Tag Archives: Faith rest

How An Eagle Flies

After my recent reposts of two pieces I wrote back in 2006, I went looking for a video showing exactly how an eagle flies, hoping it would demonstrate some of the principles I mentioned, thinking maybe I’d find something about the shape of the wing, the aerodynamics of the body, etc.  Well, I didn’t find that, exactly, but I did find this cool, two-minute video,  done in a wind tunnel, so you can really see, close up the astonishing way the eagle, when faced with a wind, automatically gets in the position to soar.  In fact, the wind itself  seems to push him into the horizontal position and opens his wings with no effort on the eagle’s part at all — no striving, no worrying about the right moment, it just happens.

And once his wings are extended, as the presenter says, “he’s using no force, no effort at all. He hasn’t even once had to flap his wings to keep in this position” and even becomes “totally weightless,” just by the pressure of the wind and the way that God has designed him. Very cool. Enjoy!

 

Repost: Reflections on Soaring

When the eagle soars, he doesn’t have to work. The shape of his wings and his momentum are what provide the lift along with the rising air currents. All he has to do is extend his wings and float, so of course he’s not going to get tired. He’s just lying there…Resting. Waiting. Letting other forces carry him along.

We like to flap our wings. It feels good and strong to flap flap flap and suddenly, wow! you gain a bit of speed and lift and you’re flying. Only to fall back to earth panting, dazed and exhausted. But oh, that bit when you were in the air – stimulating in the extreme. Flapping comes naturally to us.

By contrast the eagle most often begins his flight by jumping off a cliff. The very last thing we want to do! Jumping off cliffs does not come at all naturally.

The analogy continues as you consider that the shape of the eagle’s wings is the way God made him to be, tools he’s been given that he had no say over and did not make. For us, that would be all the things God has given us at salvation in the spiritual realm, but most importantly the indwelling of the Spirit and His Word. The eagle’s momentum comes from flying – from jumping off the cliff and gliding away. After he has glided a bit, he flaps his wings to gain more altitude so he can float some more. For us, flying would be learning the doctrine (flapping – because it does take effort to learn), believing it, then applying it to the circumstances of our lives. Which leads to rest. So… flapping is learning and applying the word to our lives, while floating is the result of that application.

An hour a day reading/studying the Word, 23 hours resting in what you’ve learned. No wonder the soaring eagle doesn’t get tired.

Originally posted Thursday, April 20, 2006 on www.karenhancock.blogspot.com

Keep a Quiet Heart

Keep a Quiet Heart is the name of one of my favorite Elisabeth Elliot books. The title comes from a piece written by a woman named Annie Keary who lived during the 19th century, a piece which is also used as the frontispiece for Elliot’s book. It is something I have kept coming back to repeatedly for the last almost twenty or so years. And lately it’s been more helpful than ever.  So I thought I’d share it here:Do Not Rush 001

 “I think I find most help in trying to look on all the interruptions and hindrances to work that one has planned out for oneself as discipline, trials sent by God to help one against getting selfish over one’s work. Then one can feel that perhaps one’s true work — one’s work for God — consists in doing some trifling, haphazard thing that has been thrown into one’s day. It is not a waste of time, as one is tempted to think, it is the most important part of the work of the day — the part one can best offer to God. After such a hindrance, do not rush after the planned work; trust that the time to finish it will be given sometime, and keep a quiet heart about it.”   

Annie Keary 1825-1879

Two Steps Forward

…and one step back.

The story of my life, lately.

I had just told one of my friends last Wednesday that I was finally getting fired up about Sky again. I could finally see that it was needing to go in a different direction from the one I had first imagined, and accepting that seemed to open up the door of inspiration again.

Naturally hindrances began the very next day. I had and appointment with the gastroenterologist that morning in preparation for the colonoscopy my oncologist recommended last summer that I have “sooner rather than later.” “Sooner” and “later” being relative terms in light of the ten-year screening intervals experts generally advise. I’m still not completely clear on this, but apparently there is some increased predilection for patients who’ve had endometrial cancer to also develop colon cancer.

