Monday, June 9, 2014

Being a Duck

When the boys were growing up and were being affected by what others were saying or doing, I’d repeat our mantra: be a duck.

Ducks, ducks and more ducks

A duck is designed to float. His feathers repel the water. If he absorbed the water he’d sink. So whenever water gets on him it just beads up and trickles off. He can paddle around all day doing his duck thing and enjoying the pond. Then, when he steps out on dry land, he is barely moist.

Without the ability to repel the water, even waddling down to the bank would be quite dangerous. If he slipped in, he might sit on top for a few seconds, but soon the water would start soaking in and eventually it would take him under.

A sponge, on the other hand, is designed to absorb. You don’t want a sponge that repels water. The goal of being a sponge is taking in all you can until you are saturated. Good sponges soak in what splashes around them.

We can’t stop the messages we hear every day that make us feel inferior, sad or rejected. They may come from a friend being unkind, a magazine telling us a lie about our appearance, a commercial hinting at things a real man should do or memories of things our parents told us growing up. There is no end to the messages, but there is a choice in how we deal with them.

Each statement we hear can either stick or trickle off.  If we’re being a sponge, what we hear will absorb.  We’ll carry it with us and even take in some more. Soon, we’ll become saturated with these unwanted messages and begin to see ourselves defined by the excess.

If we’re a duck, they’ll puddle up and trickle off. We heard them but refused to allow them to stick. No excess. No absorbing messages. We’re free to paddle on, defined by the joy of being a duck.

Today, I choose to be a duck.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Getting Untangled

Oliver is a funny kid. At 18 months he has a well established personality and preferences. His mind works in strange and mysterious ways. He’s a thinker. But let the driving wheel from his parents’ wii game get tangled up with his foot and the frustration comes out. 

My son, Jody, was videoing his daughter, Emma, making some presentation when in the background Oliver is on the floor struggling to get his foot out of the steering wheel. In a desperate moment of frustration, he lies down and yells.

Ever been there? Captured by a moment where something had a hold on you and it wouldn’t let go. If so, you understand how a trapped animal feels. You sense freedom all around you but can’t get to it because something is holding you back.

Hebrews says we are to lay aside the sin that so easily encumbers us so we can run the race unhindered. What is the sin? Honestly, sometimes it’s an attitude or action against God’s intentions. We have stepped into disobedience and walked away with residual clinging to our feet.

At other times it’s the refusal to let go of stuff that attaches to us because of the actions of others. Words they’ve said. Hurtful things they’ve done. Rejection they’ve caused.

Both require forgiveness. The first by letting God take away the stain of what we have perpetrated against Him. The second by us letting go of our hurts and disappointments by forgiving those who have perpetrated against us. Either way, we have to shuck off what has entangled us and that can happen when we take the matter to God.

How did Oliver come out? He got up and waddled over to his daddy who pulled off the wheel. He wanted his freedom back. To get it he needed help to become disentangled so he could live unencumbered. Once the wheel was off he could resume conquering other mysteries that fascinate the attention span of an 18 month old.

If you are stumbling today, see what’s got you tangled up and take it to God for release.