By Billy Holland Chaplain to the Ordained/Licensed Christian Minister: Jessamine County Fire District
Once upon a time there was a young eaglet who accidentally fell from the safety of his nest on top of the mountain. Miraculously, he fell into a patch of soft grass and survived. He tripped out in the open and a farmer saw him and brought him to the farm and put him in a coop with all the other chickens. Since the eagle had not yet discovered its true identity, it began to observe other birds and naturally followed their habits and did what they did. So many people have been wrongly influenced into trying to be like others and for some it has ruined their lives. He grew stronger and more beautiful every day, but he had not yet discovered the revelation of who he was and what he was called to be.
One day a man from a zoo came to the farm when he heard of an eagle reared like a chicken. The farmer explained that the bird was no longer an eagle; he was now a chicken because that’s all he ever knew. However, the zookeeper knew that the bird had the heart and soul of a noble eagle, and was never meant to live on the ground, had to be unrestrained and soar in the clouds. He lifted the eagle onto a fence and told it to fly. The eagle took one look at the cozy chicken coop, jumped off the fence, and continued doing what chickens do. The man returned the next day realizing the eagle was born for something much bigger – he just had to know! This time he carried the eagle to the roof of the farmhouse and again told it to spread its wings and fly. The big bird looked at the man, then went back down to the chicken coop and gracefully came down to be with his friends.
The man was now more engaged than ever and said he would return the next day and prove that the eagle was truly the most majestic, powerful, dignified and majestic raptor in the world. The farmer shook his head and said, “He is what he thinks.” The next morning the man took the eagle up the mountain and climbed as high as he could. With an eight-foot wingspan and razor-sharp talons, the eagle perched on his arm and the man pointed high in the sky. He said, “Eagle, you belong to heaven and not to earth. Stretch your wings and fly. This time the eagle looked up into the bright sun, straightened its body, and spread its wings. He puffed out his chest and you could see the dignity and strength rising in him. His wings moved slowly at first, then with more power and confidence. Suddenly, with a mighty scream, he launched himself into the open air and began to fly towards the sun. The eagle finally realized who he was and never returned to an average, ordinary life of mediocrity.
The eagle by nature flies high and independent, and does not follow a flock. They have a clear vision, are very strong and choose where they want to go. As experienced hunters, they decide what and when they eat, which is why they are classified as birds of prey. On the other hand, the domesticated chicken is a symbol of what is limited and dependent on others. As a tingling and scratching ground dweller, it is weak and vulnerable to predators. They just eat and sleep and be taken care of. This is not to say that chickens lack the ability to understand and reason, but the analogy indicates an attitude of complacency. Attributes such as intelligence, emotional sensitivity, talent, and a charismatic personality are not what keep someone trapped in the bondage of a survival mentality, it’s not knowing who they are and refusing to do whatever it takes to become all that she was called to be. Barriers of low self-esteem and lack of confidence must be overcome as each individual decides the level of success they wish to achieve. I use the word decide because the mind has to be trained and only the person who wants to change can change the course of his destiny. Thank God for those who recognize our potential and encourage us to fly because they love us.
Birds of a feather fly together
There is a huge difference between personal transformation and just talking and wishing. We can advise, advise, pray and encourage someone, but only they can discipline their thoughts, take the initiative and chart a new direction. For example, being an optimistic person does not just happen out of the blue and happen on its own, but rather it is a learned behavior similar to the development of bad habits such as a negative attitude or a rude personality. We cannot prevent unpleasant things from happening to us, but we decide whether they will control us or we prevent them from controlling us. As we discover what God wants us to be, we are then faced with the decision of whatever we are going to do. Philippians 1:6 says, “Being assured of this very thing, that he (God) who began a good work in you will carry it on to its completion until the day of Jesus Christ. The writer says that God regards you as his most precious possession and is filled with anticipation and excitement to see you prosper and prosper according to his plans. However, it will take self-discipline to overcome fear and doubt because it won’t force us to obey it the same way it doesn’t force us to love it.
Throughout our lives, we look to those who have accomplished admirable things while the unseen forces of negativity remind us of how we could never do this. You’re not good enough or you don’t deserve this or that are some of the most common lies people face when they have low self-esteem. The truth is, these individuals who soar in the clouds were also stalked by the same dark voices and deceptions, but became determined to rise above them. Anyone who has grown in the wisdom and obedience of God has learned to be careful who he listens to. Unfortunately, some have become victims of their environment and need to break free from the cycle of dysfunction. Our thoughts control our actions and eagles have no place in the chicken coop. Birds of a feather gather and if you are determined to be an eagle, it is important to spend time with other eagles.
A healthy mind is one of the greatest gifts we have received and it is our responsibility to guard and protect what it absorbs. Ears and eyes are windows to the soul and as guardians of our garden of thoughts we must be very careful about the type of seeds that are planted and allowed to grow.
We are reminded in Proverbs 23 that a person thinks in his heart, so is he. You see, the farmer was aware of what the eagle was supposed to be, and knew that if the eagle believed he was a chicken, he would still live like a chicken. A true leader can recognize another leader and it is the zookeeper who understood the potential of the eagle and did everything to help him see his destiny. Many of us were lucky enough to have someone who saw our abilities and helped us fly. In turn, after realizing who God has called us to be, it is our mission to help others who need encouragement and inspiration to look in the mirror and see themselves as God sees them. I know people who are confused and don’t have a clear direction because they say they can’t find their way. We may indeed be adrift, but God knows exactly where we are and where we need to be. If we sincerely seek Him in prayer, Matthew 7:8 promises, “For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.”
We are called to be eagles, but our natures tend to be complacent and content to take the easy way out. When Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane just before he was arrested, he asked his disciples if they would watch and pray with him. After a while he went to see them and they were sound asleep. It is quoted in Matthew 26:41: “Watch and pray that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is ready, but the flesh is weak.” The story of the eagle and the chicken is about knowing our identity and, as Luke 1:37 states, “NOTHING is impossible with God.”
Learn more about the Christian life and Dr. Holland’s book, “Convictions and Considerations – Encouragement for the Soul” at billyhollandministries.com.