Keeping up the balloons

Image: Keeping up the balloons

Do you have too much going on?

With exams approaching, tests, quizzes, and the athletics carnival in just two days,  Denise was like a bobble-head on a bumpy road.

“You remember that balloon game,” said Denise to her best friend Jenna during lunch, “Where a bunch of balloons are tossed into the air and you lose if even one hits the ground?” Denise shoved a granola bar into her mouth and rummaged through her backpack, “Where is that schedule?”

Jenna laughed. “Which one?”

“All right now,” said Denise. “Balloon game. Do you know what I’m talking about?”

Jenna smiled, “Yeah, I know it. Why? Are you planning a birthday party or something?”

“Oh no, I just feel like I’m running crazy trying to....” Denise’s phone alarm interrupted her thought. She glanced at the screen. “I’m late to Art club!” Denise darted into the hallway only to duck back into the doorway. “Hey Jenna! When’s the formal again? I don’t even have a dress yet!”

Only a moment thereafter, the teacher on duty walked over to Jenna who sat quietly, by herself.

“Happy Birthday, Miss Jenna!” said the teacher, to Jenna’s pleasant surprise.

“Thank you. Thank you for remembering.”


Late that evening, Denise was up studying for tomorrow’s biology test. Her family went to bed hours ago, and actually, in just twelve minutes she’d be studying for today’s biology test.  Denise could hardly keep her eyelids up. Unusually, however, exhaustion wasn’t her greatest distraction at the moment.

I feel like I’m forgetting something.

Denise couldn’t shake the thought. She pulled out her academic schedule listing today’s assignments. Check. Check. Check. Next, Denise checked at her athletic schedule. Practice. Fill out running log. Give parent form to Mum or Dad. Check. Check. Check. Only just before closing her small, busting calendar, Denise noticed a small drawing to the left of today’s date.

“Oh no!” Denise looked to the clock just as it flipped its digits to midnight. It’s too late. Denise stared at the tiny red balloon Jenna had drawn on her calendar weeks ago. At the time, they discussed throwing a party or at least, getting a group together for pizza.

I am a terrible friend, thought Denise. This was the most important balloon today, and I let it touch the ground.

The next day

The next morning, Denise somberly greeted Jenna with a helium-filled “Happy Belated Birthday” balloon and a thousand apologies. “I forgive you,” said Jenna. “It was just - well, super lonely.”

“Well,” said Denise, pulling out her calendar, “I could do pizza Saturday night after the meet?  Or, I suppose a really early morning if you want to get up at like-”

“You know, Denise,” interrupted Jenna with a frown, “You know the balloon game you were talking about the other day?”

“Mmm hmm,” Denise put away her calendar and listened.

“Well, I was thinking. And when I’ve played that game, you’re only assigned a certain color balloon to keep in the air. Either that, or you’ve a team to help each other.” Denise nodded as Jenna went on. “You must listen to what the instructor tells you, but you’re never responsible for all the balloons. And certainly, never by yourself.”

“You’re right,” said Denise. “I’ve been trying to do it all, rather than what is only mine to do. It’s why I forgot your birthday.” Denise smiled and looked up, “Jenna, you’re one of the most important people in my life.”

Jenna tugged on her ribboned balloon with a smile. “Here’s how I figure it, Denise. All the balloons God doesn’t say are yours to keep up, he’ll fill with helium if they’re meant to not drop. Ours is just to-”

“Wait!” Denise interrupted. “I think I know. “Ours is just to listen to our Instructor.”

“Exactly,” said Jenna. “Now, give me that calendar of yours. I’ve got a formal dress to draw on next Saturday!”

Apply it

Is it possible you’re so focussed on your tasks, even good and Godly tasks, you may be missing God’s people in the process?

There were a bazillion things Jesus could have done during the day when he was a man on Earth. Read the following verses and note how Jesus sets our priorities.

  • Luke 10:42
  • Galatians 5:13
  • Romans 12:9-13
  • Hebrews 3:13

This week, what is one way you will change your priorities to liken them to Christ’s? Are there any balloons you need to let drop?

Put a balloon in your locker or bedroom as a reminder. When you see it, consider: Which tasks has God personally assigned for me to keep up? Is this alone, or am I on a team?

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