Birds and Worries — Broken & Hopeful
I was walking my dog the other day through our neighborhood park, allowing him to run around and sniff every blade of grass for evidence of other animals. My eyes were on my feet, which is a common occurrence so that I don’t trip as often! My mind, however, was consumed with all the negative news of the day, and the personal struggles that were presenting themselves for obsession. I thought about inflation, about personal finances, about ministry finances, about my kids, about the mess that some schools are these days, about health problems in family and friends, about so much of the pain in the world. I was in deep.
Suddenly, I perceived God’s voice cutting through all the rest of it—Look up! I, thankfully, paid attention to what God was telling me, and glanced above me in the sky overhead. Hundreds of swallows danced and dove over me, catching bugs and enjoying the freedom of flight. They didn’t seem concerned about the state of the world as they made beautiful aerobatic maneuvers, performing what looked like a beautiful, chaotic dance of revelry and joy.
My thoughts went immediately to this verse:
What is the value of your soul to God? Could your worth be defined by any amount of money? God doesn’t abandon or forget even the small sparrow he has made. How then could he forget or abandon you? What about the seemingly minor issues of your life? Do they matter to God? Of course they do! So you never need to worry, for you are more valuable to God than anything else in this world. Luke 12:6-7
I thought of the term “navel-gazing” where you are staring at your belly button so much you can’t see anything else happening around you. That was what I was doing. I was so focused on worrying about the state of the world and my own problems, I had gotten caught up in all of it and was completely focused on it.
Sometimes we tell ourselves that we are achieving something by focusing on the yuck. Like if we just obsess a little more, we will fix the problem, go back in time and sort out the regret, or have some sense of control over the future. Of course, this is ludicrous and ineffective. When we focus on the problem, we end up distracted and confused.
Now, we aren’t denying that there are issues and problems in our lives—that’s ignorance and not helpful either. But we choose what we focus on, and this reminder that God isn’t abandoning us and He takes care of us, is important to change our focus. The life of a swallow still has its problems. There are food shortages, dangerous predators and trying to keep their young alive and flying. But they still manage to have so much fun flitting here and there, making the necessary bug-catching a dance instead of a chore.
That’s what I want in my life. I want to focus on the beauty, the fun and the sweetness of the present joy. I want to be thankful for all that God has brought without being distracted by the things He hasn’t yet provided that I want. I want to see His tender love each day, and let all the cares of the world fall off my shoulders. I’m not achieving anything by worrying about them anyway!