In a blog I wrote some time ago (The Journey to My Holiday ), I promised to write about several things that God appears to be teaching me during this season of my journey. I wrote this post three years ago, but moved it an a whole series on women up to 2011 because I finally wrote the one on men to go with it.
Even though I still struggle with doubts and distance, it seems that God is up to something in my life.
I hope so.
During the NextStep school I attended (discussed in my the last blog), Larry Crabb talked about something he read in the book Sensitivity of the Spirit by R T Kendall.
John 1:32-34 says about Jesus at His baptism by John:
32 Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. 33 I would not have known him, except that the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is he who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 I have seen and I testify that this is the Son of God.”
Larry posed this question to the class, “Why does the fact that the dove ‘remained’ on Jesus prove that He is the Son of God?”
Apparently, doves will not “remain” on anything that is not at peace. The moment that peace is interrupted, the dove flees. But because Jesus was a man at complete peace with His Father, His circumstances, Himself…
the dove remained.
Larry contrasted the dove with a pigeon.
Have you ever been to Trafalgar Square in London and seen the pigeons?
Nothing disturbs pigeons who want food. Unlike the dove, who moves at the slightest disturbance, who knows what it would take to shoo those pigeons away.
Maybe a stick of dynamite.
Larry continued to talk about how when we are walking in the Spirit, the dove remains.
We are at peace. We are quiet.
Well, I don’t know what more Larry Crabb said, because this metaphor took off for me. I continued to mull over these images in my mind.
In fact, I realized I am a pigeon most of the time.
And I need to learn to live like a dove.
How am I like a pigeon? And how does that differ from a dove?
1. I’m agitated a lot. I imagine a pigeon jerking its head around, looking left, right, center, down, up, always moving. Agitated. Can’t stop. Must be busy. Often feels nervous and uptight inside.
Doves just sit there, slowly looking around, quiet. I once sat under a tree that had a dove in it and didn’t even know it was there til it flew off. This is why magicians use doves in shows. ‘Cause they don’t move.
2. I MUST talk. And talk fast. And talk more. Sure, doves coo, but pigeons, they sort of making a coo with a rolled r: croo, croo. Sometimes it’s a coo crossed with a hen’s buckbuckbuck: a coo that never stops. Croocroocroo. It’s not relaxing. Not like the dove’s intermittent coos.
3. I get all worked up when circumstances take me by surprise, don’t go my way. Then I get everyone around me worked up. Can’t you just picture a pigeon flapping its wings? Flying up around back down. Flapping, flapping. A startled pigeon makes me nervous. A startled dove just flies away.
4. I’m controlling. And pigeons are controlling. If you have food, they won’t leave. Sometimes they’ll just sit on your head til you give in. They put pressure on you: feed me, feed me, feed me. You MUST feed me.
5. When they’re not controlling, pigeons are manipulative (who, me?). They wander around looking hungry til you give in and toss them some bread. Doves will certainly take your food, but they’d rather fly away and find some peace then stay around and let you feed them. They eat after you leave.
I tell you, I was really convicted by this one: how often I live in the flesh (the pigeon) rather than the Spirit (the dove).
I mean, isn’t it obvious that the pigeon-like behaviors don’t reflect trust in God? If not, I’ll post more on that later (when I talk about the gentle and quiet spirit of a Godly woman….).
While I was thinking about this, I kept imagining how often I adopt pigeon-like behaviors when I sit down with each of my girls to help them practice their instruments. I get agitated, controlling, flapping, talking… It drives both of us crazy.
I kept imagining what it would be like if I could enter into God’s peace while they practice. Calm, encouraging, not expecting them to “do it my way,” so not controlling… I want to be that person. I think the girls want it, too.
I’m more aware now when I’m walking in the pigeon and not in the dove. I try to remember to put on the dove when I feel that pigeon doing its thing.
And I want my heart to find the peace of the dove. My heart wants that, too.
But that pigeon is rooted pretty deeply in my life. I’ve come to depend on that pigeon. It’ll take a lot to remove it.
Like some dynamite.
Hm. The dynamite of God.
That could explain a lot about my circumstances…
Next up: What IS a gentle and quiet spirit??