Preening our feathers


My little guy came home from his first day camp experience deflated. His sad countenance told me that things had not gone well. As I asked him to tell me about his day, he told me that he had enjoyed the program. Oh good! Perhaps I had misread his expression then! But then he went on to share that the boys in his group were quite mean. He told me that they had made fun of his name, of the colour of his hair, of the school he attended, of the name he and another boy had chosen for their small group project. He said that he didn’t think that anyone else there knew God. It made me sad to hear about it.

As we were praying before bed for his day tomorrow, I prayed that any negative comments thrown his way would roll off him like water off a duck’s back. “But Mommy!”, he said suddenly. “The water doesn’t roll off the duck unless it preens it’s feathers!”

I was struck by this observation. How true!

So we prayed that he would ‘preen his feathers’ before sleeping tonight. We asked Father God to preen his feathers with the oil of His love. I was also reminded about the passage about the armour of God. So we prayed on the armour of God.

I pray that tomorrow is a better day for him. It’s so hard for me to let my children head out into the world when it sometimes seems like such a tough place. A kind heart, and a sensitive nature is not valued by the world. Relationship with God can be mocked. And yet I know that he needs to live in this world. He needs to know how to relate to others, even when they are mean to him.

So what about us? What does it look like to ‘preen our feathers’?

Perhaps it means to diligently read Scripture to remind ourselves of who we are, and to whom we belong. The story of the Bible is a love story of God for His people Israel, and in the new covenant, we have been ingrafted into God’s family. We can read God’s tender words to the Israelites, knowing that those words are for us as well. We are deeply loved children of a joyful Creator. We have value and worth not because of what we do, but because God cared enough to love us to life.

Perhaps it means to remember to pray on the armour of God from Ephesians 6. Picture each piece as you pray it on. We are to protect ourselves with the spiritual tools that God has given us. There is an enemy who roars and prowls like a lion, ready to steal our joy, to whisper words of discouragement, unease or insecurity. Stand firm, then, using the powerful sword of the Spirit to cut through any lies of the enemy that come our way.

Ask God to help you preen your feathers! Ask God to bathe your heart in His oil. And perhaps God has a specific example for you about what that means and what that looks like. Maybe there is a Scripture verse that God wants to point out for you to meditate upon. Ask him!

Interested in more details about why birds preen? Check out this link. It was interesting for me to read about the hows and especially the whys of preening and how we can relate this to our spiritual health!





3 responses »

  1. I remember when a home-schooled Christian girl joined my P.E. class in eighth grade. She hadn’t been properly prepared for the social dynamics of public school kids. Even as she was being tested by teachers to see in what kind of physical shape she was in, everything else was an unspoken test by the other students to see who she was. She never had the chance to learn the unspoken rules about how to be a Christian in this setting. She lasted just about a month or two and then decided to return home.
    One of two scenarios will result – either a kid will give way to the social superiors and always be on the defensive, reacting to their orders and being their pawn; or a kid will see through the tests and rise above the system and refuse to take the bait and be challenged – playing his or her own game and not letting others get to them. For Christians, wanting to fit in and make friends and being just too nice often sends them in the direction of the first scenario, but It’s better to choose a few friends who have your back than to try to make friends with everybody – as Aristotle said, “he who has many friends, has none.”

    • Thanks for your insight based on a practical example from your life. We keep praying for this gentle-spirited child of mine who has to be light and salt in the world. Sometimes my mother’s heart weeps for him, but I know that in all things, God is teaching him how to deal with different situations and different people. He has had a few years of school but it has not been easy in a social sense. Still, I console myself knowing that God is teaching him about dealing with difficult people and that God has his back, even when I cannot be there. 🙂

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