This morning I woke up to a different tune as the birds song came drifting through the screen of my patio door. Listening intently it struck me that it wasn’t as sweet sounding as it was the day before. In fact, it sounded more like complaining.
I imagined the birds feeling a little like this…”Great, another hot day and my nest happens to be in the direct sunlight! Oh, right! It’s Thursday which means that ugly old guy is going to come by and blow on my house with that long stick of his and mess things up! Dust everywhere, leaves everywhere and noise! There will be no rest for me! Must I listen to my little guys chirping all day wanting more food and all of my attention? Oh, I wonder if my birdies daddy plans on bringing dinner home or if I am going to have to go out and get it myself…and the crows! Must I have them swooping down on my nest all day attempting to snatch up my little guys destroying all I’ve so proudly toiled over for my family. All the rodents out there and they want what I have, can’t they go somewhere else for breakfast! Looks like another day of protecting my young and dodging the attacks of the enemy. Oh…look over there across the treetops, the grass appears to be greener on the other side…I wonder if I’d be happier over there…”
It reminded me of a commercial (see the link below) and how we tend to think what others have might bring us more happiness in life. Thoughts of having it all or having more can distract us and take us to a place where we no longer consider the risk of being disrespectful or losing what we love. Hard fact but we’re faced with the decision to be content with what God has provided to us every day as we look across our tree tops.
Even Abraham and Lot faced this dilemma as they looked across the land of the Jordan Valley. (Genesis 13:1-18) What looked like having it all to Lot and his need for more ended up being his downfall and brought Lot and his family so much loss and sorrow. If only they would have been content with what God had provided them at that moment and time. May we be mindful of how Greener…Bigger…are not always better.
Most People Don’t Know What They Want…But it is something different from what they have.
In the beginning of May a little bird built its nest outside my bedroom window and began singing me awake every morning between 3:00am – 3:30am. At first I thought, how sweet! But that did not last long as this became an every morning occurrence and I was getting worn out from a lack of sleep. After about a week of this I came to the conclusion this little bird must be on East Coast time and I began to pray it would adjust to PDT. However, this did not happen.
It was during this same week I sensed God asking me to “Be still”. Everywhere I went I’d see a sign, a verse, or in my reading these words would pop up, “Be Still”. God often speaks to me through these types of repeated occurrences so I knew, it was him trying to get my attention. However, it can be a challenge for me to be still for long periods of time as my mind begins to race to other things I feel need my attention. It really takes quiet and discipline. The next week I made a point to sit quietly and pray over the things I felt God was nudging me about but after no “Ah Ha” moment I became frustrated. Not to mention I was growing impatient with the little song bird waking me up every morning at 3am.
One thing I know about God is when he wants to teach us something, show us something or tell us something he can be relentless in trying to get our attention. For this I am thankful as I long to know more of God and understand his ways. I am thankful he pursues me with the intent to bring me closer to him and closer to the things he has for me.
So I found myself becoming anxious to unlock this secret of why God needed me to be still and why was this bird waking me every morning at the same time. No matter how much I tried during my meditation and devotional time I found myself struggling with my inability to wrap my heart and mind around what it was God was asking of me, and questions of what, when, how, what, when, how began to race through my mind.
I wanted my “ah ha” moment!
It was after a month of waiting and being woken up by the song bird when I was sitting in Mariners Saturday night service listening to our high school pastor preach. While wrapping up the message he touched on surrender and how important it is to “Be Still” in order to know more of what God has for us, and may be asking of us. Now I know this, I have learned this and I have practiced it. But for some reason God was calling my attention back to being still and I found myself asking, “God, is there something I need to surrender?” I thought I had finally surrendered everything when moving to So Cal but I could not help but feel there was something I might be hanging on to. Our pastor preceded to describe a guy holding onto a raft with one hand while in the water and using his other hand to help keep him a float and I knew I’d been there before! That feeling of having to hang onto something vs. just letting go and letting God.
As I left church I was conflicted in my ability to “surrender” but more determined than ever to see myself as God sees me, and to learn of what it was I had not completely let go and trusted God for in my attempt to Surrender all things.
The next morning I pulled out my Life Group lesson and as I turned the page there it was again, “Be Still”. And then I thought about my new visitor who sings me to wake every morning and there it was, my “Ah Ha” moment!
It was in that hour of no distraction I discovered I had my heart wrapped tight around some things I’d considered surrendered to God. Apparently I had kept my grip on some things God wanted back. My heart was moved by the truth of how God has my back and knows what breaks my heart and what brings joy. And so it began to make sense to me. God was asking me to be still so he could show me the things I had yet to completely surrender. The concerns I’d been hanging onto. He wanted all of them so I could be free to spend time with him and learn more of who he is and what he has for me.
Who knows our heart better than anyone? The One who formed us in the womb. The One who placed our heart and soul divinely into our human body with the hope that we’d discover our great need for him.
So in my inability to surrender all to God he stepped in and began singing to me outside my window through a little bird. During the day he worked to capture my attention through my readings, billboards, and through the words of others in hopes of getting me to be still and quiet long enough to hear of how surrendering is the beginning of learning to trust him in and for all things. I’ll have you know my song bird is no longer waking me up so I must be doing ok for now.
The bird also has found a house, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, Even Your altars, O Lord of hosts, My King and My God. How blessed are those who dwell in Your house!
Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?