"A Bird in the Hand is Worth Two in The Bush", or at least that's the age old proverbial saying. It has always seemed the prudent course to take. You know..."Don't let go of what you have, in the "hopes" you might get those two over there in the bush..right there....oops...hurry...they're getting away! Agghh"! :) This has always seemed the way to go. Until last night, and even then it was actually in retrospect that I thought of the saying and the irony of turning it around for wisdom, at least in a certain type of situation. I can't take any credit for realizing it ahead of time!
Last night as I was thinking of the pattern of laying things down that I have been on the last 6 months or so, and I was reminded of this saying. I thought how that saying is so true EXCEPT when it comes to God. When God asks us to lay something down, it is ALWAYS for our good. Even if we can't see it. Even if it doesn't seem to make sense. Sometimes it's even something that many would say God doesn't care about. Let me say from personal experience...He Cares! He is an intricate God, He's made us complex, and that means if you touch one area of our life, there is no telling the domino effect it can have. Not to mention the benefit to us in "denying" ourselves, picking up our cross and following Him!
In God's economy when He asks us to lay something (our "bird in the hand") down, we can be sure He has something else to give us, "two birds in the bush" so to speak. But the thing is, we want to know WHAT? What will happen if I let this go? And God just doesn't work like that. It's a matter of faith, and a matter of surrender. He can't bless us unless we approach Him in faith, and unless we obey. It's that simple. So, when God prompts you to give up a habit, let something go, you can ask What? What will You give me in return, or Why does this matter? I just don't imagine you getting an answer. That's just not how He rolls! :)
I'll give you some examples in my life. Last August in a mid-week service during praise and worship, I felt impressed to change a habit of mine. And the funny part is the impression was very clear and succinct. Only when I try to verbalize it, it seems to take more words, does that makes sense? You ever have that happen? Anywho - The habit I had to surrender is I had to give up being a pajama mama - ever. Yup, that was one of my nick-names for about 2 years. Because on days that I didn't have to go to town or have company over, I relished being able to have class in my pjs! Now let me say in my younger day, that might have been cute. But the weight I have put on the last 4 years is not giving me "cute days" anymore! Weight ages you, like you would NOT believe! Regardless, the impression in my heart was that God wanted me to "be bold and beautiful" and that "you have prayed and taught your son to look for a certain type of girl, someone who among other things will value herself and take care of herself, but you have not given him a picture of that in his home".
See, I had rested on my laurels. My life as a former career woman. The laurels of the day, after day, after day, after day, of getting up at 4:00 - 4:30 a.m., having Bible and prayer time, make lunches, get shower, get children ready for school, get my hair and make-done, everyone's looking good, been fed and got a meal to take, let's run - and then go, go, go all day and come home and you know, lather, rinse, repeat! But, that was then, this is now. What my son was now seeing day, after day, after day was an aging, overweight (sorry ya'll, not beating myself up, just stating the facts!) woman in her pjs too often, too late in the day, and sometimes not putting make-up on the entire day (OK for some, but as I have aged, my skin needs that extra care - not the skin of my youth for sure! :). And don't even mention the shabby attire for around the house. Not attractive, but, defintely cheap. Some things just needed to be thrown away! Some better choices had to be made for what to wear around the house. And I had to learn to not go near the PC until the shower, excercise, make-up and hair and decent clothes got done EARLY!
Before you think this was just in my head, I can tell you that I so wanted to believe that. But it turned out not to be the case! At first, I was really good about it. Then one Saturday I decided to "take the day off" and wait until just before I attended a birthday party at about 1:00 pm. Because I was home by myself, after all! Let me just say that I could have kicked myself! I missed out on a terrific opportunity to help out a family member, because they needed someone to come right away! Since I had to jump in the shower first, guess what? Yup! I missed out on a great opportunity, someone else was able to get there in time, but I was soooo bummed! I would like to say that was the last time I missed out. But I have to confess, I kept trying to get out of it (winter, etc.). Time wore on, and I still was not taking God up on His offer to "let go of my bird". I found myself facing the most frustrating, stressful and unusal sort of situation with a loved one (completely unrelated to this) and all of a sudden it occurred to me, "I wonder if you were doing that thing, you know that you felt like God put on your heart, if you would be dealing with this issue now if you had been obedient?" I was chagrined. But, I still didn't obey! (Gosh this is embarassing! rolls eyes, shakes head) Anywho - I finally got going and started the whole thing, excercise, shower, make-up, decent clothes, early every day (My vanity makes me add for clarity's sake, that I am a known shower freak, but the point was, I was way too slack about how I took care of myself, as far as attire, make-up and excercise). In less than 7 days the situation I had been facing turned COMPLETELY around! What's even better, is I didn't do it for that purpose. I did it because I knew that it was the right thing to do, and frankly I was just sick of being so undisciplined. I didn't do it to "get" something! But, He gave to me anyway!
The pay-off has been terrific, the guys know I look much better, though they loved "pajama-mama". Some days one of them (husband or son) will STILL ask, "Are you going somewhere?" I love it!
The second thing is much shorter. Remember my post about my alabaster box? Well, by Thursday of that week, there was no longer any doubting that God really was asking me to give up most of my sugar. Don't know that its forever. And I am not extreme about it. But, many days I now have no sugar at all. And some days I feel like I am "allowed" a little bit. You would have to know how extremely fond of all things sweet I am to understand this I did not seek on my own! I was most definitely led! :) But there's been such a grace for it, its been great! And within 5 days of letting sugar go, I lost 4 lbs! That was thrilling since I was stuck on a plateau at that point!
Last night I surrendered my Bible Study that I have been hosting and teaching since January 2007. I LOVE my Bible Study and the girls! We have so much fun & I am so jazzed by the time everyone goes home, that I can't go to bed until 12:00 or 1:00 a.m. God ALWAYS shows up, and always confirms His words to us through the next few days. It made it really hard to be sure that I was "hearing" right. And I kept getting stuck on this "What if I am wrong, you can't just go start another Bible Study and say, oops! I goofed! If I'm wrong, I may never get another chance again" I mean, if I was wrong, I knew God would look out for the people who had been attending, because that's how God is, He'd make sure they were covered. But, I felt like I could not afford to "make a mistake". I wanted to keep my "bird in the hand"!
Needless to say God has a way of getting through to my sometimes hard head, sometimes crowded mind. He reached me, and by yesterday I knew, and I had peace. I was a little lost feeling last night, but, I just pressed in and made a stand of faith. I am looking forward to what is next. I am so sure I won't regret letting my "bird in the hand" go and I will be looking forward to my "two in the bush"!