Take a moment to think about the title of this article. You may notice it is a line from William Butler Yeats’ poem, The Second Coming.

Think of a moment in your life when your center could not hold and things fell apart.

What do you think was the cause?

I’ve discovered three common things that often throw people’s worlds upside down.

When the Center Cannot Hold and Things Fall Apart

1. Lack of orderliness in our pursuit of passions

We have many passions.

There is a primary passion or calling that belongs at the center of our lives for a for a specific season. It’s almost as if there is a divine blessing on that primary passion. When we put it at the center of our lives and devote much of our time, talent, and treasures to it, every other passion we have falls into place around it. If we try to put a secondary passion at the center of our lives by giving it most of our attention and focus, chaos happens. Anarchy is loosed upon our world.

2. Deviating from one’s core values

Besides our passions, we each have a set of core values by which we lead our lives. This is true whether we can identify these core values or not. When life circumstances, peer pressure, or the desire to cut corners to get ahead quickly cause us to leave the sure path guided by our core values, our lives go topsy-turvy. The center no longer holds. Chaos sets in. Anarchy is loosed upon our worlds.

3. Deviating from your true definition of success

To go with our true core values, we each have a definition of success that aligns with our deepest core values. When we live and measure our lives by this true definition of success, we see meaning in our lives and there is unity within us. However, very often, we are tempted to try to keep up with the Joneses. We start comparing ourselves with our neighbors and pitting their achievements against ours. Very soon, the bottom falls out, the ground beneath us gives way. And the center no longer holds for us.