During their specialized instruction the pilots were studying the importance of constantly giving attention to all the instrumentation, gauges and indicators on the plane’s control panel.
They were told the true story of a jet airliner flying at 35,000+ feet at night about 100 miles out from the airport. After receiving instructions from the air traffic controller, they started to slowly make their descent down through a heavy cloud cluster. This particular pilot was quite experienced, having landed jets hundreds of time in the past. But this time was a bit different, dreadfully different.
Suddenly the head pilot exclaimed, “Whaaat? …What’s going on?”
The gauge displaying the pitch and level of the plane was showing them ascending (not descending). They were climbing higher and higher. No one knows why both he and his assistant pilot became so anxious and focused on this one malfunctioning gauge (though it was the main one). There was another back-up gauge along with other indicators that were working fine.
Not having a visual in the midst of the heavy clouds, the pilot believed the main gauge, pushing his steering wheel slowly forward to make the plane descend toward the runway. However, the instrument kept reading they were ascending higher.
The recording reported the tense voices from the cockpit, which became frantic to the extreme when they finally discovered their terrible error. Horribly, it was too late! They drove the plane right down into the ground. There were no survivors.
In pilot language their tragic error is called “fixation.” To us, that means having a fixed focus without considering other areas of importance. It’s called “being out of balance.”
A life out of balance can also have disastrous consequences.
Find balancing on a firm foundation
When considering maintaining a life balance, it’s important to make a master list of each area of our life. Each one needs special attention on a daily or weekly basis. Of course, different “life balance” programs are easily found on the Internet identifying the basic areas. This list will typically include career, health, money, family and friends, personal growth, marriage, rest and entertainment.
But where does the wisdom come from to keep everything balanced and healthy?
To help answer that question best, let’s consider another illustration: a garden. Gardens may have many plants including a variety of vegetables, perhaps several fruits and even a plethora of beautiful flowers.
How does a gardener maintain the healthiness of all those different kinds of plants at once? Our answer is admittedly a bit of a simplification, but the secret is in the quality of the soil. If the soil is good, filled with plenty of nutrients, all of the plants will grow, be healthy and produce fruitfully.
The soil of our life is our heart. If our heart is maintained properly, then career, health, marriage, relationships and every area of our daily living are affected.
King Solomon wrote in his wisdom book of Proverbs, “Keep your heart with all diligence for out of it flows the issues of your life” (Proverbs 4:22, NLT).
Just like a master gardener fertilizes and waters the soil of his/her garden, it helps us immeasurably to fertilize and water the soil of our inner man. All the areas of our life desperately need to draw nourishment and strength from a strong inner spirit and soul.
Words of wisdom
Please consider how the following great spirits say the same thing.
King Solomon said, “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.”
President Abraham Lincoln said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” (Oh, how we need to keep our heart sharp!)
Pastor TD Jakes said, “If you think down, you will go down. If you think up, you will go up. You’ll always go in the direction of your thinking.”
President Abraham Lincoln suggested, “Whatever you are, be a good one!”
Jesus Christ said in the Scriptures, “If your eye is single, your whole body will be full of light…Blessed are those who hear the word of God, and keep it.”
So I say, Help me Lord to…think great thoughts, keep my heart sharp, always think up and not down, keep a single eye, hear the Word of God and keep it in my heart, and keep my heart right.
One more powerful thing. The beginning of a wise heart is the highest respect for The Lord (Proverbs 9:10, paraphrased).
If we have not started at the beginning, then we have not yet started. Sometimes life gets out of balance and confusing. Sometimes it’s time to reboot and start over again to get things back to where they should be.
Rabbinic teaching declares that all our life is an extension of the Morning Prayer, and that prayer itself is the focal point around which one’s entire day is centered.
For me, whenever things seem to be getting out of balance, it’s time to get rid of “me” and reboot with “Him.”
Steve Davis, Ed.S. is an adjunct professor at Trinity International University who writes about personal development and education. He can be reached at [email protected]