What if prayers fell
Instead of tears?
What if I placed
My worries at His feet?
What if I handed Him
My darkest fears?
What if I saw the world
Beyond what is “me”?
Now that I’m on the other side of this past week, I see my shortcomings center stage with a spotlight on them. For most of the week, I was “stressed out”, irritable and generally a joy to be around for those who dared approach me.
Why did I put so much pressure on myself to have it all together? It didn’t even occur to me that the Cub Scout motto, “Do your best” would apply to me, too. Why didn’t I pray for guidance before the pressure I put on myself brought me to the point of breaking? Because at some point, I forgot how to share my burdens with God.
I was planning my first Webelos meeting as a Den Leader. That meeting was part of the Forester and Naturalist activities and the leader book informed me that it was normally done as a field trip. Since the meeting would be held in two days, a field trip wouldn’t happen. The book provided some ideas for activities:
Tree survey: select a small area with several species of trees, have the boys collect fallen twigs and leaves and count how many species were found. It seems the desert isn’t prime territory for clusters of varied kinds of trees.
Leaf Identification Contest: Mount 20 different leaves on a large piece of cardboard and have the boys identify them. Same problem as above.
Find a Tree Game: “Play this game outdoors where there are plenty of trees.”
I stopped reading here.
This is also the moment where panic began to set in. I didn’t want the first activity to involve sitting at a table writing for thirty minutes. I’d need a miracle to find an activity to meet a badge requirement. I read through the list again, eliminating each one because of the lack of “action” or the lack of trees in our area.
whined muttered a quick prayer for God to help me and I read through the list again. Where I had stopped reading at “Make a poster,” on my previous scans, I finished reading the entire requirement: “Make a poster showing a tree’s growth rings or examine the growth rings of a tree stump. Explain how the rings tell its life history.”
That was it. I remembered two weeks ago, my parents cut down a Mesquite tree that had gotten too unwieldy for their yard. They saved some of the wood for us so we could use it for campfires. I ran to the backyard and peeked inside the wood bin. I discovered that we had several trunk pieces – not just branches.
I had the boys try to guess what kind of tree it was based on what the bark looked like, texture and smell. None of them guessed it was a Mesquite tree, but the adults suddenly craved a Mesquite grilled steak 🙂 They examined the wood pieces and ventured guesses on the tree’s age (11-13 years). They studied in pairs and seemed to enjoy it.
It could be coincidence that after I said my informal prayer, I noticed the tree stump study – and happened to have tree trunk pieces handy. I choose to see a deeper connection. In preparing a lesson for the kids, I was reminded of a lesson of my own: If I step outside the restraints of my own burdens, I am free to see what was there all along (but I was too focused on “me” to notice).
Psalms 55:22 – Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.
Now, this doesn’t mean that I won’t ever fail or make mistakes – I will. But sometimes those mistakes are valuable lessons, too.
Speaking of mistakes, the next Cub Scout meeting activity involves soil, earthworms and glass jars. Sounds like a recipe for recipe for dirty disaster, doesn’t it? Or, maybe it’s a perfect situation for learning – even if the experiment doesn’t go as planned.
Do problems ever seem to swallow you? How have you learned to free yourself?