Tag Archives: birds

Don’t Worry, I Tell Myself…

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One of my favorite passages is the “Don’t worry” section of Matthew 6:24-36. As a matter of fact, my Bible flops open to that passage when I set it down because I’ve worn the spine out by reading that page so much. But sometimes I get bored with the version I’ve memorized. So this morning I read this passage in 5 or 6 different versions looking for a fresh perspective on this old and beloved path. I liked The Message version the best. I can just imagine Jesus telling this to me in person:

“You can’t worship two gods at once. Loving one god, you’ll end up hating the other. Adoration of one feeds contempt for the other. You can’t worship God and Money both. If you decide for God, living a life of God-worship, it follows that you don’t fuss about what’s on the table at mealtimes or whether the clothes in your closet are in fashion. There is far more to your life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body. Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to him than birds.

Has anyone by fussing in front of the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch? All this time and money wasted on fashion—do you think it makes that much difference? Instead of looking at the fashions, walk out into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They never primp or shop, but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them.

If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.

Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.”

So I’ve spent my day thinking about this passage while going about my work of cleaning, packing and taking care of the kids. I’ve tried not to worry about getting all we need in our suitcases. I’ve tried to focus on how God is working in me and around me. I’ve tried to keep the right perspective about my possessions vs. my life’s calling. It’s not easy and it seems to require moment by moment adjustments and corrections in my thoughts. But I think these verses helped me today.

Mean Mom

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I’m a mean mom. Maybe it stems from our family motto “Nobody ever said life would be easy.” Maybe I’m just trying to raise kids with a little spine, a little spice, and a lot of gumption. Who knows? But I have a very low tolerance for hysterics and drama. “Sympathetic” is not a word that is usually used to describe me. I get along with people better when I can understand what makes them tick. I can relate to them more when I see where their reactions stem from. Which is why I would have been very thankful to have been given an instructions manual when my middle child arrived.

The first child, I “get” him, he’s a boy version of me. The youngest child, she’s a girl version of Josh. The middle child is a mystery. My middle child also has a phobia that I did not even know existed until a few years ago. My daughter is deathly afraid of… butterflies. It’s almost too embarrassing to say.

I am well acquainted with phobias, though. My mom has acrophobia (fear of heights), aerophobia (flying), agoraphobia (open spaces or crowds), arachnophobia (spiders), claustrophobia (confined spaces)and that’s only up to the letter C in the list of phobias.

Luposlipaphobia: the fear of being pursued by timberwolves around a kitchen table while wearing socks on a newly waxed floor. One of my favorite Far Side comics, by Gary Larson

My husband is terrified of spiders. I do the spider killing in my house. Then I implement a very cruel tactic to try to cure Josh of his fear of spiders. It was taught to me by my father who used it on me and my sister, if not with great success at least with great amusement: I chase Josh around the house with the Kleenex that I used to kill the spider. The treatment ends when I can’t run anymore because I’ve used up all my air laughing. It hasn’t worked to cure him yet, but I keep trying.

I have a few phobias myself. I have a fear of heights and the flip side of that one, a fear of deep water, which is just another form of heights. I cried on the top of the Eiffel Tower, not because the sight was so beautiful but because my dad, employing a version of his scare therapy, screamed “RAAARRR!” in the elevator on the way up. I burst into tears. I’m also claustrophobic. This phobia was aggravated by too much tickling when I was a kid. My dad used to hold us down and tickle us until we laughed so hard we couldn’t breathe! I hate being tickled now. I have insisted that he let my kids breathe when he tickles them or else they might develop claustrophobia too.

When you don’t suffer from a particular phobia they can be hard to understand and can even seem highly amusing to you. For example, I know a guy who is terrified of dead birds. I don’t “get” it, but I think it’s really funny to see a grown man get the willies over a bird carcass. So it was with this same lack of sympathy that I discovered that my daughter is so terrified of butterflies. I don’t “get” it. And since we live in the country with the most species of butterflies in the entire world, this is a problem.

I have forced my daughter into countless butterfly houses with the intention of showing her that they are harmless and beautiful creatures. It has about the same effect as me chasing Josh around with a dead spider in a Kleenex. She just cries and screams when one flaps her way. Once she saw one land on her Dad’s back and she about fainted! I wasn’t trying to be a Mean Mom, I just didn’t know it was a real phobia until recently. I thought she was being dramatic. I thought she would get tired of this act and just drop it. But no. She’s 10 years old and still hates butterflies. I don’t “get” it, but now that I know it’s a real phobia I don’t force her to face her fears anymore.
So do you have any strange phobias?

My and the child who is not scared of butterflies, holding a Blue Morpho butterfly