Or not, if you’re talking to the gastroenterologist… Anyway, my oncologist recommended it, and I see him next month, so I’m doing it. After the visit I met with the medical assistant to set up the appointment  for the procedure. I wanted one that would coincide with my hubby’s days off, but the only day that worked was out into February. So I took it.

Arriving home I realized it was opening day of javelina season. So I called them back. Well, you can’t talk to the medical assistant who is the only one who does appointments. You have to leave a message.

I hung up and tried calling my hubby. He was away from his desk. Confusion ensued.  I called back and left a rather garbled message that the February appointment was going to be difficult and I’d rather do one that the MA had first assigned me before I started trying to coordinate with hubby’s days off.

After I hung up, hubby called. He suggested a friday two weeks further into February. So I called the office again, and asked the ladies  at the front desk if they could put me through to the MA because I was afraid that she’d listen to the first message I’d left and act on it before she got to the second message with the request for the new, later date.

The receptionist still couldn’t connect me with a live medical assistant but did inform me that the later date would not work because all colonoscopies must occur within 30 days of the consultation. She, however, assured that the MA was indeed checking her voice mail and would return my call soon.

Of course she did not. Somehow the uncertainty of the situation worried my entire afternoon. (Or at least as much of it as there was, what with walking Quigley and doing Bible class.)  Would they fill the earlier spot on the calendar before she got to my message? Would there be no good choices left? Well, really, there weren’t any to start with, so that wasn’t a terribly valid concern.

Nevertheless, every time someone called, I jumped up to answer the phone directly, rather than let the answering machine take it. All fruitless. Finally it was time to walk Q, and even when I returned she still hadn’t called.

Why couldn’t I just let it go and trust the Lord to handle it?

Because it’s just a silly little appointment; why would I take it to the Lord? This was something I was supposed to take care of, because… well… because it was.

It’s one of those areas that feels Right and proper and logical, so you don’t even question it.  Somehow it becomes Imperative that I get the proper appointment, even if I don’t know what that is yet and have no real control over the situation to be able to ensure that I do. Still it feels like somehow I do have control, or should have or if nothing else, just take control and get it done. Thus I usually won’t let the matter go until I’ve got it resolved.

Which means I can use up an afternoon of perfectly good hours that could have been devoted to thinking about writing, and maybe even actually writing, on fretting and fussing and making repeated and futile phone calls. When I should simply put the matter into my Lord’s capable hands and let Him handle it.

Elisabeth Elliot spoke of this in one of her books, (I think it might have been Keep a Quiet Heart)

I realize that nearly all of my trouble with finding out the will of God came because I wanted it too soon. I like to plan. I like to have things mapped out well in advance and uncertainty of any sort puts me on edge.

Perhaps it is for this very reason God has often asked me to wait until the last minute, right up to what looked like the screaming edge before I found out what He wanted me to do.

My acceptance of His timing was a rigorous exercise in trust. I was tempted to charge the Lord with negligence and inattention, like the disciples in the boat in the storm. I would always ask desperately to be shown God’s will in the matter but He never showed me until the time came.

And when it came it was clear as the sunlight. What to do was all mapped out for me exactly, and I had a matter of minutes to make up my mind to do it…”

I can so relate to this. Because all these little details really are something that He wants us to take to Him, to trust Him with. Always. Every day. He’s told us He cares about the sparrows and the flowers so it makes no sense to think He doesn’t care about doctors’ appointments or whatever other detail of daily life has us in a tizzy.

Tizzies are His call to stop and look up and remember. He’s got the hairs on our heads numbered, and the days of our lives as well. Every action, every conversation, every need, ever desire, all of it. It’s only our flesh that keeps thinking it has to do something. That everything depends on it.

So that’s been the lesson for me today. In truth, nothing depends on my flesh, or should, and once I’ve lost my peace because of my misguided attempts at controlling things that are refusing to be controlled, it’s time to step back and let it go.

Cast all your cares on Him, because He cares for you.

Oh, and on the appointment? It took me until Friday to get it resolved, but in the end it was resolved. If only I’d not wasted a day fussing with it.

