Crazy Bird Lady

My husband Darren tells me that I am like a weird cat lady, but with birds instead of cats.  One of my favorite things to do is lay in a hammock in the backyard and read.  One day last year as I was laying under our big oak tree, I noticed a red cardinal flying over my head.  He would land on the branches above me and then call out a repetitive sound and then fly away.  He would return over and over and sing out to other birds.  Sometimes other cardinals would come and join him.  Sometimes they would mimic the same sound from a distance. 

I was so intrigued by these birds and desperately wanted to know what each sound meant.  Were they fighting, claiming territory, declaring love, sharing a good spot to find food?  I decided to record their sounds with my cell phone and realized that there were actually four distinct sounds being made. 

The next morning, I went outside and held my phone up in the air as I played these sounds, and guess what happened…immediately a red cardinal appeared!  I tried out the different sounds over and over and each time a cardinal would appear.  I noticed that each sound caused a different response from the cardinal and one actually made the bird act panicked.  He would get closer and closer to the sound while probably feeling confused that he couldn’t find another cardinal.  I was dying to know what each sound meant.  Darren was really embarrassed when we went for walk around the neighborhood and I decided to try out my new bird calling skills.  He said that I was probably torturing the birds, but I felt like I had become a bird whisperer. 

I don’t know about you, but nothing points me to Christ like watching his creation.  Imitating these cardinals reminded me that as Christians we are called to be imitators of Christ.  Ephesians 5:1 says, “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children.”  In 2 Corinthians 11:1, Paul even goes as far as to say, “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.”  Whoa, that’s pressure!

I can tell you that if I am going to imitate someone, I must know them.  To know them means that I know what they like and don’t like, and it means that over a period of time, I see how they respond in different situations.  BUT, in order to know them, I must spend time with them.  So, if I want to imitate Jesus, I have to spend time with him.  I have to read the Bible because it’s all about Jesus, and I have to talk to God through prayer.

So, based on God’s word, what does it look like for me to imitate Jesus?  It means that I show the fruits of the spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

Can you look at those traits and confidently say, like Paul did, “Follow me as I follow Christ”?  Sometimes…maybe?  Definitely not all the time!

I am so thankful that although I don’t always imitate Christ, I can still have a relationship with him.  I am thankful for God’s forgiveness through Christ and I am thankful that my relationship with Him isn’t all or nothing. 

Although my calling of the cardinals may seem a little crazy, let it be a reminder to you, as it is to me when I see a cardinal…be imitators of Christ.  Let the world see him through you.  Let them know his love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.