Sometimes It’s Not About Soaring With Eagles

“He reached down from on high and took hold of me.” Psalm 18:16

Chaos in our lives can bring such turbulence, can’t it?

We move day to day in relatively calm surroundings and then something can come out of nowhere and disrupt it all.
A decision by a spouse, a financial hit, a wayward child, a heartbreaking diagnosis…so many things can take the unsuspecting moments of our lives and turn “normal” into bedlam.

What do we do when this happens?

How do we navigate it all?

Can I tell you about something I saw that might help?

An early morning at the beach found me sitting in the sand staring out to the endless horizon. The sun was kissing the sky behind me as it rose for the day. I became loss in the rhythm of the waves; they came in and they went out. The symphony of sporadic quiet mixed with crashing thunder spoke of their endless routine. White foam sprayed like starbursts in the air as the rolling wind moved up and over the wave-crests. All the power and turbulence mixed up and joined together to become virtually an impossible force to harness.

Then, a flock of Pelicans descended upon my view of earth’s performance and gave me a lesson to learn.

I saw these enormous creatures off in the distance pushing their vast wings up and down as they moved further and further along; closer and closer to me. They were high in the air, single file, but keeping ever so vigilant below. Then with a slight movement, they all began a decent. Not sharp. Not dramatic. But definite.

Then I saw it. I saw what I hadn’t seen before while watching these animals so many other times.

They descended into the turbulence of the waves.
They moved from their high places of effortful flight to the low level of the water’s surface. And when they did, it was a sight to behold.
For there, they stopped all their effort. They stopped moving their wings. They stopped working at flight.  They seemlessly moved forward without any effort.  With their wings stretched out, they rested in the winds created by all the turbulent force as it rose upward from the sea’s fury. It kept them aloft. It kept them moving. They stayed there as long as the winds held, then moved back up and back to flight. And every so often they would repeat the same pattern—almost as if to rest in between all the flying.

photo: Renae Bowman

photo: Renae Bowman

Sometimes it’s great to soar on wings of eagles, isn’t it? Sometimes it’s perfect to soar to the mountaintops and live out the verses and words and motivation of being with a majestic eagle.
But sometimes life gets ugly, too. Sometimes the problems and the turmoil make everything upside down and all mixed up. The calm becomes chaos. The tranquility becomes turmoil.

But the pelicans’ flight reminded me…those times of unrest and disorder can be the very thing that gives us rest. When in the mixed-up forces that create havoc, in the upheaval that stirs and moves and creates its own wind and force of nature—that is when we have an opportunity to do the least amount of work. That is the time where effortful living can be replaced by effortless peace.

I’m not saying we should welcome heartache or look forward to it; I’m not sadistic that way, but I think when those times hit, if our faith leads us, sometimes we can actually work the least. Sometimes, we can lower our heads and dip down into all the mess and say, “You got this God. I’m going to stop flapping and moving and I’m going to start trusting.”

And it is there where He meets us. For when we surrender—He carries.

If the waters beneath you seem to be stirred up and crazy-crashing and unruly, perhaps it’s time to lean into it a bit. Perhaps it’s time to dip down from all that work you’ve been doing to fly above and simply surrender into the waves.
For there, in that turmoil, you will find a God who will do the work.
You will find a God that says, “I got it.”
You will find a God that turns the turbulent winds into lifting power that raises you up.
You will find a God that takes your work and gives you rest.

6 Replies

  1. Diane

    What a beautiful reminder, “lean in”. I will log that line into my heart when the waves start crashing! Powerful words and boy did I need them. Thank you!!!

    1. You’re welcome Diane! Yes, I agree–to lean in can be a trait we adopt to survive! You are welcome. Blessings to you.

  2. Hold loosely and trust…such a beautiful picture of what God wants to do in our lives when we do these two things…and the unimaginable peace that it brings! Beautiful illustration of how God works…thank you for sharing!

    1. Thank you Carissa! Blessings to you.

  3. Mimi Bradford

    Thank you.. I was just starting to get all flustered over a situation and your message reminded me to ‘surrender ‘

    1. Glad to help. It’s a constant thing, right Mimi? Soaring is great but moving forward over the “stuff” is great too. Have a blessed day!

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