Have you ever felt like life just needs to stop so you can focus on the problem at hand? You reason, if I could only take some time to think about what’s going on and what I’m going to do about it, then I’d feel better. If only I didn’t have so many other things to do and so many responsibilities I could spend more time trying to understand my situation more clearly.
I can remember thinking this way when it seemed like my marriage was crumbling and life as I knew it was crashing down all around me. I wanted more than anything to be able to stop the world from spinning so that I could just figure a few things out.
But the world didn’t stop. There were still lesson plans to be made and school work to check. Family gatherings to be planned and Bible studies to be organized. Laundry to do and groceries to be bought and people to be fed.
All I wanted to do was sit and think! But I had to get up and start crossing things off my to-do list.
Every now and then I would just sit and think. Worrying is more like it! Frustrated, I told myself to stop brooding like an old hen – then, I remembered something.
When visiting at Grandma and Grandpa’s farm as kids my brothers and I did chores. Weeding the garden, milking the cow, feeding the chickens, and gathering eggs to name a few. One day, I discovered a different sort of egg. It looked like an egg, but it was cool to the touch, not warm like the others and heavier. I showed it to my grandma and she explained it was a decoy egg. The decoy egg was placed in the nest to encourage the hens to brood, or sit, on the nest and lay their eggs. A broody chicken will sit and sit and sit on her nest of eggs waiting for them to hatch.
With my marriage at stake, the concerns and questions were constantly at the forefront of my mind. Wonderings. Fears. What nows. It seemed that I could sit and brood for hours on end if given the opportunity. But, I was sitting on a nest of decoy eggs – doubt, fear, hopelessness.
Brood means to worry, mope, fret, and agonize. Yep, that was me alright. Decoy means to lure, trap, snare, and distract. And, yep, that surely did happen to me.
It was the to-do list that got me off the nest of brooding over decoy eggs that would never, ever have life in them. Eggs that lured me into thinking I needed to sit and brood awhile. The problem was by continuing to brood over uncertainty and hopelessness, it produced more of the same.
Nothing was solved. Insight was not gained. Peace was not realized.
So, what’s a hen – I mean, a person to do? Let’s go back to the chickens.
When the chickens are ready to sleep at night, they return to their coop and look for a high place where they can sleep close together for warmth and protection. Their caretaker will normally block the nesting boxes at night and provide a board where the hens can perch. This is called roosting. By definition, to roost means to settle, rest, stay, perch, sleep, and nestle.
No brooding allowed. Time to get off the nest, come up higher, settle down, and rest.
Friends, God offers such a place for you. When your world is simultaneously whirling and crumbling and the demands keep coming and you’re tempted to crawl into your nesting box and never come out – He says, Come. There is rest for your weary soul, peace for your frightened thoughts, and a place where you can nestle close for a bit of comfort.
From that place of rest you will find the strength to take care of the people and things in your life.
Instead of wishing them away, thank God for the urgent matters! Thank God for work. Thank God for family gatherings. Thank God for the stuff of life that just won’t wait! The laundry. The meals. The school. I had thought I wanted the world to stop, but the fact that it kept right on going kept me going, too.
The Lord God is my Strength, my personal bravery, and my invincible army; He makes my feet like hinds’ feet and will make me to walk [not to stand still in terror, but to walk] and make [spiritual] progress upon my high places [of trouble, suffering, or responsibility]!
Habakkuk 3:19 AMP
Won’t you determine with me today to stop being a brooder and become a rooster instead? Wait – not a rooster – I mean, one who roosts. Let’s settle our minds on the reality of God’s love for us. Come up higher, away from the worry and fear. We can rest knowing our Caretaker has made provision for our protection and comfort.