As I sit on the porch before my day takes off, a Carolina wren flits from the potted avocado tree to the rim of the bird bath. Her tail, always cocked at a perky angle, strikes my funny bone. She hops this way and that until she’s comfortable with her surroundings before dipping into the water. She raises her head, beak pointing to the sky, and shivers her feathers. She delights me with her antics until an imaginary voice intrudes. “Don’t waste your life.”
Living a Christian life can be confusing. On one hand, God’s love sent Jesus to exchange His perfect life for my tainted one, and I do nothing except receive it. On the other hand, my life ought reflect this gift. Faith without works isn’t genuine faith. Faith with ceaseless works is no faith either. Quieting myself to appreciate God’s creation tells Him that I have faith in Him. The world will not wilt if I sit idle on my porch, because God keeps things running, not me.
I imagine Him sitting on the glider beside me as I nudge Him about the wren. He smiles and whispers that He gets a kick out of this creature too. The bird isn’t performing. She bathes and preens and hops as her kind is wired to do, yet she brings joy to me and to her Creator. Don’t I bring Him pleasure by simply being myself also?
In my relationship with God, I rest in who I am but do not sink into complacency. There is not an exact balance between the two. The sweet spot is found in the Holy Spirit, not in a cause. He blows and pulls, shifts and eddies. His current doesn’t lead to a string of goals. He is the goal, immersion in a divine person. He moves me into service instead of me searching for them and second guessing my choices. Of course, I wander from Him, but that also was covered by God’s gift of Jesus.
There are times He moves me to be still and know that He is God. These times, He speaks most often through the universal language of His creation. I do not worship nature but am awed by the Master Artist/Scientist of nature. His beauty, His imagination and His brilliance overwhelm me.
This worship is a kind of work but does not feel like work. It’s a freedom to be myself. It feels like laughter and refreshment. It feels like a shared memory. It feels like dunking in a birdbath on a hot day and shaking off the water.