The opposite of worry

I was obsessively fretting this morning. It’s a familiar feeling unfortunately. Distracted from everything I’m supposed to be doing. Picking apart one idea over and over. Wishing everyone would leave me alone so I could just worry.

What if? When? But if? Why? Could…? Should…? AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!

And then, God thumped me in the head. I was at school, in the middle of testing a student, but actually, I was looking out the window, lost in my thoughts. Suddenly, I little bird flew over and landed on the ground outside my window. It started picking the flowers/seeds off a little weed that was growing in the corner of the building. It sat there and ate and ate for several minutes…just as satisfied as it could be. I was fascinated. What I thought was a useless weed was a life source for that little fella.

I mentally rolled my eyes at the ‘God provides for the birds, so I know he’ll provide for me, so I should stop worrying…’ thought. But there it was, right in front of me. A happy little bird chomping away on his sustenance, not fluttering around in a distracted dither. Sure, the little fella had to look for the food, but it was there.

Then it occurred to me…the opposite of worry is action.  Worry is all in the head. I need to get out of my head and get to work. Instead of fretting, I need to focus on the tasks in front of me…finishing this school year and all its mounds of  paperwork, figuring out a birthday gift for my amazing husband, getting supplies ready for Kids Night Out at church. God has provided plenty for me, and I need to tend to what he’s given. He will continue to provide for me, and I’ll see those provisions when they are ready.

When God created Adam and Eve, he gave them a job…tend to the garden and the animals. He wanted them to be active and purposeful. He wanted them to be lively participants in their existence. When they got distracted by the nagging voice that made them worry and doubt, they got themselves in trouble. Eternal trouble. That’s what worry does...infinite damage.

God’s plan is for me to be doing what is in front of me while he takes care of what’s not in front of me yet. Tending to my flocks, gathering food, keeping my family clean, filling out my reports and eliminating my piles of end-of-year paperwork. Truly, this is all I can handle. I MUST leave the rest up to him.

Credit: digitalbirdphotography.com

Matthew 6:26-27, 31-34

26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?   31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

To read another example of how birds have shamed me, try I Know Why the Early Bird Sings.

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He turned the sea into dry land, they passed through the waters on foot— come, let us rejoice in him.  ~Psalm 66:6

Sea Fever
~John Masefield
I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by;
And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking.
I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
                                                   And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.
I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull’s way and the whale’s way where the wind’s like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.
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One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.

            ~Psalm 27:4

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Psalm 121

Assurance of God’s Protection

I lift up my eyes to the hills—
    from where will my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
    who made heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot be moved;
    he who keeps you will not slumber.
He who keeps Israel
    will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord is your keeper;
    the Lord is your shade at your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day,
    nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all evil;
    he will keep your life.
The Lord will keep
    your going out and your coming in
    from this time on and forevermore.

Mercy

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A little bit of mercy makes the world less cold and more just.   ~Pope Francis

I have always found that mercy bears richer fruits than strict justice.    ~Abraham Lincoln

God’s mercy and grace give me hope – for myself, and for our world.   ~Billy Graham

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I know why the early bird sings

4:34 a.m. That seems to be the time when my bladder and my brain collaborate and decide that I’ve slept long enough. No matter what time I go to sleep, they think that time is ideal to awaken me. So, I’ve spent some time pondering the early morning hours.

Honestly, I love the sounds of early morning. Mostly, it’s quiet, peacefully quiet. The quiet of evening is a restless quiet. Cars still drive quickly home, radios still blast…those rowdy teenagers, car doors slam shut, neighbors end their visits in the driveway with nighttime chatter. Even nature rushes more in the evening, it seems. Fireflies flicker, crickets chatter, bats swoop, color drops off the edge of the earth into its bed. Night hurries into position as if to say, ‘Y’all go on to sleep now!’

But morning is slow in coming. As slow as it’s inhabitants.  Bats and bugs and nocturnal wanderers have finished their forays and are snoozing in the peace of dark. Breezes whisper through the leaves, careful not to arouse anyone yet. Dawn slowly creeps into the sky, as if stretching its colors awake. Cars meander down the street, as though they wish they were back home instead of carrying their sleepy passengers to work. The morning tiptoes into place quietly.

