To fulfill what our life is all about, we need to be determined to think like eagles. Otherwise, we can easily settle for far less than what God has for us, and lose our way in an increasingly more disheartening discouragement. This story helped me to see how soberly true that is:
“One day a farmer found an eagle’s egg and, thinking it was one of his chicken’s eggs, placed it in a nest in his chicken coop. The egg hatched and the baby eagle grew up thinking that he was a chicken. The eagle did what the chickens did. It scratched the dirt for seeds and worms. It did not fly more than a few feet off the ground because this is what chickens did.
One day he saw an eagle flying gracefully and majestically high above him. He asked a chicken friend, ‘What is that beautiful bird?’
The chicken said, ‘That is an eagle. He is an outstanding bird. But you can’t fly like him because you are just a chicken.’
So the eagle never gave a second thought to it. He lived and died as a chicken.” Randy Pottenger
When I read this the first time, I thought to myself:
“What a tragedy. That eagle was built to soar into the heavens. Yet, he pecked at stray seeds and chased insects. Though destined to be among the most majestic of all birds, he believed his neighbor’s counsel and accepted a lie about who he was. He never understood that he could have joined those magnificent birds in the sky and soared with them like an eagle. That is so sad.”
But, the Father surprised me by opening my eyes to this revelation:
“That’s how you’ve been looking at life, even though I have so much more for you to experience and discover.”
In that illuminating moment, it struck me that although the Father wants to use us, we won’t be able to experience it, as long as we continue to think like someone who is stuck in a restricting, self-defeating chicken coop.
Living life with the freedom and courage of an eagle is undoubtedly a grand and oftentimes challenging adventure. So, I’ve also been immensely inspired by pondering this thought:
Life is not a dress rehearsal.
Once today is over, it is gone forever.
It’s not coming back.
When I finally saw all this about “eagle thinking,” I had much fun writing this new ending to the writing about life in the “chicken coop:”
Once there was a man who found an eagle’s egg and put it into the nest of a prairie chicken. The eaglet hatched with the brood of chicks and grew up with them. All of his life, the eagle, thinking he was a prairie chicken, did what prairie chickens do. He scratched in the dirt for seeds and insects to eat. He clucked and cackled. He flew in a brief thrashing of wings and flurry of feathers, no more than a few feet off the ground. After all, that’s how prairie chickens were supposed to fly.
The years passed.
The eagle grew very old.
Then one day, he saw a magnificent bird far above him in the cloudless sky. It was flying with a graceful majesty on the wind currents, and with scarcely a beat of its strong, golden wings.
“What a beautiful bird,” said the eagle to his neighbor. “What is it?”
“That’s an eagle, the chief of birds,” the neighbor clucked.
“But don’t give it a second thought. You could never be like him.”
Yet, something happened! For the first time, he saw who he really was, and the only thing keeping him in the chicken coop was himself.
So, he decided to try.
He spread his wings and rose up like an eagle does. As he did, he left behind the place he had been stuck all his life.
Soon he experienced a kindred closeness with other eagles, who shared his same hopes and dreams. Finding them gave him a new courage when life was hard. Walking closely with them helped him to not give up thinking like an eagle, no matter what it would take to do that, and no matter how discouraging life could still be, at times.
There were still hardships to press through. That didn’t change. But, they were worth it all, because now he was free to be who he was always meant to be.
Being free was scary at times. Yet, he knew that he would never go back to the confines of the chicken coop. He had felt lost most of his life. Now, he felt like he had come back home, to where he belonged.
Sometimes, he did look back at where he used to live. During those moments, it grieved him that it took him so long to leave that place where he felt so empty and alone. But then, in the next breath, the sadness became a stunning burst of life, as he celebrated that he didn’t live there anymore.