you have given permission to hold you accountable? If there isn’t anyone in your life that you have trusted to see all parts of your life then often times, by the time you are falling and need help, the situation can end up being more of a recovery operation than a rescue mission. Don’t get me wrong—God can redeem all things, but why let a situation get farther than it should?

I will say that both Rachel and I have several people in our lives that care very deeply about us and would drop everything to make sure that we were OK. There are a few men in my life that I have given full permission to be honest with me about all areas in my life, and I have promised to listen and at least hear what they are trying to tell me—because I know they are sharing difficult things with me in love. However, it’s up to me to make sure I am being honest and asking for guidance and prayer.

 16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. James 5:16

3. No Margins.  Margins (or lack there of) has been one of my biggest growth areas over the last few years.  Part of my maturing process has been learning that I can’t do it all, and understanding that I have to say, “No” to certain things in order to be healthy. I recently finished reading “Love Does” (Affiliate Link) by Bob Goff, and one of the things he says in that book really has helped me think about prioritizing what gets attention in my life and what doesn’t. (I highly recommend the book by the way)

“I used to be afraid of failing at something that really mattered to me, but now I am more afraid at succeeding at things that don’t matter.” Bob Goff—Love Does (Affiliate Link)

15  Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.  Ephesians 5:15-17


How about you? What helps you live a balanced faith journey? Have you had dry/fallen times, spiritually, where you needed help? What worked? What didn’t?

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  • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

    6’8″? You look shorter than that in your picture. :-)

    I recognize the pattern of praying for others or preparing a message so I delve a little deeper in the Word. I find though I need to go to God more in prayer or in study when I’m involved and interested in others. I’ve finally figured out that prayer and Scripture are first-of-the-morning priorities. If I don’t go to God early, I may not go to Him at all.

    Thanks for a good word. God bless–Tom

  • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

    I thought the same thing about his height! I was like 6’8″? That’s tall!

  • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

    I had quite a long dry spell when it came to spending time with God. Life felt so rushed and chaotic. It still does but I made a decision to start the day out with the reading of His word and a little time in prayer. I did this by creating a bit more margin in my life, waking up earlier than normal. It’s not always easy but it’s doable.

  • http://www.changevolunteers.org/ Change Volunteer

    I was led onto your blog through Michaels. I must say I am quite impressed with your blog too. I will keep reading. For me maintaining spiritual balance is not letting go. I treat each and everything as a sign from God. I listen to the signs like at a traffic signal I am thinking about a question and the light turns green, it is a sign from God to say “Yes, go ahead” Holding on is the key for me.

  • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

    Thanks for your encouraging words! I love how you ended with “holding on is the key.” I really appreciated those words… I know sometimes when I have gone a few days with out searching for where God is leading me it’s easier the next day to do the same—nothing. But, if we can hold on each day to the promises that God gives us than we are heading in the right direction! Thanks again for your comment!

  • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

    What you describe seems like a daily battle for me… rushed, chaotic, and the morning centering routine is one that I need to be more disciplined about! I loke how you ended with… It’s not easy—but doable! Great reminder!

  • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

    I know! You are so right! I am going through a transition in my life of “reforming the night owl.” I am a late night person, or I was, and at 42 I don’t have the stamina that i used to have, so I ma trying to get to bed earlier in order to wake up and have some time in scripture and prayer.

    The problem is that when I way wake up I have been trained to start thinking (almost anxiously) about what needs to be done in the day… I need to be more disciplined with the morning approach—even though my ministry entails so many of those things!

    Thanks Tom!

  • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

    I am actually only 5’20″!

  • Stephen P. “Gutty” Gutridge

    Barry, you hit the nail on the head. I would like to suggest that the lack of a disciplined Bible reading plan is another area that can lead to a fall. I love God’s Word, but I don’t always want to read it. Yet, having a plan of reading to which I am committed has helped me through those dry spells. Thank you for this thoughtful and catchy blog post.

  • http://Coachingcomrade.com/ Pat

    You’re speaking my language here! I am a night person not an early morning person. BUT I am trying to change my body clock too. I want to arise earlier and read while the stillness of the day is still evident; instead of feeling like I”m behind the 8 ball because it’s late morning and my engine is just starting to turn over while everyone else is already in full swing.

    I found a way to curb those racing thoughts though…keep your cell phone next to your bed and take notes on your thoughts by putting them into a color note page. Then they’re not forgotten and you can refer to them the next day.

    I guess what I”m realizing about the night/day person issue God structured the world to arise in the morning and sleep when night comes. I guess I’ve been following a “learned” pattern and really need to pattern myself (in all of my ways) after God’s great plan!

    Thanks for the thought provoking post!

  • The Ordained Barista

    I am right there with you! I wonder if you can’t really get there, understanding rising with God early in the am, until you are a bit older? When you are young you can really burn the candle at both ends and it’s no till you are a bit older that you realize you can’t do it on your own strength—all the time. Thanks for making me feel like I am not alone!!!!!

  • The Ordained Barista

    I am with you! Setting up the plan so that during the dry spells you are guarded is so key… So many times I want to only go to God during the storm, but it’s during the less stressful time that we can prepare, with God, to get ready and have a good foundation during the hard times! It doesn’t always work like that, but that’s life.

  • http://www.growing4life.net/ Leslie A

    Great thoughts! All three are so important to staying balanced, therefore helping us not to fall. I had to chuckle about your comments regarding taking the picture. Many are the times that I take pictures for my blog posts that I am sure make no logical sense to those watching!

  • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

    Leslie, YES! It doesn’t help that I am almost 7 feet tall and can’t blend in no matter what I do! Yesterday I was taking pictures of a trash can at work and people passing by had NO IDEA what was going on! too funny!
    Thanks for taking the time to stop by and leave a comment! I really appreciate it!