This past month was the first in our new rental home. While my handsome hubby is still working on the northwest coast, he was able to come & help us get moved to the house. He had to return to work the Sunday after we got the stuff moved over, that was a hard moment...I thought. What I didn't know at the moment was that God's next plan included a much deeper knowledge of loneliness than I had EVER known in my 50 years. I probably would've never guessed what the ah ha moment would be...what the actual definition of the knowledge He was permanently etching in my heart. That it may have seemed to be about loneliness...but in the end was actually about "self preservation."
I love how my Poppa God surprises me. I can't say that I always enjoy the path getting to the surprise. Or that I always have joy, smile & say thank You Lord may I have another. No in reality most of the time I put up a struggle that would remind you of something caught in a trap that was ready to attack every thing that comes close. I fight anything that to me, may seem different, or too hard. I don't know why, God always trims away something that seems like He lifted the world right off my shoulders. Today He did just that as I sat watching the birds that stop to refill their tiny belly's at the old wooden bird feeder the last family left in the huge tree in our backyard.
When we moved in the feeder sat empty. I don't know how long it sat empty, but it was empty for the first week I was here. I probably would've just left it that way...but every time I looked at it, I felt the urge to fill it. I remembered how much I enjoyed the feeders that my sweet hubby & little man made me at the last house. They made them out of plastic 2 liter bottles & large juice bottles with one of my wooden skewers...after they cut the point off of course. I would fill them & then sit out on the patio & enjoy watching the beautiful birds stop by to fill up before taking off. It was a very relaxing & peaceful activity for me. So off I went to the store & got a small bag of wild bird seed. It took me a few to figure out the lid just pulls straight up...in fact I just figured that out last week, a little slow I know. What I figured out really quick was the the little bag of bird seed I bought would only last 2 days...that's NOT a typo.
Another thing I figured out is that God whispers everywhere...even in the moments of watching His simple creatures...like His birds. He has shared so much with me in the last several weeks of watching these innocent creations...all of which has led to this realization...every life He creates, is born with a "self preservation" filled heart. From the tiniest cell to the largest of His creations. We all have that instinct...we have to save ourselves...the reality of this floored me. We all want to protect ourselves. God created us this way...He wants us to choose Him...not us to pretend to choose Him. Really choose to allow Him to take control of even the smallest of details of our lives. Then because of all He is & Who He is...choose to listen & freely give Him all of our lives...every single piece of the puzzle...our tiny piece in His huge puzzle.
I have heard so many times, "God doesn't care about my ...., He has much more important things to take care of."...or this one I love...when I say "God just told me..." the person looks at me bewildered & says, "how do you know that was God?"...opens the door for God to come into the smallest of details sometimes. I believe whole heartedly that God will use whatever will get our attention, or whatever has our attention to get a word to us. Whether we are a believer or not...He will start to gently whisper through something & until He trims it all away, He will get louder & use much more literal signs. He does care about even the smallest bit of worldliness we hold onto. He knows that even that tiny piece can distract us...take our focus & trip us up. So every single piece must go.
Though we are born with the foundation of "self preservation" God wants us to allow Him to be the ONLY One we put our faith in, trust in without thinking about it. So I believe He also planted a desire for something more...more than anything in this world could EVER fill. So we start searching until we find something that seems to make us happy & fulfilled...until we find ourselves unhappy & wanting more...then we move on to the next one. Over & over again we fall victim to the distractions the enemy uses...regardless of what it is, it keeps us searching...
While watching the birds outside each day, God's shared several messages & I felt like they needed to be written down. So for the last several weeks I went old school & got out a notebook & wrote what I heard Him whispering. Today I finally got what He was trying to teach me...I can't even begin to tell you how long I have struggle with this issue...& in an instant I heard Him & knew the answer to why it's so hard to let go & let God.
Birds aren't educated, they don't live as humans do. Things that are important to me birds probably don't even notice...I don't mean things like eating, breathing, water & stuff like that...I mean how their feathers look to the pigeon next to them, or even if there's a pigeon next to them. They are focused only on the necessities of life...like living. Even though they are different, they are the same at the core...they live according to the "self preservation" built into them just like every other living creation.
I noticed from the very beginning that just like with most people they will ease up to the wall & test the safety of the situation...because they are hungry, they will follow others. They line up on the wall...they will wait on the others to go first...they don't want to take the chance...let someone else take the chance. Then there's always one...just one, that will fly right in & land on either the feeder or the ground around where I throw the extra seeds & start to eat without even looking around to see if it's safe. It just knows there is food & it is hungry...don't get me wrong it is alert, very alert...but the empty little belly needs fed. Eventually most of the others will follow & it looks like the movie from the 60's in my backyard.