One Day At A Time

Well, I’m tired this week. Still getting over a cold I’ve had for over 10 days now. And We had a big weekend — my hubby wanted to throw a party for friends who’d helped him with this Bighorn Sheep Hunt last year, and so I helped. It was an all day affair on Saturday that started at 7am and lasted until 2am the next morning. After a few hours sleep, we started in on the clean up.  I had a nap after that.

Monday I was good — worked on Sky for three hours! — but Tuesday I crashed entirely. Slept almost all day. Watched TV all evening… (Well.. they were the season openers for NCIS and NCIS:LA, so… I’d have watched them anyway. Probably wouldn’t have sat there for VEGAS though…)

Today I was in the blank, wandering around the house staring at things mode. Trying to make sense of the notes I had for Sky, feeling like the entire premise was absurd and fatally flawed and how had I ever thought this was remotely interesting?

So I didn’t work on the next blog post I’d thought to do for my impromptu Light of Eidon week. In fact, I couldn’t even decide which one of several to do.

So I got the idea to go looking again at my early newsletters… the ones I put out right after Eidon released and found this bit from one I put out in April of 2003, written while I was deep into the writing of Book 2: The Shadow Within.

It applies today as surely as it applied nine years ago, and was actually a comfort to me to reread in my current circumstances.

One Day at a Time

I’ve been writing for a long time, and have never been a fast writer. I have always tended to go three steps forward and back up two. Sometimes I have to rewrite and rewrite until I get the thread right, and only then can I go on with the story.

Often I may go for two or three days getting nowhere at all, blank and empty and even indifferent. Then the doors will open, the scenes will emerge and all will be well. Until I hit the next blank spot.

Over the years I have tried setting up various writing schedules according to the generally accepted advice that if you want to complete a big project, you must divide it into increments, then proceed to carry out each increment in its time. I would make up my schedule of how many chapters I wanted to complete over a certain period of time, and determine that I would be professional and disciplined and Just do It! It doesn’t matter if it’s good or not, you just have to write it. Except . . .

I couldn’t.

Never have I managed to keep one schedule. Always I hit a snag, go over the allotted time, then hit another snag and another until the deadline I had set for myself fades into dim memory. I have received much friendly and helpful advice on how to deal with this, but none of it ever works.

Over the last few months, as I contemplated the remaining time I had left before Book 2 (The Shadow Within) is due, I found myself increasingly disturbed that I still hadn’t reached the point where I could sit down, plan out a schedule of work, then embark upon that work and be confident that it would all be done on time.

Throughout all this, the Lord was reminding me that I should be trusting Him about it, but the voice was too still and small, and the message too familiar.

I was too busy thinking about how much time I had left and comparing that with how much work I thought I had left to do. Too busy harassing myself to get to work, to be more disciplined, to force the story out. Too busy getting upset over outside things that came in to steal my time. Too busy beating my head against the wall–for it was all to no avail.

The story wasn’t coming any faster than it ever had. But the idea of stopping that, and giving it all over to Him? How could I do that? To do that would mean losing all control over it.

It wasn’t until I had that last ridiculous thought that I realized how silly I was being. I had no control over it anyway, so what’s the big deal about giving it over to Him?

Clearly I had a choice to make. Was I going to continue to seek to control the what for me is an uncontrollable process, flailing myself for my lack of progress and worrying about what would happen in the months to come when the Lord clearly tells me not to? Was I going to continue refusing to rest in Him, and instead seek to use my own strength and ability (obviously lacking) to handle this?

Cursed (miserable!) is the one who puts her trust in man. Or woman, as the case may be.

Finally, that verse, one I memorized long ago, got through. The light went on and I backed off.

So from here on out it’s one day at a time. I WILL stay out of the future. Whatever progress He gives me, I will accept, without making a fuss about what hasn’t been given. If I fail to concentrate or use my time wisely on any given day, I can have confidence that He knew, way back in eternity past, that I would fail and He took it into account when He made His plan.

If something comes up that diverts my time and energy away from the book, I will remember that it is also part of the plan, and that He has everything under control, knowing precisely how long it will take to make this book what He wants it to be. This is His book, not mine, so He’ll have to see that it gets done in spite of me. (I especially like that part.)

