Have you ever wanted to be like an ostrich? You know… just stick your head in the sand so you don’t have to see and know about all the bad things going on in this world? Would you feel guilty for doing that?
Stress Management Like an Ostrich
Probably like most of you, I spend a lot of my energy attempting to manage my stress/anxiety level. One thing I have done is to swear off watching and listening to the news. Yes, I basically stick my head in the sand and seek to be like that proverbial ostrich. You may think I am a terrible person for doing that. After all, how can I be a responsible adult and not be informed about things that are happening? …from politics to pandemics to abuse of human rights to the persecution of Christians?
Contrary to how this may sound, I do not go dancing through life in sweet oblivion. When there is something I need to know, I will hear it from someone. Then, if I feel I need a fuller understanding of the situation, I’ll go to news agencies and see what they are saying. This approach actually works pretty well for me most of the time. I do get shaken up when I get blindsided, though.
A Happy Fly on the Wall
I work in an immigration law office. Our office is very different from the posh lucrative law practice you see on TV. The people I work with care deeply about people all over the world and the terrible situations they find themselves in. Thankfully, my role is more “fly on the wall” than in the trenches with them. These folks are very good at their jobs and they fight like tigers for their clients. I am not made of that stuff so I would not sleep nights and would end up in a padded room.
Friday Lunch Meeting
We have a lunch meeting on Fridays and a lot of things get discussed. One Friday in particular, two different horrible things that were happening in the world at that moment were discussed. One of those things had come front and center in the office the day before and I am very thankful that I was not in the office on that Thursday!
Dealing with the Information
I went home broken-hearted and extremely upset about what had been brought to my attention in that lunch meeting. As I talked about it with my husband, who is very well informed, he was sympathetic and knowledgeable. I knew he would be but it did not make me feel any better.
Feeling so Guilty
As I really thought about it, I felt so guilty that I had known nothing about the two situations. My guilt was really tormenting me. I had been praying all day asking God to help me deal with the information the way He wanted me to, but the relief I needed had not come. As I laid down to go to sleep that night I thought that I would never get the pictures my mind had formed out of my head. Again, I asked God to help me deal with the information and this is what came to mind:
Philippians 4:8 NIV
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think on these things.
God Reminding Me
My mother has gently pounded that beautiful verse into my head for no less than 20 years. Many, many verses have grabbed me and I have held onto them through the years but this verse has always been “Mom’s verse” and it has not resonated with me like it has with her but this day was different. On this day this verse became mine to grab hold of. Isn’t God so good to us! I was immediately reminded of this verse:
John 14:26 NIV
But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.
Then and now, God gives me beautiful permission through Philippians 4:8 to not feel guilty about things that are happening that I have no control over. I am to pray for His will to go forth. I do not have to know the details because I am not God. There are definitely people who He has called to get in there and really keep up with and even work in those types of situations but He did not make me that way.
Sticking to Our Roles
Are you like me in this way? God gifts us and calls us to very different tasks. I want to be like an ostrich so I can manage my stress and focus on what I am to do for His glory. The heart cannot do what the feet can and the feet cannot do what the heart can. We are called to different roles as the body of Christ, just as different parts of our bodies have different roles.
Laying Off Burdens
We need to finish each day by asking ourselves and the Lord if there are any burdens that we have taken on that aren’t ours to bear. I heard this years ago at a ladies’ conference and it is so right! Life is stressful enough without borrowing burdens that aren’t even ours to carry. God gives us permission, through Philippians 4:8, to stick to our own burdens – which the Jesus is in there helping us to carry minute by minute (Matt 11:30).
I pray for each one of us, that we may see to our own burdens and trust God to help us carry them His way.
A Side Note: I was reading about ostriches the other day, and found that they do not actually stick their heads in the sand to hide from things that frighten or upset them. They are actually moving their eggs around which they have buried in the sand. Who knew? I prefer my old ignorant idea of why. Lol!
Have a beautiful day in the Lord!!