Tuesday, March 12, 2013

When What We Need Makes Us Vulnerable



Giraffes need water.

But did you know giraffes have to spread their legs and bend down awkwardly to get water?

And every time they do this they make themselves vulnerable to predator attacks.

So what do giraffes do in order to get what they need despite the prowling lions and hungry crocs?

Giraffes…

Look up & find water elsewhere (acacia leaves)
 We too can find what we need by looking up. More often than not we convince ourselves that what we need will only—can only come from someone else—something else. More often than not it’s a fallacy. We have all we need in God.

Avoid waterholes where predators hang
It’s worth it to pay attention to the company we keep. I’ve walked out of some settings and mumbled, “But for the grace of God.” Skin of my teeth moments. Beyond grateful that more detrimental events didn’t occur in those places.

Though, this one has a tendency to be more difficult to discern. Lions can waltz into our lives disguised as affable elephants. But a lion will always reveal its claws at some point or another. Unfortunately, lions also like to hang around waiting too. This is why there are circumstances in life when we are better off skipping the waterhole and lifting our heads.

Go together
I’ve reaped tremendous benefits from seeking (and being open to) accountability in my life. Not long ago one of my closest friends stopped me midsentence and said, “You need to shut those thoughts down, Wendy.” And it hit me…I was giving credence to lies. The affirmation I started off needing came blessedly wrapped in a whopping bout of truth-telling.

Take turns
We all have moments of weakness—times we know our legs won’t cooperate beneath us when we tell them to bend. Time to keep watch for someone else.  Or we encounter stages in life when our eyes blur, clouding our vision. Time to step up to the water and awkwardly shift our legs.

There’s a beautiful give and take that occurs in relationships that we’re bound to miss if we’re always the one taking—or giving for that matter.

Drink 12 gallons of water at a time
I wanted to live deliberately, I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life.” Henry David Thoreau

There’s something to be said for investing deeply, for being grateful for every moment given to us living as though we may not be granted another—for learning to appreciate rare opportunities.

Something to be said for slurping up 12 gallons of water at a time. Go, giraffe, go!
~
I’m fascinated by animals and nature. It never ceases to amaze me the innate ways animals circumvent threats.

We need to feel safe. We need love. We need other things. What happens when what we need makes us vulnerable? In times of need, we’re wise to be mindful of how a giraffe approaches a watering hole.
~
Which one of the above are you most likely to forget in times of need? Which one has benefitted you time and time again?

**2 more interesting giraffe facts: a giraffe’s heart is 2 feet long & weighs 25lbs and giraffes communicate by emitting low notes humans are unable to hear
***photos by stock.XCHNG

22 comments:

  1. I saw a picture the other day of a giraffe sleeping. It's neck was all bent at a most uncomfortable-looking angle. Astounds me that they have the same number of neck vertebrae as we do.

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    1. I love paying close attention to nature. Chock full of goodies. Pinterest has had some adorable giraffe pictures floating around lately.

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  2. Wendy,
    I love your perspective on life -- and what you add to my life.
    I'm not much of a water drinker ... I just forget, you know? But I like that Thoreau quote (imagine, me, liking a quote!), and so that attribute of a giraffe is going to stick with me today.

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    1. I'll never forget watching Dead Poets for the first time, hearing O Captain my Captain quote Thoreau. It went deep.

      Thanks for your kind words about my perspective. It humors and amuses me much of the time.

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  3. I love how you look at life, Wendy, making comparisons that give whole new perspectives. Reading your posts gives me a mental s-t-r-e-t-c-h to start my day. Nice!

    In January I started following the Curves Complete plan so I could learn to eat right. One aspect of the plan is drinking 64 ounces of water a day. Talk about tanking up. The first few weeks I felt waterlogged, but my body gradually adjusted to being adequately hydrated.

    I realized that I need to be just as filled spiritually. If I neglect my Bible reading, worship services, prayer, and the like, Satan is far more apt to get a foothold. So, the reminder to "look up" is a needed one in my case. Thanks.

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    1. Hot dog, and here I thought I was making progress downing my 8oz before breakfast! You are my liquid hero!

      Ha! S-t-r-e-t-c-h! Fun to comment on this post with that, eh? ;-)

      Thanks for your encouragement. I stumble upon facts that grab me and then I play.

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  4. Love this, Wendy...the analogy is wonderfully easy to picture! I think I so often forget to look up to solve my problems. Silly, since He is the author of all and knows exactly what I'm feeling. But that is starting to change, because I've been trying to commit the first minutes of my day to spending time with him. It's making a difference in my perspective throughout the day.

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    1. I couldn't sleep last night. Tossing, turning, I'm sure you know the drill. Finally it hit me, yup, I could use this time to pray.

      I liked learning these little details about giraffes too. I kept thinking how nice they fit right in with what I want to convey.

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  5. I love these thoughts, Wendy. Lovely inspiration for me today. :)

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    1. Thanks, Erica! I know March is a fun month for you. Hope it's going well!

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  6. I drink water all day long, but it's something I take for granted. I go to the kitchen, fill my bottle, then refill when it's empty. I don't have to walk half a day to a dangerous stream to get water that may or may not be clean. I don't have to bend my legs to reach the water.

    I'm so thankful for the Living Water that pours out by looking up.

    I love how your friend stopped you in mid-sentence to discount the lies forming in your head.

    Thank you for this beautiful analogy!

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    1. Yep, she is one treasured find, that friend of mine. A keeper!

      I've always found it cool that reference to God as the Living Water. Way cool!

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  7. You had me with the picture of the giraffe, lol. Love this. My answer to which one I may skip out on as an oasis or water source? All of the above. I've noticed that although life isn't easier as I age, my choices have more clarity. I know now which are going to to quench my thirst and which are going to turn out to be a dry well. Thanks Wendy, for this.

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    1. There is so much worth in gaining this type of clarity. I pray often for discernment.

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  8. Okay, this is totally random but one time my brother said, "Melissa, wouldn't it be funny to see a giraffe riding a bicycle." Totally out of the blue...and we laughed forever...

    Seriously, though, awesome post...I loved the first part especially, about looking up...to God. That change in perspective changes everything. Also, I'm really horrible at drinking water. I'm trying though...I think I downed two whole glasses yesterday. :)

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    1. Siblings are great for those type of jokes, aren't they?

      Now that I'm working at the coffee shop, I find I have to fill up with water even more to counterbalance the caffeine intake.

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  9. Great comparisons! I like the one about finding water elsewhere - I keep coming back to that realization you pointed out about the Lord giving us all we need - validation, help, strength, etc.

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    1. I come back to this time and time again. Seems I need a lot of practice learning this one.

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  10. Love the giraffes!

    Filling up in safe places really struck me. What's that old saying, "going where angels fear to tread?"

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    1. Getting excited about your book, Susan!

      I'm now curious about that saying. Wonder what it's alluding to. Hmm.

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  11. "There’s something to be said for investing deeply, for being grateful for every moment given to us living as though we may not be granted another—for learning to appreciate rare opportunities."

    Loved this Wendy Paine Miller quote. :)

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    1. When I think of you, Melanie, I picture you wandering castles and tromping over German ground. How goes it? A good friend of mine just received horrifying news of a family in crisis after a devastating car accident. I hope I never forget how fragile life is.

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