Now, at last, I can rest, knowing that even though I am “dust”, inadequate and weak, He is completely adequate and His strength will be perfected in my weakness. I may bungle my way through my days and the writing of this book, but He who is wise and good and faithful and gracious is at work in me nevertheless. And His Plan is not only perfect, it’s brilliant!

“Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord and whose trust is in the Lord, for he will be like a tree planted by the water, that extends its roots by a stream and will not fear when the heat comes.” ~ Jeremiah 17:7

Graced Out in Our Sleep

He gives to His beloved, even in her sleep…

The following is another of the articles I wrote for one of the editions of the email newsletter I used to send out before I started blogging. This one is a little embarrassing, because the things I, myself, wrote, are the things I, myself, still struggle to recall — and more important believe — way more than I’d like to admit.

♦♦♦

 Graced out in Our Sleep (From 2003 Newsletter)

I love the fact that none of this depends on me, that even though I do the work, it really doesn’t depend on me–not the publication, not the awards, none of it.

That’s been the lesson of the year–that I don’t need to get all frantic about getting everything done because my Lord will see that what needs to be done, is done. That the work I do is done for Him, and He will see to its disposition in accordance with HIS plan–and His timing–not mine.

Yet there seems to be this whole hierarchy of activities that we can get caught up in, thinking that if our work isn’t done in time or isn’t good enough or there isn’t enough of it, or whatever, that the whole thing will fail and happiness will elude us.

But true happiness does not spring from success in the world. Success may be stimulating and fun, but it doesn’t last. Because whatever work you accomplish or goal you achieve or award you win, there’ll always come a time when that gets to be old hat and you’ll need another accomplishment or another award.

And yet, as when we’ve lost our keys and go back to look in the same place over and over again, even though we know the keys aren’t there, in the same way we focus on this accomplishment thing. Thinking that if only we can get this next thing, that will provide the lasting satisfaction we crave.

And so we step onto that treadmill of running and working to achieve, getting up early, staying up late, trying to get ahead, looking for that pleasure or satisfaction or sense of contentment we think will be ours if we can just get “It.” Whatever “It” may be.

But it’s a lie and, as David says in the Psalms, it’s vain. True happiness is stable and eternal. It isn’t an emotion, but a state of mind independent of circumstances and arising out of one’s relationship with God.

Every good gift comes from Him, and true contentment lies in our fellowship with Him, in getting to know Him through His word, and seeing His grace and goodness and faithfulness as they work out in our daily lives. It’s believing Him when he says…

“Except the lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it. Unless the Lord guards the city, the watchman keeps awake in vain. It is vain for you to rise up early, to retire late, to eat the bread of painful labors; for he gives to His beloved even in his sleep. ~ Psalm 127: 1,2

Estate Taxes and a Photo

I’ve been working on gathering my mother’s medical expenses so I can have her taxes done and over the weekend realized that while I’d talked with people at her former employer — the City of Tucson — and they knew she had died, and that I was the Personal Representative, and that I had given them my address as her mailing address… that was the retirement department. Not the Tax Forms department. And last week the forwarding order at the Post Office expired (I realized that today) so if they don’t have the correct address (the Social Security Administration didn’t) it won’t get forwarded.

So tomorrow I’m going to have to call the City. Oh, joy. Oh, wonders. Oh happy day.

I already found a number for “Employee Records” in the phone book and that seeming like the appropriate place to call, I dialed it, just to see when they opened. I think it’s a fax line…

I also tried the number of the above mentioned retirement department person. I got a message saying she was no longer with the city.

So that leaves me with “Administration.”  I’m putting it all in the Lord’s hands. Father, do You really want me to spend all day talking to mindless bureaucrats, right hands and left hands that don’t know each other exists?  I shudder to recall when I tried to make headway with the insurance company last summer, passed back and forth between the same two people, who just kept saying, I’m sorry, I can’t help you.

But this is borrowing trouble. And didn’t I just say I’m giving it over to Him?

So I’ll leave off with it, and put up a picture of Quigley taken during our recent trip to Los Angeles. I especially like the way the leash is all in motion. Well Quigley’s pretty cool-looking, too…