I just got paid. Almost four peanuts. I feel that I’m where I am at for a reason. That reason may or may not be one that I will ever know but it is a reason.
Where am I at today?
I woke up late. I overslept. I missed an appointment with a really good friend. I feel lazier than I have almost ever felt. I have a slightly dry throat that wants me to sniff and swallow every so often to soothe it.
There is a pond near my house I like to sit by and gaze over the water.
“Where is God today?” I ask myself.
God is outside. God is in the beauty of the wind in the trees. God is the stillness of the pond near my house. God is the chatter of the ducks and the grace of the swan.
“Look at the birds.” He says to my heart.
“Look at the birds.” He says again. “They neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?”
I keep returning to these words. There is a peace that is invited to rest on me when I look at birds; even common pigeons. It’s profound, yet instantaneous.
When I compare my life to that of a bird I see that mine is more complicated and yet, much of my life is governed by the same physical needs as a bird.
I have what I need physically, Yet somehow I never feel like I have enough. Why is this? Am I planning something big? Am I in need of a vast number of resources to simply look after myself? God provides for our physical needs because he provides for the birds. Simple. We are taught this in Church. This is fine.
But I also relate to the needs of the soul of a bird. Birds fly. They are designed for freedom; for the sky. A bird can have all of its physical needs met whilst in a cage and have its spiritual needs stifled. I cannot help but believe that an eagle feels the exhilaration of flight, and subsequently, the depression of a cage. I believe this because seeing a bird of prey soar is an amazing and beautiful sight to behold. A bird’s freedom is pure beauty.
“Look at the birds.”
Is God saying something else to me? Is there something I have not been seeing in his words?
I have what I need physically, Yet somehow I feel like I am not really living; only hoping to live. Almost like a well-fed eagle that lives in a cage. Are we really alive if we are not reconciling ourselves with our deepest longings? Have we taken the time to even know what they are?
A good friend of mine said to me yesterday, “Most people are actually doing really well. And because of our culture, they are not allowed to admit that to themselves or anyone else.”
That’s really true. If only we would pay more attention to how the heart is handling what the body and mind throw at it. I think we might see there is a fortitude upholding us. It is a quiet inner strength holding us down in the storm. I feel this. As the outer signs of trouble and distress increase in velocity like a whirlwind around me, I feel a deep peace that passes all understanding. It cannot be touched by outside circumstances. When I chain my soul to this peace I realise that nothing can happen to me that the deep love of God the Father does not permit.
So, what is this deep foundation of rest and love asking of me?
“Look at the birds.”
Is God asking me to put the needs of my soul in his hands as well as my physical needs? The former, to me, is a substantially bigger ask. I am so scared of giving myself permission to dream because I know what a naive idealist I can be. I’m used to having my ideas shut down on a regular basis. I’m used to being told that my vision of what the world could be is a disconnected utopian pipe-dream. I have been taught by “responsible adults” that it is much better to be practical and safe than honest with yourself. They may not have said this to me with words but I have seen it in their lives. Opening myself up to dream and long for good things is hard. It’s hard to give myself permission to do this again.
Is God really speaking to my deep longings? Is God IN my deep longings?
I have been back in the UK for seven months now. It is the first of March at the time of writing this. Spring is coming. New things are growing; Life that has been dormant for the winter is coming to life again. Things are moving under the soil. My mind goes to famous David Attenborough time lapses of plants emerging from the ground, springing up after a long winter. That is how my soul wants to feel. Right now,though, I still feel like a dormant seed.
Listen to the God of the natural world. What is God inviting us to be in this season? What things is he asking you to take up? What things have died in you and are being resurrected into something more beautiful?
There’s something that feels right about spring. All of the imagery in nature points toward the divine plan. Yes. Something feels right. God gives us intuition for a reason. I feel like we are meant to use it. I feel it as an invitation from God. All I really know is that I feel it deeply.
The last few months have been months of death for me; months of sleep. I don’t say that lightly. They have been amongst the most difficult months of my life. I have dwelt in them hoping for a return to the life my heart longs for: Purposeful work, deep relationships that cross borders both natural and spiritual, deep known-ness, real reconciliation and healing and real growth.
The last few months have led up to this week. Today is the first meteorological day of spring. I have definitely been invited into the accepting possibility that what I feel is real. That my deepest longings are longings put into my heart by God to be pursued and fulfilled in his timing. I invite you into this possibility as well.