First off, there are two things I felt compelled to embracing more of after reading Present Over Perfect.
- Feelings. To actually allow myself to feel the negative emotions I prefer to push down.
- Silence. I have tried allotting 3 minutes a day for a moment of silence. Key word- TRIED.
Recently I sat on the porch and I set my timer for three minutes. In this three minutes, I don’t pray, I don’t start going over my to do list; I just sit and feel. As I leaned back in my chair there was a cool breeze that brushed over my arms and my face. I gazed up at the slow movement of the August clouds. I felt such peace in that moment and I began to look further into the depths of the endless blue sky. I noticed vultures circling in the distance.
Que the record scratch. I sighed. Buzzards are such a buzz kill. How often do I point out majestic hawks to my family only to cancel my exuberance with “never mind it’s just a vulture”.
Vultures are gross. Even the Bible says so. They prey on the weak and sickly. Their ugly bald heads are featherless because it’s more sanitary for them when they dig their faces into a decaying piece of flesh. They have acidic urine that trickles down their legs and it actually acts as a sterlizer after standing in rotting carcasses. Disgusting right? How do I know all this about vultures? Because I googled it of course, but the reason I googled it was because I felt God prompting me to look at the vultures with a different viewpoint. He was prodding me to see how important they are to the ecosystem and how they are one more fascinating part of the creation puzzle. They feed on animal carcasses, preventing the spread of deadly bacteria and fungus into the ground and water. Check out this article about where they are being poisoned and becoming extinct in India. It is NOT a pretty picture. When the vulture population went down the stray dogs and rat population went up causing thousands of people to die from rabbis! Vultures are like a flying garbage truck, not super cute, but very necessary.
My new viewpoint on vultures has led me further into my already altering view of my pain.
“It is terrifying: wildly unprotected, vulnerable, starring our wounds right in the face. But this is where we grow, where we learn, where our lives actually begin to change”
I don’t like to feel pain and discomfort, not emotional or otherwise. So when I feel anxious thoughts rise up I try to change the subject in my mind and just think happy thoughts. Yet, sometimes the thoughts are circling around in my head like vultures. That’s when I really want to just medicate with some kind of distraction like Facebook or sleep. However, in order to get through it, I have to go through it. I am just scratching the surface on allowing myself to have those thoughts. To really figure out what the root is and bring them to God and trade it in for truth. To say to myself I feel bad. Why is that? Let’s explore. Father bring captivity to every thought and make it obedient to Christ.
It turns out that often times these thoughts aren’t as scary and disturbing as I had always perceived them. They are just like the vultures. They get a bad rap, but it’s these unpleasant feelings that are often the catalyst for removal of the garbage I’ve been walking around with!
Ugly circling vultures indicates a wounded animal. Ugly circling thoughts indicates a wounded heart. Rather than detest or ignore those feelings of anxiety try letting them surface and facing them head on. Brene Brown says “You have to own your suffering or it will own you”
Maybe you are sad and you need to go ahead and have a good cry.
Perhaps you are lonely and you need to reach out to a friend.
If you feel like a failure, it’s time to reconnect with what the word of God says about who you are.
If you have regrets you might need to ask forgiveness.
Or if you are fearful, play some worship music and cry out to God.
What the enemy meant for evil God can use for good.
Vultures are still pretty nasty and I don’t want any metaphorical ones taking up residence in my mind. However, I will no longer shew them away and pretend they aren’t there. Instead I will unpack the pain and ask God in his infinite mercy to wash over me, teach me, and comfort me in the midst of the darkness.
It’s a dirty job, but someone’s got to do it.