Monday, May 7, 2007

Fledged Finches and Empty Lives

by Donna L. Watkins

Things work out best for those who make the best of the way things work out. - Abraham Lincoln

They were recently out of the nest. Two juvenile Purple Finches experiencing life and all that comes with it for a bird from a new fresh viewpoint. After being crammed together with growing siblings pushing you up and over the nest that was comfortable when you first arrived, life looks pretty great and exciting flying about from tree to tree and one discovery to the next.

Finches are social birds so it's common to see nestlings remain together as they learn what life is about. Those of us who are the independent types and less people-oriented would do well to study the benefits of being more socialable. It may not take us as long to learn many of life's lessons that we tend to get from the "school of hard knocks."

I've seen wrens visit our gutters frequently and assumed it to be a good source of bugs. When it rains there must be bugs that get washed out of the skies and onto rooftops, to end up as a tidbit for a bird in the trough. I thought these two still downy-looking finches were too young to know that gutters might have food.

Then they began drinking. They had been attracted by the reflection of standing water in our gutters. Living in a wooded area provides a never-ending supply of leaves in gutters, so now I've seen a benefit to that. Those leaves keep the water from draining and provide water for the friendly visitors of the skies. I tucked that information away for a future excuse for delaying our gutter-cleaning.

After filling up on gutter tea, the one finch jumped down into the gutter as the other looked on seemingly surprised. The adventuresome one tossed a bit of water by shaking itself, but there wasn't enough room to consider it a full-service bird spa, so he hopped out and flew on with the "watcher" following after.

As with people, animals have personalities. Some are more adventuresome than others. Some are leaders, some are followers. Some are fearless, some are cautious. God made us all differently and uniquely to accomplish His purpose in and through us. Do you think that's why we seem to always end up marrying somebody so opposite of ourselves?

So often we are too busy admiring (could we say envying?) somebody else's design that we do not appreciate the skills and talents we have. We want the abilities that somebody else has that we think are important. The results are generally that we never find our own purpose in life while we are thinking "the grass is greener" in somebody else's purpose.

I read an article awhile back entitled, "Purpose: Seventy Five Percent of The Battle, by Ralph Williams." He stated that "life was a constant quest for balance, peace and acceptance. Find these three and all of a sudden, you have virtue and security." He said with all five you end up with purpose. You will never be a whole person without discovering your true purpose for being on this planet. Look around at the millions of people searching for purpose. They're looking for it in their jobs, their role in the family structure, or in their recreational activities. It's like an elusive butterfly darting here and there while we find that it's impossible to catch up to discover who we were meant to be.

That leaves many in a daily state of despair, discouragement, doom and depression. Millions are alleviating their pain with food, clothes, cars, houses, alcohol, tobacco, drugs, shopping or simply becoming numb to life and the world around them. They don't know where to begin to look for their purpose. It seems it may have been misfiled at birth, never to be found.

We run around doing what we have to do, what we think we should do, and don't take the time to find out what we were created to do besides worshiping our Lord and Savior.

Activity works well as blinders, but it ends up back into the same daily state of despair, discouragement, doom and depression. It's the never-ending self-rejection syndrome of never making it over the bar we've set for ourselves.

We'll never find our true self, or love the person we were made to be, if we keep living life trying to be somebody else. Ralph Williams, in his article, provides a rather simple way of discovering purpose. He says, "Assess yourself and put a finger on the things you do almost effortlessly but don't pay much attention to: the thing you do that makes other people sometimes ask, "how did you do that?" and you reply, "oh, it's really nothing."

He says to ask this question: "what do I do that is usually a benefit, help, or blessing to a number of people?" There is a great chance that your purpose is right in front of your face. There is a greater chance that once you accept it, you will find the peace and meaning in your life that you have always chased but never been able to catch."

If we get rid of comparing ourselves and always wanter the "seemingly" greener grass, we're left with all the peace, joy and contentment that God offers if we walk in who He made us to be and not seek what we think or have been told we should be.

Ask others what they think you do well. You've been looking for yourself in all the wrong places ..... discover who you are and fall in love with you. You will find a tremendous feeling of peace and joy that the world cannot give you. Inside there's a knowing of who we were made to be ... we can see it, but we just can't imagine purpose could be that easy.

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