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Bird Watchers

I love to watch birds — the birds in our backyard that is. This limits the number of specie that I watch, of course, but they are all so unique! Did you know that a dove drinks differently than a sparrow or a cardinal? Yep! The other birds bend down, take a tiny sip, raise up, bend down for another sip and another — and then rush back to work. The dove puts her head down and takes several large gulps at one time — drinks again, and then may “sit a spell” and survey the territory. Doves are essentially “ground feeders” so I throw some seed under the feeder especially for them.

Have you ever seen twelve enthusiastic sparrows all bathing in the birdbath at the same time? No griping. “Hey! Watch who you’re splashing water on!” Did you ever try to balance on a swinging high wire? They have it — almost — but not yet — back and forth — turn around and try from the other direction — and you’re watching two doves fluttering, twisting and turning and trying this balancing act. “Are those humans laughing at us? I’d like to see them try this!” Have you ever watched the fierce aerial dogfight that ensues when a crow tries to rob the nest of a smaller bird? You talk about the “under-dog” attacking! Visualize a “dog-fight” between an F-16 and a huge bomber and you get a pretty good picture of what happens when a mocking bird gets after a crow! No mercy at all.

I wonder if they compare themselves with each other? If the sparrow gets depressed when he sees his image in the birdbath and wishes he was beautiful like the cardinal? Or if the purple finch doesn’t like his tinted feathers? Does the woodpecker get “fed-up” with pecking? Does the cardinal just “hate” his topknot?

All of this to observe that each of them was created differently — every bird of the hundreds of species — created differently and each beautiful in his own way! So was I created differently and so am I beautiful in my own way! But am I content with the way I look and how I perform? Not always. I sometimes observe and compare Anabel with others — unfavorably. There’s Wilma — an excellent cook. Mazie sculpts beautiful dolls and dresses them. Nita is grace and elegance personified. Bill, my husband, is decidedly more adept at interpreting scripture. Why can’t I be pleased to be just me?

I have underlined a lot of thoughts in Pres’ article, Insignificance to Contentment1. He writes, “You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are — no more, no less.” Jesus says I’m to love others as I love myself. Well, Pres says, “I can assent to loving myself, but the proof of my love will be in my contentment with ‘me’.”

Lord, being content with Anabel is something You have told me to do. It isn’t just that I want to be content with who I am — I need to be content with who I am. That’s obedience. I want to revel in my uniqueness. I want to accept myself as I am. I am a new creation in Christ Jesus, I know that, but I’m also a unique person with a unique personality. Help me to accept myself, Lord, to like me! To use what You have given Anabel to glorify You. That can range from singing like Sandi Patti to sharing and teaching like Kay Arthur — or making some chicken soup for someone who needs a little extra attention. I want You to use me to the fullest and then be content with what You have done through me and what You have planned for me. Easier said than done? Yes.

Possible? Yes. How? Through Christ who indwells this new creature — the new Anabel.

I loved the song Cate Anabel and her classmates sang at her Kindergarten graduation:

“I’m a promise, I’m a possibility. I’m a promise with a capital ‘P.'”

We all are, aren’t we? Unique, loved — and people are watching us to see what Jesus is like. They are called “People Watchers.”

We try to live in such a way that no one will ever
be offended or kept back from finding the Lord by the
way we act, so that no one can find fault
with us and blame it on the Lord.
In fact, in everything we do we try to show
that we are true ministers of God.
II Corinthians 6:3-4 (TLB)

1 Preston Gillham, Grace in Ungracious Places.

About the Author

Anabel spent decades teaching in many contexts through Lifetime Guarantee Ministries. She has taught countless others how to have a genuine intimate faith and a sound marriage. She shared from her heart about living from the heart. Lifetime’s beloved founder and mentor passed away November 7, 2010. Her legacy and influence are timeless and priceless.