In the beginning I noticed that they are easily distracted by fear of being hurt...but they have learned that I move around & will usually be sitting outside waiting for them. They don't understand for me it's a gift to watch them & it calms my soul...but I do. God & I have had many enlightening conversations during these quiet moments...He has taught me a lot in those moments I am still in His presence. They will fly away when the door is opened, or if I walk out in the yard...usually there is a loner that stays behind in the neighbors tree...it just watches me & when it feels safe enough it will come back & the others will watch & then follow. It's funny to me that the bigger the bird the more fear it has...the bigger birds take longer to find the food & then when they do, they take the longest to get off the wall...they go hungry sometimes because the are too afraid to just get off the wall before the door opens...or they will chase the littler birds away & stand guard so no one eats...eventually one of the littler birds will just fly past the bigger bird & eat. The others will see it's ok & follow the leader...they realize they don't have to fear the bigger bird.
It's funny that God has at times asked me to take the first step...let go of the fear holding me back & trust Him...put some action behind my words. In some of the times it was so others could see His strength & pull the blinders off someone He wants to reach...in others it was to trim away something I am holding onto...but in ALL of the times He was showing us Who He is...who we are to Him. Sometimes He wants me to stand alone, with Him only...in these moments I am finally learning that He is answering my prayers I have lifted..."dear Lord cleanse me of anything that's not like You." He is asking me if He is enough...even though my mouth may say yes...He knows my heart does not...yet.
In this last month I have learned the definition of loneliness...I have never felt more alone. I have cried, I have raged, I have crumpled on the floor & asked why more times than I can count...when I unplugged my ears & shut my lips...my Poppa God whispered..."I will never leave you nor forsake you...I will always be here, even when I strip away the distractions, I will be here." Then the question that seems to follow that sweet whisper..."am I enough?" Each time I hear this question, I automatically say yes...I "say" yes...but I don't always live yes. I know God knows this & I am learning that this is usually the entrance to another level of our relationship...& the first step to another good trimming season.
I have many times "stood in the hallway" waiting for God to show me which way to go...honestly I have also stood in front of other doors holding them open...or keeping them closed. I struggle with change & getting in the way does make it harder...but I also have the "self preservation" gene...I want to not feel the pain, or make the choices. Many times in my life it's about moving forward...either me or who I am holding onto. God may not plan on us traveling any farther on the same path...at least for the moment. I however am comfy & will cling until it's too painful...then I will release. After I let go, God will show me...that moment is a moment I see just how mighty, powerful & loving my Poppa God is...I will understand why.
Sometimes either me or the other person is living with one foot in the world's ways & one foot in His plan. I know that this doesn't work...I also know that no amount of pressure I place on them, or how hard I try to convince them...ONLY God can change a person. I have to just keep in step with God, give them to God & keep on moving forward. Even in letting others go, I struggle with self preservation...it's easier to avoid the subjects & keep the peace, than to deal with the hurt that goes with facing what God's asking me to.
So today when I heard Him whisper "self preservation"...I knew instantly what He has been walking me through this season...His one command...in John 15:12-14
He is trimming away my instinct for "self preservation"...the instinct to choose me, before anyone else...to love me first. When I choose this instinct before choosing to be like Him, I am choosing the world before Him. He wants me to look to Him as my example...after all that's my goal, to be like Him...for others to see Him in me. The issue is that each time I choose "self preservation" others will recognize that. They will see the flaws, the dirt, the past. When I choose to put others before myself, God is glorified & He works through it all. They won't recognize this & they will look at you like you're crazy, because they are looking for a clean mirror not a dirty, broken old window...in a world full of squeaky clean mirrors, God is asking me to be a dirty, broken, flawed window...a window that with all it's broken pieces, still shines God's glory as He cleans me up & pieces me back together...He is showing others Who He is in my choice to let go of my "self preservation" He is reminding me that though the world tells me I have to be a shiny mirror, be like everyone else. Dont get me wrong, the world may say, "let's keep the peace & be the same" but the real peace comes from God & real peace doesn't look like peace in the depths of pain & sorrow, only in the surrender that follows saying yes to being the broken, dirty window, then I can see Him & His plan...He is the clean spots in me.