Wednesday, February 4, 2015

February: A Month of Mixed Blessings

My husband and I are most definitely amateur pet owners, but in the course of the last 25 years, we have learned a few principles about training dogs.  With our last dog, our vet recommended we try a head collar (sometimes called a Gentle Leader) to help Daisy remain calm when we took her to new places.  We dutifully headed to the pet store, and as we opened the package, I was struck by a bit of information that was included with the instructions: “the more a dog resists wearing a head collar, the more he needs it.”  We were not surprised that Daisy absolutely hated the head collar.  She far preferred to direct her own activity rather than be directed.

I am afraid to say that the same it true with me and the month of February.  I am sure that I am in good company when I say that I really don’t like endless gray, cold, and damp days.  But I think my dislike of February goes deeper than that. 

From a creation standpoint, February (in New Jersey) is a time of rest and waiting.  After the harvest in the fall, the earth rests from its work and waits for spring and the beginning of another growing season.  The sun rises late and sets early.  Many animals head to warmer climates or hibernate.  There is a sense of stillness and recovery in the outdoor world before the anticipation of spring begins with more abundant sunlight, blooming plants, and chirping birds looking for mates.

This is why I don’t like—but very much need—the month of February.  In many ways it is a time of rest and waiting for me as well.  The push of the holiday season is over, and I have an opportunity to recover from the rush.  And although ministries re-start, there is also the sense of waiting for spring and the resurgence of outside activities.  I don’t like to rest and wait.  I far prefer to “do.”  But when I persist in my busy-ness, I miss out on the Lord’s refreshment, and I am less prepared to bear fruit at His appointed time.

I would do well to welcome February as my “head collar,” to see it as a tool to help me give up my own ambitions and desires and let God refresh and direct me.  I may not like it, but perhaps I can begin to appreciate February as a blessing, as a gift from my Lord who would have me abide in Him and bear fruit for His glory.