There is a Western Bluebird throwing himself against the screened window in our dining room. Actually, he’s been here for over a week, from dawn to dusk. While I’ve never heard of bluebirds doing this, they are members of the Thrush family, as are American Robins. Robins are notorious for attacking their reflections in window in a futile attempt to drive off the “intruder” in their territory. I can only assume that this bluebird is doing likewise, and vigorously attacking his own reflection.
It seems like such a waste of time. Shouldn’t he be courting a mate, building a nest, raising a family? Summer is short, and for a bluebird, there is only one item on the agenda. Yet he spends his days at our window, fighting… nothing. A mirage. A figment of his imagination. How sad.
And how many of us do the same thing? We spend our time worrying, fighting dragons that only exist in our minds. We could be creating eternal fruit, and yet we squander our time on trivialities that won’t matter even next week. We think we are making headway against our enemies, but we are really hurting ourselves.
What will that bluebird accomplish, fighting his own reflection? He could wear himself out. He would have hurt himself by now, except that the screen cushions his impacts against the glass behind it. He’s truly focused on himself, although he doesn’t realize it. All he needs to do is turn around and look in the other direction. There is grass, there are trees, insects and spiders waiting to be eaten. There’s even the love of his life (or at least of this year’s breeding season) and a bluebird nest box waiting for them. Life could be good.
Introspection has its place. However, there comes a point where our soul-searching becomes merely narcissism. We become so focused on ourselves that we neglect to love God or love others.
One role the Holy Spirit plays in our lives is bringing to light that which God wants to change in us. Instead of spending our days focused on ourselves, agonizing over all the ways we fall short, let’s let the Spirit do his job. We will never run out of things to learn, ways to grow more like Jesus. I’m thankful that God is a gentle teacher; He only brings up as much as I can handle for the moment. Our responsibility isn’t finding things for God to fix. Our job is to keep our focus on Jesus, “the author and perfecter of our faith.” (Heb. 12:2)