Pelicans are not birds I expected to appear graceful. To me, these seabirds seemed ungainly.
My opinion changed as I watched several soaring over-head. With large wings outstretched, they caught an air current and let it carry them. Far above the water, they circled, dipped slightly and rose high again. All of this was done without much need to flap their wings. They understood the advantage of going with the flow – airflow in this case.
A flock of small white birds flew much lower and their wings worked hard to keep them aloft. They were using their own strength and not riding the current of air. They landed and took off again frequently.
More times than I care to admit, I am like the small birds. In order to stay aloft, I flap harder to keep going. My own strength is never enough for what I want to accomplish and the effort exhausts me.
As I watched, a brown pelican did its spectacular plunge-dive. These birds can be flying as high as ten meters (33 feet) and when they spot their prey, fold back their large wings and plunge to the sea to catch it. The speed with which they do this is amazing.
I can’t help but think this speed is possible because energy has been conserved when flying. They make efficient use of the resources available to them.
I want to be like the pelican and allow the wind beneath my wings to help me soar. When I rely on Jesus, he enables me to reach heights I would never achieve on my own. His strength sustains and guides me.
The choice is mine. Will I flap hard and stay close to the ground or soar like a pelican?
Have you ever noticed the difference between brands of dish soap? I’ve discovered that the name brands are more effective than the generic ones I’ve tried.
As there are only two of us in our home we generally wash our dishes by hand instead of using the dishwasher. The generic brands are less expensive so we decided to try one. I wasn’t impressed with the results so tried another.
In both cases, I had to use more than double the amount of our previous brand in order to produce suds and to get the dishes clean. My conclusion is that a diluted product is false economy.
The same can be said for my life. I have the choice to concentrate my efforts or to dilute them by adding unnecessary ingredients. It’s not hard to figure out which option is the most effective in achieving my goals and dreams. The more I add to my day, the less chance I have of accomplishing what is most important.
The trouble can come in deciding which elements strengthen my life and which ones will only water it down. That is when I turn to God. He is always available to direct me. When I follow his advice my life will be strong and effective, rather than mixed with worthless things that dilute it.
Once like sterling silver; now mixed with worthless alloy! Once so pure, but now diluted like watered-down wine! (Isaiah 1:22 TLB)
Many plans are in the human heart, but the advice of the Lord will endure. (Proverbs 19:21 GWT)
“My phone is almost dead I need to recharge it,” I said to my husband; “I’m so glad it gives me warning instead of just shutting down.”
As I went to plug it in, I noticed another function I’d never paid attention to. When the battery is reaching the end of its usage a notification pops up asking if I’d like to put it on low battery mode. This function enables it to conserve the remaining power so it will last longer.
When I mentioned this to my husband, he said, “Is there a lesson here for us?” I must admit, the lesson was lost on me until he explained his train of thought. Then I understood the significance.
I have frequently expressed a desire to have such features built into me! There are times I’d appreciate a notification reminding me to conserve my remaining energy so I won’t crash. Instead, I tend to keep going until I have nothing left to give.
Although I may realize my strength is waning, I ignore the signs and don’t heed the warning. Something showing me how close to burning out I am would be handy.
What I often fail to remember is my power is never sufficient. And what’s more, it was never meant to be.
My strength comes from Jesus. As long as I stay plugged into him he will give me the strength I need to get through each day.
“ For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:13 NLT)
It was an unusual gift. The family was given a caterpillar in a small container. They were told how to care for it and that in a few weeks the larva would become a monarch butterfly.
The children were fascinated to watch as the caterpillar attached to a stem and encased itself in a silky chrysalis. Most of the time this chrysalis or pupa, appeared dormant. Once or twice they saw it shake. This movement let the family know something was happening inside.
When the timing was right, the butterfly fought to emerge. It had to push the fluid into its wings in order to make them strong. Drops of red fluid that looked like blood appeared on the bottom of the enclosure. Any attempts to intervene and minimize the struggle could prove fatal.
This process had a correlation to my life. Even when nothing seems to be happening, my life is not dormant. God is constantly working within. He is preparing me for what lies ahead.
The struggles I face are not pleasant but I know that each one helps me to grow stronger as I rely on God to complete the transformation he has started. When the timing is right, he will enable me to soar, as the butterfly did when it was set free.
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:2 NIV)
For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! (2 Corinthians 4:17 NLT)
Whoever is a believer in Christ is a new creation. The old way of living has disappeared. A new way of living has come into existence. (2 Corinthians 5:17 GWT)
My husband and I recently attended an event called Behind the Masque. It was mandatory for everyone attending to wear a mask. I had discovered that it wasn’t easy to fit a mask over my glasses so chose to have one painted on.
After I told the face painter that I liked turquoise and had a book coming out with the word Dragonflies in the title she came up with the amazing design you see pictured here. It was a work of art and seemed such a shame to have the canvas washed clean later that night.
Although people wore masks during the evening, we could usually tell who was behind them. This made me think of the masks I have hidden behind in my life. Maybe I haven’t hidden quite as well as I thought!
My struggle has been to be authentic. My ego doesn’t want to let people know that everything in my life isn’t perfect. They may not like me if they really know what’s behind this mask of confidence and self-assurance.
I was speaking to a friend about this and we agreed that wearing these masks is exhausting. She had recently taken hers off and was amazed at the new depth in her relationships.
In order to remove my mask I had to stop thinking I needed to do things on my own strength. Instead, I allow Jesus to take control. He has told us that he works best in our weakness. No I don’t see my weakness as a bad thing, but as an opportunity to let his strength work through me.
Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. (2 Corinthians 12:9 NLT)