Why Birding is Just Like Listening To God

Bee Eater
(This pic is of a Bee Eater…eating a Bee that Yolanda took on our trip to Nepal last year)

Yolanda and I went “birding” over the weekend. If you don’t know what “birding” is, it’s finding a place that birds hang out, getting a decent camera and/or binoculars, and walking around trying to see or take pictures of the rarest ones you can find. The key is to go out looking with the realization that you may not see anything or you may hit the jackpot and see a ton of them. Yolanda has gotten some amazing (and I mean AMAZING) pictures from all the places we have been. It is like every bird is just waiting for our car to pull up and then they have a little bird fight to see who gets to fly in front of her camera and get shot (in a good way).

When I go, I am mainly going to support her but I also feel like it is an intentional time of not talking about work (because you are supposed to be quiet and not talk) and for some exercise. I have to admit, I get just about as excited as she does to see an owl or another rare breed. But for me, it is more about just getting out and getting away from the grind of life.

When you are birding it is very important that you remember a simple recipe for success. No matter how far you walk or where you go looking for birds, you need to occasionally stop, look up and listen. You can be out walking around and a great bird can be in the tree next to you but if you don’t stop, look up and listen then you will probably miss a great opportunity.

It is the same with listening to God. I can get so busy in life with my “walk” with Jesus that I can forget sometimes in life to just “stop, look up and listen” for things that God may want to share with me. I am a firm believer that God is always speaking to us and willing to be found but we are the ones who need to learn to slow down in life sometimes and be willing to wait on God and his voice.

Sometimes I can intentionally “stop, look up and listen” with God and I don’t hear a peep (get it? Haha) If I am consistently stopping, looking, and listening for Him I raise my chances of hearing something from God AND I train myself to learn that it is not even always about the grand revelation that God would share with me. I think the peaceable life that God teaches about in the Bible is 20% Spiritual and 80% just learning to shut up and listen. Listening to others. Listening to those who love us and want to bring Godly correction or even God speaking himself to us.

I know that going birding has taught me more than just the importance of not talking, which I still fail at regularly. It has taught me that the world around me will let me “run” in life as fast as I want, even to the point of burnout. If I am not taking time out of life to just BE and not try and DO, I will allow the world to dictate the pace of my life and not God. When I intentionally put the brakes on and take time to enjoy nature AND use that time to listen to what God has to say, I take back control of my life and essentially put myself on God’s time.

I use birding to slow down my life and shut up. What do you use? When trouble hits in life the peace we find in those times of quietness and listening to God will be a foundation to help get you through. Think today about what you do to change pace and “stop, look up and listen.”

An Owl Pooped on me this Weekend

IMG_7703You read it and are seeing it correctly, a Barn Owl pooped on me this weekend. It was like an explosion of turd all over my jacket and shorts while I was birding with Yolanda this weekend. In life, there are times when we are hit with an unexpected “crap-storm” of problems that come in all different shapes and sizes. The question is how will we respond? At first I was in shock because I had never been pooped on by a bird, not to mention a giant owl! Then I was trying to calculate what just happened to me from standing in a  tree grove, to a giant awesome owl flying over my head to having the sensation of drying bird poop all over me. Isn’t that just like life sometimes? We are hit with crap and try to assess the situation the best we can but it is sometimes hard to put all the pieces together. I walked up to my wife and her friend Nora and said, “I found the bird” while revealing my turd-laden jacket and shorts from behind a tree. As they started to laugh at me, I calmly walked back to my car, got some water on a rag and started wiping off as much excrement as I could so we could continue looking for birds that day.

The moral to this little story is a question; what are you going to do in your life when you get “crapped on?” Are you going to sit and cry and whine that you smell like turd? Are you going to try to get vengeance on the one who did the “pooping?” The owl, who was my aggressor, was LONG GONE by the time I got my bearings and realized what happened. I could have spent my entire day looking for that stupid bird and ruining the rest of my time with Yolanda and Nora, with a HIGH probability of not finding the culprit. Or are you going to wipe it off and keep going? Be encouraged today that things will happen to you that need to be brushed/wiped off and for you to keep going in life. Don’t let something as simple as the “crap” of someone else ruin your day and give them control over your mind and emotions.

Praying for you this week and have a splendid day!