Sep 29 2016

Mind Your Own Business

sd-mind-2I can remember growing up hearing, “Mind your own business”, from my sister. I think it is a common part of baby boomers’ times of growing up. Siblings used to love to say this, and sometimes parents would use this as a way of trying to quiet squabbling brothers and sisters. It is directed outward, as in, “Mind your own business, person who is bothering me.”

Now what does that have to do with Seeing Creation. A lot, I think, and it may say a bit about how we respect ourselves and God’s creation as formed in us. But I am not thinking an outward direction, but an inward direction.

sd-mind-3As Chuck and I know, nature photography is a great way of sharing God’s Creation. Yet, photography is a bit crazy in today’s world. In social media, we can see photographs from everyone everywhere, and we see a lot of what other people are doing in their photography. And of course, on Facebook, it appears to be all good. Photos are the best, trips are amazing, business is wonderful, and on and on. And it’s not just Facebook. Other places where the “world of photography” is put on display include Instagram, Pinterest, Flickr (still around), Google + and more. And all of it looks like everything is just great.

Sometimes it is. But that is rarely the full picture of anything, especially nature and photography. If we are only looking for the “best”, then we miss a lot of what God may want to show us. Nature is not defined by what we think is “best.”

Consider this, in Luke 12:6, Jesus says, “Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God.” Or Matthew 6:28-29, “Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” Note that Jesus does not talk about eagles or lions, but the common sparrow. Nor does He talk about some exotic flowers, but common lilies of the field. If God considers these things important, then as nature lovers (and photographers), we need to pay attention to more than simply the dramatic nature that gets attention on social media. And of course, we have to remember Genesis 1:31, “God saw all that He had made, and it was very good.” Not some things, a few things, but all that He had made.

The problem is that we have a tendency to want to compare our photos and what we see of nature to those bright and shiny posts on the Internet. “I should be photographing big landscapes and beautiful sunrises and sunsets, but all I have nearby are flat fields and average skies. I should be doing more than just photographing some common flowers or some stupid bugs. Why can’t I photograph like these other photographers? Why can’t I get better subjects?”

Comparisons are killers of creativity and our souls, who we are, who God created us to be. God did not create us to be someone other than who we are. God did not create nature in order to create bold subjects for Facebook.

So I think maybe we need to tell ourselves, “Mind your own business.” Or maybe even God’s business! But if we are true to who we are in how we see nature and in any creative endeavor, minding our business is God’s business as He has offered it to you. Your work can be God’s work. We need to pay attention to what energizes and excites us about photography, nature, and the world, how God is presenting it to us, not how someone else is dealing with that.

So whenever you are feeling conflicted because of what you see and learn about what other people are “doing” that you are not, remember to tell yourself, “Mind your own business!” That is probably God’s business as well.

sd-mind-1– Rob


May 25 2011

A Nice Reminder

*Editor’s Note: This week marks the second anniversary of Seeing Creation.  Rob and I want to thank all of you who take the time to read our reflections and for the encouragement you have given us these past two years.

 Yesterday I received a nice reminder.  When I came home from work I was getting ready to enter the house when something caught my attention.  On the edge of our driveway (which is on a hill) I saw a small object rise momentarily and then fall.  I wasn’t quite sure what I had just seen so I went to look and see.  Come to find out it was a young mockingbird that was not yet able to fly.  I’m not exactly sure how it got on the edge of the driveway to begin with but apparently when it saw me come home it was spooked and tried to fly.  It instead tumbled a short distance where I found it resting unharmed.

I immediately went into the house to get my camera so that I could photograph the young bird.  As I started to take some pictures I heard a ruckus above me.  The bird’s mother was sitting in a nearby tree and didn’t seem to be happy about my being so close to her chick.  I hurriedly took my pictures and left.

While all of this was going on I couldn’t help but think of a passage of scripture found in Luke 12:6.  Here Jesus says, “Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies?  Yet not one of them is forgotten by God?”  In this same setting Jesus went on to say, “Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” (v. 7)   As I thought of this passage I realized that I was not the only one who saw the little mockingbird fall.  So did our heavenly Father.  Jesus made it abundantly clear that God is concerned for all of his Creation, even tiny birds that tumble off of driveways in Pikeville, Kentucky.

Thinking of Jesus’ words I was also given the wonderful reminder that the God who cares for sparrows and mockingbirds also cares for me.  Jesus made sure that we understood that we humans are very special to God and that if we can remember that He loves even the little creatures we can rest assured He loves and cares for us. 

The whole point in Jesus sharing these words was to offer an encouraging word.  Because of our Father’s love we do not have to live our lives in fear.  We can have confidence that we live under our Creator’s watchful eye.  We can find great peace and joy knowing that we are loved.  A nice reminder indeed!

–Chuck

(The bird in the two images above is the one described in today’s entry.)