“Just keep it simple, Debbie,” my friend advised. I want to “keep it simple,” but sometimes life isn’t simple. That morning as I was trying to share something with Larry as he was rushing out the door he interrupted me to ask about our dog. “You are leaving, and you want me to stop and take care of the dog? ” Thirty minutes later a neighbor’s cat snatched a bird from our bird feeder. Not a very calming sight from your kitchen table, especially since you lured the birds by feeding them. The sight sent my daughter off to work in tears and upset with me. Somehow it was my fault the cat got the bird.
I called a neighbor to find out who owned the preying cat. The cat belongs to a single mom, the same family whose cat food used to entice our dog to cross her boundary when she was young. At the time, I’d asked the neighbor to put her food up high so my dog wouldn’t get into it. I felt bad our dog ate their cat food, not to mention that it made her sick when she ate it—usually around midnight in our bedroom. She said her cat was too old to climb so she had to keep the food low. Now I have an old lame dog, and she has a leaping young cat who eats our birds. I still feel bad and somehow responsible.
Heeding my friend’s advice, I realize, again, that I don’t rule the universe and am not to blame for choices I can’t control. I can ask the neighbor to put a bell on the cat to warn my birds. I can bring her a bell. I can close my blinds and not witness the carnage. I can get a BB gun or slingshot! But I can’t stop the cat from acting like a cat—and neither can my neighbor.
How much of our angst comes from feeling responsible for things we can’t control? I don’t know the answer, but I am trying to cast those cares back on the Lord, ask for wisdom, and control what I can control—me.
1 Peter 5:7 says “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (NIV). When I feel overwhelmed I have found this to be very sound advice. When I practice this, the haze clears and the right options surface. Life may get complicated, but the source of my peace is simple. God cares for me.
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