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Tuesday, October 6, 2015

In a Hummingbird Hurry

Photo Credit: AcrylicArtist from
Over the weekend, a hummingbird made her way into our garage.  Poor thing was so frantic to get out, but kept feverishly hovering around the ceiling…bumping into it over and over again.  She fanatically flew forward, backward, and sideways.  My son attempted to gently guide the anxious bird out with a broom…to no avail. 

Both garage doors were wide open.  There was oodles of opportunity and space for her to make a break for it and fly away to what she knew as home.  Nope.  Nervous Nellie kept flapping her wings a bazillion miles a minute, in a hummingbird hurry, but getting nowhere fast.  Little did she know that what she needed was just within arm’s, um, wing’s reach…and she just couldn’t see it.

Isn’t that the case with us?  We run around sometimes, in a hummingbird hurry, getting nowhere fast.  What we need is so close that we could almost taste it, but we just can’t see it in our haste.  We may not have fervently flapping wings, but our body language speaks volumes.  Everyone around us can tell that we’re in a hurry.  Our bodies can feel the stress of rushing too.

Body language and non-verbal communication are fascinating to me.  You’ve heard the joke before – “Why do hummingbirds hum?  Because they don’t know the words.”  Well, it was obvious that that little hummingbird wasn’t saying a word, but her body language…whoa!  It spoke loudly, I tell ya.

There is both negative and positive body language.  Positive non-verbal communication can include a smile, a wink, shaking hands, nodding in agreement, patting someone’s back, hugging, or a wave.  The negative signals of scowling, frowning, yawning, sneering, rolling our eyes, and shaking our head can all be “heard” without emitting a sound.  Amazingly enough, we can communicate quite a bit in a very non-verbal way.

Research shows that even the way we stand and our position in a group of people can communicate so much.  The amount of distance between us and another person can even be interpreted a certain way.  Standing side-by-side can show cooperation, whereas a face-to-face posture may show competition.  Something as simple as our posture communicates as well.  We speak with our actions when we fold our arms, cross our legs, or slouch (did you just sit up straight?  I totally did when I read that word – ha!).

Do you know what we use to speak with in addition to our mouths?  Our eyes.  Our facial expressions are a dead giveaway when we’re speaking.  A person’s emotions can be seen in their eyes.  Oftentimes, our eyes aren’t conveying the same emotion as our words.  “I’m fine” may not mean “I’m fine” at all.  However, if we’re in a hummingbird hurry, will we even catch someone’s non-verbal communication?

Our body language can:  repeat the message our words are saying, contradict what our words are saying, substitute our verbal message, add meaning to our message, or make our message more impacting (pulling our hair out, throwing plates, pounding fists, etc.)

In addition to our eyes being able to “hear” non-verbal communication, did you also know that our ears can “see?”  What?  Let me explain.  Next time you answer the phone (a real call…not a text or e-mail – heh!), listen for a smile.  Yep.  Just by listening to the other person talking, you will probably be able to “see” if the other person is smiling.  I encourage you to try it yourself.  The next time you are chatting on the phone, experiment with smiling.  You will find that your voice is much more joyful when you’re smiling than when you’re not.  Seriously.  Try it.

When we’re in a hummingbird hurry, we don’t listen like we should.  After dinner last night, the kids wanted to do something fun.  They wanted to quickly whisper a short phrase into each other’s ear and then go around the table to see how the last person heard it.  It’s called the Telephone Game.  I’m sure most of you have played it a time or two. 

Anyway, we played several rounds and there were loads of giggles.  I had forgotten how fun that game could be.  The last game started with, “Bert and Ernie get up early.”  By the time person #5 heard it, it became, “Nerdy gets a birdie.”  Not quite what we started with, but I love to hear my children laugh.  However, it did make me ponder about communication, or the lack thereof.

Are we listening to each other?  Are we listening for God?  Are we taking the time or are we always in a hummingbird hurry?

Our tiny bird friend, Nervous Nellie, finally escaped the garage on her own.  Nevertheless, it took most of the day for her to find her way.  Many times, we get stuck as well, frantically pacing forward, backward, and sideways.  If we would only stop flapping our wings for a second and pause to reflect on the next right step.  Do we need someone to listen to us?  Do we need to listen to someone?  Most importantly, do we need to pray?  Do we need to fly to the One who can help us best?

Here is a sweet prayer story that Mikey shared today from one of his readers.  I thought that all of us in a hummingbird hurry might need to read it too:

A grandfather walking past his young granddaughter's room one night saw her kneeling beside her bed, with head bowed and hands folded, repeating the alphabet.

"What are you doing?" he asked her.

She explained, "I'm saying my prayers, but I just couldn't think about what to pray for. So I'm saying all the letters of the alphabet and God can put them together however He thinks best.”

I love it!

Fly to God in prayer (even if you just need to start with the ABCs).  He’ll be waiting there.

Have a wonderful week, Sunshines!

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