But the birds…oh, the birds. So full of energy are their tiny little bodies that they can’t hold in their enthusiasm about a new day. They can’t wait to start pulling worms up from dew-cooled soil. The garden must be explored, the bird feeder must be visited, the bushes must be plucked…a busy day awaits. WAKE UP, WORLD!!! Eight hours of silence is just too long! Being cuddled up in that cozy nest, sitting in that perfectly woven thatch, well, it was nice while it lasted, but there are things to do now! The grass is perspiring, the time is expiring! GET UP, EVERYONE!!

Cheeky little chirpers they are. And as I lay in my bed and wish they would tone it down for about an hour longer, I realize why they are so happy. They look forward to each day. They have cherished families to tend, precious food to gather, refreshing baths to splash…they know what they have to do, and they want to get about doing it. They know that every day, that sun will rise and every night, that sun will fade. Every day, seeds will be available. And every night, rest will be waiting at home for them.  And they want to revel in every moment of it.

Mmmm…I’ve been shamed by birds. Early morning rascals.

morning birds

photo by: randomphotography101.wordpress.com

A little time in the sun

This has been an endless winter. Even though the calendar says it’s spring, meteorologically it’s still winter. We just got 8″ of snow today…and it’s nearly April.

BUT, a week or so ago, we did see the sun. Temps were mild, in the 60s. A few whispery breezes. A weekend of verdant promise. So, we got outside to soak it up like the dry and desperate sponges that we were. Running, kicking a ball, playing tag, hiding and seeking, swinging, inviting friends over…we tried to do it all because we knew that winter was rolling up his next snowball to throw at us.

While the kids were playing, I began to rake some long-forgotten autumn leaves away from a few green daffodil shoots. I love daffodils…so tall and perky…so proud of their victorious bloomin’ accomplishment. I figured they could use some spring cheer, so I stepped in and pulled some vines away and raked a few small piles of leaves away to provide them as much sunlight as possible.

As I raked, I discovered that those few green stalks had some buddies nearby, hidden under the brown mass of leaves. Only these stalks weren’t stately and fresh; quite by contrast, they were stubby and transparently yellow. Image

I was excited to find these little spring rookies and hoped that I wasn’t too late to cheer them. I dug into the leaves, crunchy on top, moist and moldy underneath and scraped them away. The more I scraped, the more shoots I found. Then, I was on a mission…like a dog who had found a long-lost bone. I pulled and raked and scraped and dug until I uncovered about twenty precious signs of life. Weak and disappointed they looked, all that effort of pushing up through winter’s hard soil only to find little comfort, just more gloom. I held out hope that a little time in the sun would help them cheer up.

The next day, I made sure to check on them. Almost exactly twenty-four hours later, they looked like their pioneering posy pals. The sickly yellow of their stems had darkened to a healthy lush green. Though not yet any taller, they stood straighter and more hopeful in the warm rays that shone on them. I showed the kids that the sad little weaklings we had uncovered just the day before now stood a chance at being just as beautiful as their friends…and no one would even know what they’d been through to get there.Image

It’s amazing what a little time in the sun can do.

John 8:12~When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

Go ahead…read John 8:1-12

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John%208&version=NIV

 

Open Arms

They’re calling for snow here, and that makes the little kid inside me go wild. This forecast began a week ago, and truly, I haven’t been able to sleep well since then for the excitement that is brewing within.

I was thinking of snowflakes earlier today and the open-armed way that they greet us earth-dwellers…as though they are just as happy to see us as we are to see them. Wheeeeeeee, they glide and tumble and fall down through the sky to see us. And wheeeeeeeeee, we spin and smile and open our mouths  and arms and hands to catch them.

Open arms. Snowflakes have them. Flowers and leaves have them. Cocoons and eggs open, butterflies unfold, babies unfurl to meet the life that is waiting for them.

Our eyes open, our ears and mouths open. Our arms stretch wide, our legs reach out. We are made to spread ourselves wide to meet life. To greet, to hug, to dance, to celebrate, to praise.

I want snow tomorrow, and admittedly, I want a lot. I want to look out my window and watch those happy little flakes dance down to the ground. And then, I want to turn and dance with my own children. I want to reach out and love life with them. Let it snow!