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.”

Quietness; the lost art of many Christians

This morning I was really struck with the power and importance of Jesus and his example he showed during the crucifixion process of not talking to his accusers and directing all his comments to God his father.  Now anyone who knows me knows that quietness is not one of my hallmarks or traits as a Christian and, in fact, it has gotten me into more trouble through the years than soliciting laughs.  All through my school career as a kid my teachers would all say, “Brian is such a wonderful boy, but he just has a problem with talking…” Even to this day, my mind works so fast that when anyone says anything I normally have four to five quick witted things I could say at any given moment.  I say this because God was really pushing me this am to not be “reactionary with my words” and to really think before I speak or not to speak at all especially when someone around me is getting mad at me for some reason. Jesus was such a perfect example of quietness to us as believers when we feel like we are being accused or taken advantage of.  Even though everything they were saying about Jesus was false, He still continued to be quiet.  I really want to work on this trait as a follower of Christ. To me, quietness is proof that your justification is not in defending your position but it is truly in Christ and the work He is doing in you and through you. Let Jesus and the work he has done in you be enough to silence your critics when you are being accused and just mentally rest in God and the peace only he can give.  Literally, a peace that passes all understanding. (Philippians 4:7)  Have a great week.