Angry Birds

A couple months ago my family discovered the video game, Angry Birds. When it comes to video games, I admit I am guilty of living under a very large and heavy rock. They just aren’t on my radar.

As I have recently learnt, Angry Birds is a highly addictive game where cartoonish looking birds are catapulted by sling shot through the air towards seemingly innocent pigs. The object of the game is to use the ‘angry birds’ to destroy the pigs’ shelter and wipe out each pig in the process. Brilliant, right?

A few days ago I was having ‘one of those days.’ It was the kind of day in which I trudge around the house feeling edgy, disgruntled, and short-fused for no apparent reason. My girls were in the middle of eating their lunches when my daughter, with an extra dose of three-year-old, took her milk, the contents of her plate, and a spoon, and proceeded to make “soup” on the kitchen table.

While creative, and fueled by her desire to be like mommy, her, so called, ‘soup’ created a culinary mess that I wasn’t in the mood to contend with. Her behavior was aggravating, yes, but also, at its root, rather innocent. I could see this, but in the heat of the moment I chose to focus on my frustration. As I cleaned up her creation, I barked, and complained, and scolded her for making such a mess. It was in the middle of this scolding that it hit me: I’M AN ANGRY BIRD!

For a split second, my day, my words, and my actions played out in retrospect before my eyes:

Me: Angry Bird, squawking up a storm, flying blindly towards the destruction of hearts and home.

My Children, My Household: Innocent pigs, hiding, waiting, seeking shelter, and hoping not to be lambasted by an Angry Bird attack.

Oh dear.

Wouldn’t it be nice if days like this came with a ‘Start Over’ button? Fortunately, God’s grace is abundant and covers the destruction of Angry Birds and frazzled moms. Days like this one have taught me that timeouts aren’t just for the
little ones. Sometimes, mommies need them just as much as the kids do.

Seeing myself as an Angry Bird made me realize that a few minutes alone with God were in order. As my girls finished their lunches, I slipped upstairs to my room and sought a moment alone with God.

“Lord,” I prayed. “Forgive me. Forgive my squawking and my blindness to what my words and actions are doing to the innocent hearts around me. Forgive me, Lord, for the destruction I have caused. Lord, come into this day and help me. Give me your patience, give me your peace. Give me your joy. Amen.”

I know in the midst of a busy and hectic day that taking a timeout is not always easy or convenient, but I also know that even a few minutes spent in some form of prayer, scripture, or worship will never return void.

After all, isn’t it a matter of focus? An Angry Bird heart is one that is focused on nothing but itself. Those moments when I was ‘flying blind’ were not so much about blindness, but about my eyes seeing only me. My feelings. My complaints. My frustration. Listen closely, and all that Angry Bird squawking will sound a lot like, “Me! Me! Me!” As a result, anything that doesn’t comply with the Angry Bird way of thinking becomes an easy target, innocent hearts included. On the contrary, a heart that is focused on God, makes love its aim, and the result is an attitude that looks for ways to breathe life into the people and places that surround it.  

Sometimes, a quick timeout makes all the difference in a derailed heart and mind. Sometimes, the events that transpire over the course of a day call for timeouts to be sprinkled through morning, noon, and night. No matter what we face, or how often a timeout is needed, what matters most is that we take the time to stop, adjust our heart and mind, and let our focus fall on God.

Seeking God in the midst of an Angry Bird kind of day may not be the ‘Start Over’ we sometimes wish for, but it can ‘Refresh’ our spirit. With our hearts focused on God, we can go about our days with love, rebuild the broken shelters, and create a safe place for our loved ones…our precious ‘pigs’… to dwell.

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