Enemies – R – Us?


“We have met the enemy and he is us.” ~ Walt Kelly

Four years ago we built our home in the country and named it “Selah, ” an ancient Hebrew term found in the Psalms. It is believed to mean: “a pause” in the music, to “reflect & meditate” on the message, or a “transition” in the song.

That was exactly what Neal and I desired for all who visited our home. We wanted our guests to pause from their busy lives, transition from their hectic schedule in order to relax, reflect and meditate.

That said, every spring the peace of Selah comes under assault when a pair of red birds called Tanagers starts attacking the windows in our house. All day long they fly into the glass and peck as they slide down. Feathers fly everywhere. Sometimes they take turns, other times they fight the windows together.

It isn’t our windows that have them worked up; it is the bird they see in the window. A bird they perceive as a trespasser in their territory. They nearly knock themselves silly, but are determined to drive the intruders away.

From morning till night Selah’s windows reverberate with thuds from bird body slams and Tommy gun “rat-a-tat-tats” from resolute beaks. The problem? The birds they are fighting are their own reflections. They are fighting themselves! All that energy, all that time—wasted! Silly birds . . .

But wait? Don’t we do that?  Sometimes we perceive an enemy intruding into our lives, keeping us from success or putting stumbling blocks in our way. But what we often fail to recognize is that the enemy is actually . . . well . . . us.

I am my own worst enemy when it comes to time management. Not only am I guilty of over committing, I also procrastinate. NOT a good combination!

There are those who focus on the negative. It could be on their past experiences—missed opportunities, failures, unmet expectations—or on their self-perceived imperfections due to comparing themselves with others. Along with a negative focus is negative self-talk, which creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. 

Most of us have a “bird in the window” episode at one time or another. What’s the solution? Recognize our self-sabotaging habits and do something about them. For instance, I keep careful tabs on my calendar and stay mindful of my commitments. I also write down a daily schedule that I follow even if I don’t feel like it. This habit was hard for me to develop, as most good habits are, but I can attest it was worth it!

Eventually, Mr. and Mrs. Tanager will wear out, give up and build their nest. Peace will finally return to Selah.

May peace return to you this week!