Mr Jay visits our garden regularly. He’s particularly partial to peanuts. He’s taught me a four stage approach to facing problems…
Stage 1 – Inaction and acceptance: Mr Jay sat in the apple tree, watching squirrels, woodpeckers and other birds enjoying peanuts from the bird-feeder. He longed for peanuts but knew he wasn’t gifted in bird-feeder use.
…Too often I give up before I start. I think that others are better than me. It’s easier not to try because then I can’t fail.
Stage 2 – Flapping failure: Mr Jay took action. He flew and flapped around the peanut-feeder. He was persistent, but his efforts ended in failure. He remained peanutless and hungry.
…Sometimes I think that I can’t do nothing so I start flapping. I expend a lot of energy, I look busy, but my efforts are ineffective. I end up a frustrated flapping failure.
Stage 3 – Head-butting: Mr Jay flew into and head-butted the bird-feeder, knocking a peanut to the ground. He then flew down and ate the peanut. The method worked, but after a few peanuts he must have had a headache!
…Sometimes I’m so desperate to find a solution to my problems that I attempt the head-butt method. It may bring short-term success, but I know that long-term headaches aren’t a long-term solution.
Stage 4 – Hanging in there: Through repeated failure but patient efforts Mr Jay discovered that he could hang on to the peanut-feeder and get his peanut. He’s still can’t use the peanut-feeder with grace and elegance. He’s learnt to hang in there.
Sometimes I’m required to do things that don’t come easily or naturally; I don’t look or feel good; I know that others could do a better job than me. I must just hang in there.
Musing on Psalm 86: ‘Hear, O Lord and answer me, for I am poor and needy. Guard my life for I am devoted to you…’ King David was hanging in there…