More Circles


Last week I mentioned here about circles.

I’ve been having a little issue in my life lately about circles.

The best way I can describe it is in terms of the old plate spinners we used to see in the circus when we were kids.

A man (or woman—although I only remember women being the assistants in those days) would have 5 or 6 thin poles. One by one he’d place a glass plate on the top of one pole and set it to spinning.

Once he got the 3rd or 4th plate spinning, the first one he’d spun would begin to wobble. So, he’d need to sprint back down to the beginning of the line to give that first plate another good spin before he could go on.

With every plate he’d set into motion, he’d need to glance back at the others to see if they were losing momentum and needed a boost.

Some would wobble.

At times they’d nearly fall.

But this dude was a professional plate spinner. He knew just how to keep everything in motion. So the crowd may have “oohed” and “aaawed”, thinking the plates were going to cease spinning.

But they never did.

Instead this plate-spinning genius gave a thrilling performance and the kids and their parents clapped and cheered.

Yes ma’am, he was a professional!

Man, could he spin those plates.

I, on the other hand, often stink at plate spinning.  And just what the crowd feared might happen to the professional actually happens to me.

I just can’t quite get to one of my plates when it starts to wobble. And so….


…..something (or even someone) comes crashing down, shattering into a hundred shards of glass.

These circular plates for us take many forms: people we love, positions we hold, places we must drive, possessions we own, priorities we verbalize.

While it is often easy for us to verbalize our priorities (plates 1 through 5, let’s say) sometimes by the time we get to spinning plate #5 (or plate #11 or #12!!) we have let plate #1 or #2 falter and fall.


Well,  we have pieces to pick up.

I hate picking up pieces.

I’d much rather keep my plates spinning and soaring happily.

So what is my problem sometimes?

Too many plates!!!!!

I want to have a conversation here this week about plate spinning and the circles we run in (literally!) and hopefully we can come up with some ‘circle’ solutions and ‘dropped plate’ preventions.

So let’s start here:

  • What are the plates you must spin?
  • Do you have more plates than you’d like?
  • Do you pick up plates that you never wish you had? Why?
  • And what frustrates you most when it comes to plate spinning?

No solutions yet (save those ideas for Wednesday or Friday :-)) We’ll all be anxious to hear!

Spin away!


  1. Looking back as a 54 y.o. Mom of two grown sons, I think we have to remember that not all of those plates we’re trying to spin are made of glass. Remember the talk by the Coca-cola exec that “Work is a Rubber Ball.”

    I left the work force for many years when my sons were small and have never regretted it. That plate didn’t shatter when it dropped — it bounced back later. BUT had I not listened to my little son after I had said “Maybe later” one too many times and he replied, “Maybe never.” That’s a plate that could have shattered.

    We forget to put the most important things first. And we get into the mindset that only I can do it. Maybe you’re cheating someone else out of sharing their God-given talent to lead the Bible Study, bake the cupcakes, etc., by continuing to spin a plate that God is asking you to let go.

  2. I have been thinking about this all day…The LORD has been talking to me about this subject for a few weeks as well…I have been trying to keep too many plates spinning…so that the first one falls off and I don’t have the energy to keep the others spinning…Of course the first one is God…I have been taking some plates off and putting them in the cupboard so it is getting a bit easier…but I have to keep that first one spinning and then the second is my husband…that one has been tetering as well…I have a hard time deciding which plates to pull off…God is first…family (immediate) then extended, church, friends, me–studying God’s word and taking care of me (Dr and personal fun), others I meet…and the list goes on…Like Crystal was saying, if I don’t do it will it get done…especially at church…but I assume that if God tells me to release it He has someone in mind to take over…Hummmm…lots to think about.

  3. Must spin: Being the wife, being the mommy and all that entails with school and keeping the house running. Volunteer jobs that I can fit into our life without disrupting being the mommy and wife.
    I am 49 and no longer have more plates than I would like. Learned that lesson in my early forties and am sooo done doing more than I can.
    I have picked up plates I wished I hadn’t and have learned how not to. They usually get picked up when I say yes, rather than, “Can I think about that. I will call you back.” I have learned that there are times that my no gives someone else the opportunity to say yes! We can’t do it all and we mustn’t pretend we can.
    What frustrates me most when it comes to plate spinning? That nothing gets done well AND that sometimes the least important plate gets more time than the most important plate!!!

  4. The plates I must spin: caring for my family, working to earn needed income for said family, volunteer work at church and schools, caring for the house and all it involves (shopping, cooking, cleaning, bookkeeping, etc.). At times I spin more – such as the times I’ve cared for dying parents. I do not consider my relationship with God a plate to spin – it is the center of my life, and without Him, I do not function at all.
    Do I have more plates than I’d like? Sometimes. For example, when I was caring for my dying parents (which happened one after the other, and then my husband’s dad – so it seemed for six years or so there was always someone)I cannot let go of the other plates, so that is hard. On the other hand, I enjoy the things I do. I just wish that sometimes there was a little less of them. For example, I offered to volunteer in the kids’ classrooms now that the youngest is in school. I love kids, and I used to be a substitute teacher, so this is good in itself. But…they require it to be a weekly commitment. I would much rather it be a bi-weekly commitment. I guess I need to get up the courage to suggest that bi-weekly would be better for me, but I haven’t yet. I am still too much into pleasing others (the teachers) and I don’t want to be told that it’s weekly or nothing. :(
    Do I pick up plates that I never wish I had? YES. A free housekeeper would be nice. Or a personal shopper – I hate shopping more than almost anything. LOL Why do I do it? Because I feel that they are my role/responsibility; and nobody else will do the jobs. And I do not have the money to hire them out, or the time to barter to get them done because I have to work so much.
    What frustrates me most about plate spinning? trying to delegate a plate, and no one will take it – so I either have to keep it spinning or let it crash. And when it crashes, having others blame me for letting it crash – because “you’re the mom – that’s your job.” My human self wants to say that if we’re going back to the Beaver Cleaver days, then making all the money is someone else’s job, which would give me the time to spin the other plates. But no – if there’s a need I step in to fulfill it the best I can. I think that when my husband and I are both working so hard (keeping plates spinning) that we get tired and grumpy and sometimes forget to appreciate each other and all that we do. That is hard, too. And in a way, it’s even hard to ask for help at all when you know the other one is already doing a lot. I honestly think that the two of us are doing the work of four.

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