Juggling or Orbits?

by | Sep 11, 2019 | Blog, Christian Living, Discipleship, Family

How often have you said or heard someone say something like, “I’m having trouble juggling all the different things in my life”? It’s even more notable when I hear it from a young adult who is single without the responsibilities of children, or home ownership, or leading a team for a business or ministry. I truly believe they mean what they say, as much as I have meant it when I’ve said it myself.

Yet it eventually occurred to me that the metaphor of juggling sets us up for failure and discouragement when a ball gets dropped along the way. There are many things in our lives that we should always take responsibility for on an ongoing basis, to our spouse and children, to our particular vocation, to our weekly gathering as believers in church, to personal care and well-being.

It may help to rethink the metaphor and consider the concept of a solar system with planets orbiting around the sun at various distances. Many of these important things in life are not going away and instead of trying to merely juggle them, how about getting them into proper orbits around the Son.

“When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained, What is man that You are mindful of him, And the son of man that You visit him?” Psalms 8:3-4




“For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities–all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” Colossians 1:16-17

The important things in life need to orbit around Christ who is able to keep them in motion. But not all areas of life should have equal attention. Some things need to have longer orbits.

For instance, Mars takes 687 days to orbit the sun, almost twice the amount of time for the Earth. Jupiter takes a whopping 4,333 days to orbit the sun. Saturn is 10,759 days. Neptune? 60,190 days compared with Mercury’s 88-day orbit.

So what is the Mercury in your life? I want to encourage you to have your personal relationship with Jesus be the closest orbit. Your spiritual well-being is going to affect all the other orbits and if you don’t have this one right then the rest are going to struggle and you will find yourself reverting back to juggling life.

If you are married then your spouse is your Venus, and though the planet Venus has no moons, if you have children, then your Venus has one or more that will orbit together.

What should orbit next? What is the Earth in your planetary system? Some would say your vocation, but I would suggest involvement in your local church. I’m not saying that because I’m a pastor of a local church but because Jesus taught, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” Matthew 6:33. The congregation of Christians is the invention of Christ and has been foundational for His kingdom for over 2000 years.

You’ll have to determine what is your Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. The most important point I hope to make is that they all need to orbit around the Son, Jesus Christ.

So stop all the juggling and attempting to keep all the various things in your life in motion. Instead, submit each of them to God and ask for His help and guidance to keep them in the proper orbit.

Who is Phillip Telfer? What is the core of my identity? I’m a child of God and a disciple of Jesus Christ. What you do is not as important as who you are. But in case you’re wondering about what I do, here you go…

Husband & Father: Mary and I have been married for 32 years and blessed with 4 children, one fantastic son-in-law, and three precious grandchildren.

Minister: I serve as a pastor by day (and night) and I’m the founder and director of the nonprofit ministry Media Talk 101

Coffee Nut: When I’m not serving the flock, I’m serving good, home roasted coffee to family and friends.

Woodworker: Another hobby that has “turned” into a small family business is woodturning. Working with wood a little bit each week keeps me sane in this big world of personalities.

Film Festival Director: Since that didn’t seem like enough on my plate I also started the annual Christian Worldview Film Festival and Filmmakers Guild.

Author: When there’s time to spare, I love to take  a Pilot G2 gel pen and a pad of paper and write! I used to pour a lot of creative writing energy into music, and now that has shifted to the fun of writing a novel.

Musician: I got my start in ministry as a singer/songwriter. It’s been over a decade since I last recorded any music but be on the lookout for new music in 2023 on your favorite streaming service.