Thursday, January 12, 2012

Year of the Bird

(Scroll to bottom to start music)
So with the commencement of a new year, I have been feeling like I should somehow be writing something new and fresh and hip, but the more I pushed to come up with something, I became increasingly aware of the fact that I'm just not "hip" anymore.  It seems my once swag m.o. has given way to that of humble sensibility. God help us all, it seems I'm growing up. Grown up or not, however, I've tried more than once to start an entry since January 1, but until a few days ago when I decided that this was going to be my "year of the bird" I had nothing, nada, zip, zilch.  It all changed though when I recently went out on a walk with my son.  From the minute I opened the door to the time we returned home, I heard birds singing at unprecedented volumes. It was perhaps one of the most delightful walks I've ever taken.  The community mowers were just finishing up so the air contained the sweetest smell of freshly cut grass, and combined with the most natural music of various birds in the nearby trees, I could do nothing but smile as I walked with a newly found skip in my step. It was one of those moments when you can actually taste and see that God is good because I could actually taste the goodness of what I smelled and smell the beauty of what I saw. It was absolutely remarkable.

"Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him." - Psalm 34:8
 It seems as though from the day I started this entry I have been followed by singing birds that make it impossible to do anything but smile.  Everywhere I go I am hearing them, and I wonder - did I not ever hear them like this before or is God just gifting me with better hearing in the twenty-twelve? As it is, today has been a rougher day for me than usual. I find myself overwhelmed with the job that God has called me to do, but that I feel unqualified to handle. I know that if He calls me to it He will walk me through it (Isaiah 43:2-3), but it's easy to know and understand that, and much more difficult to apply it to our lives as we walk in it.  On the other hand, I see the new challenges He has laid before me already this year and I'm ready to climb the trees and sing with the birds, but please, God, send someone to stop me before I do that.  I'm afraid that I would not only break my leg trying to climb, but that my audio performance would scatter the very singing birds that have so inspired me. In sum, it seems my sense of inadequacy, which at times can morph into its own person, has met head on my inner disciple who longs to please the Lord. There is only one outcome here if I'm truly surrendered to God - His victory.  What a glorious truth to wrap around my confusions and uncertainties, eh?

His assured victory in mind, however, I've already made ridiculous mistakes in my new ventures, and I can see the long road ahead where the enemy taunts me in ways he knows will ignite sparks of doubt.  Most days I'm encouraged by it, inspired to rise against it, and overjoyed that my loving Father chose me to walk this path, but yet there are days like today when I want nothing more than to crawl back under the covers and hand my responsibilities off to someone else, preferably someone more qualified than I. Instead, it's as if God is grabbing me by the hand and lovingly telling me to put on my big girl pants and start making decisions according to where I am with Him in my walk, but just as clearly as I hear His words I quickly retreat to the corners in my familiar place of nothingness - nothing involving spiritual accountability, nothing relating to Christ like maturity, and nothing indicating I'm ready for the ministerial position to which He's called me .  "God, I'm just not ready yet," seems to be my reply on days like today.  Interestingly enough, He has humored me in this way for far longer than I would have if in His place, but I guess that's why He's God and I'm not.  I don't have the patience that He daily exercises with behaviors like my own cry baby insecurity dances that find me back under the covers.  "Give it to God and just wait on Him" is much easier to preach than it is to practice. The good news? I'm able to do this a hundred million times better today than I could yesterday, with "yesterday" of course extending back through every year I've known God and not just the literal 24 hour period that preceded today. It's a comforting realization of progress because I am sensing the time of God humoring my whining and resistance is nearing an end.  He is serious about His plans and getting down to business, so to survive the torrent of challenges to come, I know what I have to do - and it's wrapped up in the "year of the bird." 

So as I come to today's end, I'm reminded of the birds and how they're always singing. It's as though God has sent them over the last few weeks to follow me with their melodious hallelujahs and it took but only a moment for them to sing straight through my walls of protest.  No matter what they do or where they go, they always make beautiful music and I want that for my own future trajectories. Their work is never so hard or overwhelming that they stop singing.  I love that.  I want that. I need that.  I want to mirror that behavior and sing through every day, every task, every challenge, and especially every tribulation.  Why? Because God says it's possible and I believe Him.  I have faced heartache, but God has taught me how to laugh through the tears, I have met many Goliaths in my walk, but God has shown me how to David my way through them, and I have been broken more than once and rebuilt every time.  But this year?  This year, I will push so hard into God that I learn how to sing my way through it all.  I can feel God stretching me to new levels and though at times it's overwhelming, it is more than anything else exhilarating. Why would I not sing? Why would any of us not sing? 

"Sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth. Sing to the LORD, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples. For great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; he is to be feared above all gods. " - Psalm 96:1-4

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