I was startled this morning by a bird on my back room of my house. The solarium is the “home base” for our dog. She loves to sit out there because the warmth of the sun on a cool fall day brings her such joy. I could see she was moving around the room trying to catch the bird as it continued to fearfully find a way out of this glassed in room. I quickly hustled Carmel (our dog) into the main house as I tried to figure out a way to get this bird to go back out the way it came in. It was so frightened and anxious about finding its way to the outside world. Because I didn’t want it to bang itself against the windows and hurt itself; I opened all the windows and screens on the porch and gently nudged it out with a soft pillow. The bird was hesitant to believe that I knew what I was doing, but it followed my lead and flew out into the open backyard trees. “Phew,” I thought. You see our dog loves birds. She can catch them in midair. Since we got her a year and a half ago, I bet she has caught at least ten birds. She brings them to us after she “plays” with them and the kids are just saddened (and grossed out) by the whole event. I didn’t want to witness one of her “catches,” so I was glad that I had found the bird before the dog.
I had been struggling all morning to come up with a subject for my blog (I even chose to clean my kitchen, vacuum the upstairs and clean a bathroom to avoid writing), and as I walked away from the bird scenario, I chuckled, “Thanks God.” I realized the bird was just an opening for me to talk about this great topic of fear and anxiety.
Have you ever placed yourself in a situation where you were full of anxiety, fear or even dread? Maybe you “flew” yourself into a scenario that caused more trouble than you could ever have imagined? Oh man, I do this all the time. I think I am doing something in good faith, but it turns out to be a real mess. Volunteering has been a part of my life for many years. I watched my own mother volunteer at our church and even helped out with several projects as a child, youth and teenager. It was in my soul to give back service to God. What I didn’t realize until recently (I am sad to say) is that God calls us to give back our gifts to Him, but there is something called discernment that needs to be done before we dive in! I had missed that piece on discernment somewhere back in Sunday School. Maybe I was absent that week or maybe I was daydreaming, but somewhere discernment was lost. You see, God does want me to volunteer, but not for EVERYTHING. So when Pete and I moved to the Midwest (6 years ago), I dove in like crazy. At first it was so much fun, but then I realized that I was just taking on more projects because I wasn’t fulfilled by just one project. I wasn’t discerning for the “right” role for me. I was just tackling one thing after another. Just like that bird on my solarium today: I had flown myself into this mess and now was becoming anxious about the workload. My anxiety seemed to come from the fact that I wasn’t truly doing what God had called me to do. I was close, but just not quite where I needed to be. Deep down I knew this, but wasn’t ready to admit it. I wasn’t listening to God’s gentle nudges to help me find my way (just like the bird on my porch). When I finally started to let go of some of my projects and allow time in my life to reflect on God, I realized what I needed to do. I needed to write God’s Words for all to see. I needed to encourage people to place God first in their life. I needed to find applicable ways for busy people to locate God right in their own homes! It isn’t glamorous. It isn’t something that is visible to people. It doesn’t amount to any monetary gain for my family. Here is what it does give me:
• Closeness to God like I have never had before
• Faith that God has a plan for me and all will work out if I stick to the path
• Blessings in ways that I never imagined (unconditional love and support of my family)
So once I let God take over my anxieties (which amounted to me letting go of all the stuff in my life), then I found a way out of the window that I flew into. God nudged me to the window and I finally released my fears and took to flight. Thanks God!
Philippians 4:12 I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation.