This year I plan to not get stressed out. How, you ask? By simply not flapping!
When I returned to school this fall, I sighed as I realized that I would be once again entering the stressful environment of deadlines, deadbeats and feeling dead tired. It’s been the same routine with ever-increasing amounts of work—for 16 years now.
Okay, here’s my plan for less stress. When facing major stressors, I am resolved to remember that the Bible tells us:
“He [God] gives strength to those who grow tired and increases the strength of those who are weak… the strength of those who wait with hope in the Lord will be renewed. They will soar on wings like eagles” (Isaiah 40:29, 31; God’s Word Translation, emphasis added).
When we trust in and wait on the Lord, we can know that He will take care of all our needs. God through the eloquent Isaiah tells us that we will then rise up and soar like eagles.
Why is this particular analogy used? Consider that birds fly in one of three ways: constantly flapping, gliding or soaring.
Many smaller birds travel in this fashion. Though hummingbirds do this seemingly gracefully, flapping is usually a lot of work that doesn’t get them that far. Since the bird constantly has to work, it tires more easily and can only fly relatively short distances.
Medium-sized birds like pheasants or grouse can work at flapping until they get high enough to glide for a while—gracefully drifting downward for brief periods. Eventually, unless they start flapping again, they would glide straight into the ground. This is better than always flapping, but is there something even better?
A few birds, like the eagle, are able to truly soar. This is because the eagle’s wings are large and powerful enough to catch the vertical columns of air (called thermals) shooting straight up from the earth in some places. Eagles can boost themselves up very high, floating from air column to air column without flapping much at all. These birds essentially glide downward on a constantly rising current of air.
This applies to our lives as well. When I stress out, I feel like a bird flapping with all my might, but not really getting anywhere. How we live life and how we trust in God for our daily needs and wants is analogous to how these birds fly!
Often we just flap and flap in life at school, home or work, trying to get ourselves in flight. Sometimes we do get airborne, but we exhaust ourselves from the stress.
We can work toward our moments of grace and epiphanies, but if we get too comfortable with our own accomplishments, we will plummet into the ground thinking we’ve got plenty of air left through which to glide.
This is the ideal! When we soar, we don’t have to worry about flapping or fear the lack of space to glide—we just comfortably float above our trials and fears, trusting God to keep the wind under our wings!
By waiting with hope on God to help us, we soar like eagles with renewed and increased strength physically, emotionally and especially spiritually. All of that translates into less negative stress in our lives. Imagine that, less “flapping” means less stress!