Blue Jays and Obedience
Blue jay. Just give me a blue jay!
It would seem that I'm talking to myself most days, especially in the car. And trust me – I certainly do speak to myself. However, a lot of the time, I'm talking to God. Usually, the conversation is contained silently in my head, but I blurt out a word or two on occasion.
I honestly had no reason to shout out in exasperation on this particular car ride. Things were well, except the lingering cold days of winter. See, I'm a summer girl who lives in the South, and I don't particularly care for the frigid temperatures. However, it was the beginning of March, with warmer days right around the corner, so I really had nothing to complain about.
Everything was good. Not much to talk about. No family emergencies or major stressors caused the pot to boil over. The days were just beating to a solid hum, drum...
Who wouldn't want their days to march to a steady beat? I prefer it, really. I've had those days, weeks, even years where my life felt like the never-ending drummer solo during a rowdy rock concert. So typical, relaxing -- even dull days are welcome.
And on this day filled to the brim of normalcy – I cried out in frustration.
So what's your problem, you may ask?
It's simple. I need God. I need Him on the boring days just as much as on the trying ones. Sometimes He doesn't feel so close, so I asked Him for a Blue Jay.
To be completely honest, I was also wrestling with a feeling of letdown. This was a self-imposed feeling that I was disappointing God. I hadn't done much in obeying His will or what I determined was His purpose for me. Work, household chores, and small children competed for my time this season. What free time I did have, I simply wanted to rest.
But we live in a world where the word 'relax' doesn't equate to success. There is a plethora of books, bloggers, and the media pushing the hustle and providing the roadmap to success. "You can always carve out time to achieve your dreams, just follow these steps," they promise.
In an ironic twist, my stress and feeling of discouragement were not from the mainstream media. Their definition of success in climbing the ladder and making more money was not the motivation. The pressure came from the well-intentioned Christian ministries.
"Have you found your calling, and are you making time for willful obedience?"
"Are you running your race?"
"Don't miss out on God's calling for your life!"
"Are you doing Kingdom work today?"
I'd bought into the lie that God always expects more of me.
But, every day is a Kingdom workday. It just doesn't always look like we expect. It could be the prayer you said while washing the dishes or the hymn you sang in the car. It's tending to children's hearts with wiping noses and playing games. Making a donation, giving grace to an overworked waiter, and opening the door for a stranger are all good works. It's checking on a friend, and even relaxing is needed to carry on His work.
But, I felt like I needed validation that He wasn't mad at me for lack of productivity, so I asked for a Blue Jay.
Then I waited. At first, I was patient. I would casually tip my chair back from the kitchen table to peer out at the backyard. I would scan the tree line while pushing the swing at the children's park. Then I watched my mother-in-law's birdfeeder like a hawk one afternoon.
As the days went by, the request faded from memory.
Until one day, carrying a basket of laundry, I saw my youngest on the floor with his new book from his Nana. I set the basket aside and sat down. Opening the book to read, my toddler pressed a button that said, "This is the blue jay." I smiled and let out a little laugh, shaking my head in disbelief.
The weekend rolled around, and I asked my oldest son to get dressed and come eat breakfast. He came skipping in with a shirt his Nana had given him. It was his daddy's baseball jersey, probably thirty years old. And guess what? You bet it! It said, "Blue Jays."
God didn't just give me one blue jay; he gave me two. I looked for the obvious sign on my time schedule. He showed me the blessing of the unrecognized deeds in His time, much like all of the small, unapparent acts we do for His Kingdom daily.
My most significant fault is seeking understanding before leaping in trust. One of the mysterious facts about blue jays is that no one has figured out their migratory pattern. There seems to be no rhyme or reason, but they trust the Master. It reminded me how we don't understand God's ways (Isaiah 55:8-9) and convicted me of my disbelief and perpetual questioning.
Instead of being led by the Holy Spirit, I tend to take things into my own hands and rush. This causes obedient acts to feel like religious rituals instead of genuine offerings. When I think I'm going to miss out on what He has in store for me, I have to remind myself – I'm not that powerful.
I don't know about you, but I want my obedience to be a crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord (Isaiah 62:3). So, I'm learning to leap first.
The God-Given Task
What gain has the worker from his toil? I have seen the business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with. He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man's heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil—this is God's gift to man.
I perceived that whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it. God has done it, so that people fear before him. That which is, already has been; that which is to be, already has been; and God seeks what has been driven away Ecclesiastes 3:9-15 (ESV).