During a difficult season in my life, a friend asked me a very poignant question: How does an eagle get her birds to leave the nest? I had no response. She said eagles place rocks in the nest and remove the straw. In essence, they make it uncomfortable so that the fledging will soar. It’s interesting that God will often allow challenges to allow us to activate our faith. Yet I believe our struggles shouldn’t become endless suffering.
For many of us, we can justify the discontent to remain in dysfunctional situations because at least the ‘rocks’ in our lives are familiar. Instead of pursuing the new and unknown, we settle for what we know. There’s no shame in my game. I’ve done it, too. I remember the old folks would say ‘when you get sick and tired of being sick and tired, you’ll do something.’ The problem is that we sometimes allow ourselves to get so tied to the chaos and confusion that we normalize being sick and tired.
We often glamorize the stress, being mistreated and ill as a badge of honor we carry. The wounds, even if internal, don’t have a chance to heal because as a culture, we’ve made it noble. Staying stuck isn’t an option, especially when we have been created for greater. Life has difficulties. I think Christianity has given unintentionally this narrative that as Believers, things get easy. That’s not true. The rain falls on the just and the unjust (Matthew 5:45). No one is exempt. Yet we can rest in knowing: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world,” John 16:33. “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand,” Isaiah 41:10.
I’m sure it’s terrifying once the baby eagle starts to ascend but recognizing the wind beneath its wings carries it into flight. Our wind is our faith. God carries us if we allow God to do so. When you’re going through a difficult time, it can become so easy to try to figure things out yourself. Don’t. Seek God and pray for guidance and discernment. The answer may not be immediate but do not stop seeking your answer. Daniel is a reminder of what happens when we don’t give up (Daniel 10). “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus,” Philippians 4:6–7 (NIV).
Seek wise counsel. Strive to build a community that can speak into your life based on Godly wisdom and instruction. Everybody who is older is not necessarily wise. “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice,” Proverbs 12:15. “Where there is no guidance, a people fall, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety,” Proverbs 11:14. Seek God’s kingdom first. When you take care of God’s business, God takes care of yours. Sometimes, we forget that our purpose isn’t just about us.
It’s so much bigger and it’s always connected to others through God’s plan for our lives. “So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own,” Matthew 6:31–34 (NIV). So, when you are scared to fly, recognize that soaring is in your blood! Just remember to seek God before you try to reach the sky!
(Dr. Froswa’ Booker-Drew is the CEO of Soulstice Consulting <drfroswabooker.com> and the founder of the R2 Foundation <r2fdn.org>. She is the author of four books including Empowering Charity: A New Narrative of Philanthropy by Baylor University Press and the host of the Tapestry podcast.)