Here on the farm we get more strays than I can count. There always seems to be an animal showing up on our doorstep that does not have a home. We say over and over again- we do not want another cat, dog, etc… But if that stray looks at us with those big pitiful ‘keep me, I need a home’ eyes and our kids look at us with the, ‘please, please, can we keep it’ eyes – we melt. Griffin, our chihuahua mix, became part of our family when he showed up on our porch and our youngest son said he was sent by Jesus because he had been praying for a little dog… what were we supposed to say to that?
I have been thinking about strays a lot lately. Not the animals per say, but stray thoughts and ideas. From my home, to my church and the other places I get to help and lead- there are stray thoughts and ideas that show up on our doorstep all the time. Unwanted thoughts, overwhelming frustrations and fears.
Here is the deal: If we feed the strays, they will stick around. We can say all day that we do not want this thought or idea to stay around. But if we then throw it food, if we nourish it, spend time with it- we invite it in.
These unwanted stray thoughts and ideas have a way of killing our influence. They have of a way of infecting us, and destroying us via disease from the inside out. Some of these thoughts and ideas seem easy and seductive. They whisper to us with lies. They convince us to chase shadows in the dark. They look at us with those big, tempting “keep me” eyes. They begin to settle in, make a home.
We can not feed these destructive forces in our lives, our churches, or any other place that we lead. We have a choice as leaders of what we feed in our lives and in the places we are called to lead. What we feed affects those we serve.
If the stray stays it is because we have fed it.
What are you feeding in your own heart? What are you feeding in your home? What are you feeding in your church or organization?
In the Bible, in the book of wisdom called Proverbs, chapter 4, verse 23 we are told this:
Above all else guard your heart, for it is the well spring of life.
Are you standing guard over your heart?
Are you standing guard over the heart of your home and/or church/organization?
If we feed the strays, they will stay. If we do not guard our hearts, the source of our life is eaten away.