“Pride, for years, has told me that I am strong enough to drink from a firehose, and gluttony tells me it will all be so delicious. But those voices are liars. The glass of cool water is more lovely and sustaining than the firehose will ever be, and I’m starting to trust the voices of peace and simplicity more than pride and gluttony. They’re leading me well these days.”
Shauna Niequist in Present Over Perfect
Recently, I was feeding ducks with my 2.5-year-old son and I noticed among the many ducks there were a few different strategies being employed. Some of the ducks were anticipating me throwing it farther out to them and were constantly moving around, ready to dive for it the second it hit the water. Some ducks were outliers and waited for some bread to fall along the edges of the group. Some ducks floated right next to the dock and waited for the pieces my son would drop right over the edge (they received the most to eat). Other ducks waited for another duck to catch a big piece and then would go after that piece and the duck holding it. I laughed at these ducks, they looked so silly fighting over one piece of bread while we had almost a full loaf we were throwing their way. I sometimes would throw a piece at the fighting ducks to try and break it up, but guess what? They didn’t even notice.
How often are we like these ducks? We are too concerned with what other people have that we miss the gifts God is sending our way. Instead of choosing contentment, choosing patience in the waiting, we go after the “bread” someone else has, thinking it will satisfy us.
And, honestly, I can also relate with the ducks who were swimming around in anticipation, their nervous energy propelling their webbed feet in circles in the water. Sometimes I find myself trying to feel more important and worthwhile in the waiting seasons by swimming around my own kind of circles. I can easily fall into the trap of thinking that being busy equals doing “big things” for God or being a “good Christian.” Also, I often have thought that the faster I “swam” the more “bread” I would be able to acquire.
Yet, it was the ducks who sat in the water closest to the dock, closest to my son, who received the most bread to eat. Similarly, when I rest in knowing God is who He says He is, and that I am who He says I am, then I can calm myself down enough to sit closer to Him and wait on Him. I can wait for His fulfilling presence and can choose to be fully satisfied with His love and grace.
I don’t need to be jealous of what others have, or even be jealous of what God is doing in their lives. I can choose thankfulness and focus on the One providing the Bread. And who is this Provider? Jesus! He was born into this world in Bethlehem (“the city of bread”). And, He is the Bread of Life, He even told people this when He was on earth (John 6:35).
The Good News of the Gospel means there is enough of Him for us all to be completely satisfied. There’s no formula for receiving more of Him. We don’t have to work harder or have more “quiet time” to earn more of His love. He has offered Himself fully and completely, and now we humbly receive His love, His life, and His grace.