Do you ever wonder what your pets are thinking? I do. We have a cat. Katniss is her name and for good reason – she’s a prolific hunter (i.e. The Hunger Games). Being an outside cat she has plenty of opportunity to exercise her primal instincts. Unfortunately, she then proudly deposits her prey by the back door: birds, squirrels, mice, rabbits, chipmunks. Though I don’t mind her expertise in rodent control, the results are disgusting.
But seriously, does she know how good she has it? Katniss spends her days doing as she pleases. No responsibilities. No chores. No expectations. No deadlines approaching. Just taking long naps in the sun, rolling in the grass, romping around the yard, hunting when she’s in the mood, maybe climbing a tree every now and then for the fun of it.
She doesn’t have to worry about planning or preparing meals because her food and water are faithfully replenished twice a day. Once a month she’s unhappily doused with medications but never gives a thought to a diet and exercise program, never frets about maintaining a healthy lifestyle. She’s petted and loved on…when she is willing and on her own terms, obviously. She can be dismissively independent one minute, then affectionately rubbing against my leg the next but she doesn’t really care what I think about her.
Katniss will look at me with those brilliant green eyes but I can’t honestly discern what sentiment lies behind her gaze. I have a feeling there’s an overriding sense of superiority somewhere in there.
Apparently I have cat envy. Not that I want to sleep outside in the elements or eat an unvaried diet of crunchy fish-flavored morsels, but the more carefree aspects of a cat’s life are certainly appealing. What would it feel like to wake up with no “to do” list? To receive emails with no expectation of a reply? To take a nap when I’m tired, no matter the time of day? To have to meet no one’s expectations? To lie down to sleep without being overwhelmed and anxious about tomorrow?
On the other hand, can she even consider her life? Can she reflect on how good she has it? Of course she is aware of her surroundings and knows where her “home” is, where to find her food each day. But when she’s basking in a sunny spot on the driveway, stretching her paws lazily in the light, can she even ponder the delights of such an untroubled and unfettered life? With apologies to any anthropomorphistic readers, I sincerely doubt she can reflect on anything other than a full stomach and a warm, dry bed.
So…despite being oftentimes encumbered by responsibilities and overwhelmed by expectations, I am thankful to have the ability to reflect on my life, to contemplate faith, to meditate on trust.
Jesus exhorts us in the Sermon on the Mount to consider the birds of the air and the lilies of the field. He asserts they neither sow nor reap, toil nor spin. Yet God faithfully provides and protects and cares for them. Jesus goes on to conclude that there’s no need for anxiety or worry, but only for faith.
To be free of cares doesn’t mean a life without responsibilities or unburdened by obligations. I think maybe it simply means shifting our focus. “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33, ESV) That’s a word I need today as I’ve just returned from a nine-day ministry trip and am frantically preparing for a writer’s conference later this week.
Just as Katniss focuses her undivided attention and effort on her prey, I should relentlessly and unwaveringly pursue God’s kingdom. If my full attention is directed towards seeking Jesus, wholeheartedly believing His kingdom is real and present and available and that my King/Provider/Savior is good and just and loving, how could there be room for worry?
I think I’ll go find a sunny spot to rest in while I mull over this thought a bit.