I have 12 chickens y’all! What in the world? This crazy little flock of mine have been one of the most fun adventures since moving to the Ranchito. The extent of my knowledge about chickens 2 years ago began and ended with “McNuggets,” but here I am now, a bonofied chicken lady. I even have the T-shirt!
Since my hubby won’t let me get “grazing animals” until we drill another water well I decided chickens were a good place to start my wannabe homestead. I read a little about the process and ordered a mix flock of a dozen baby chicks. They were shipped to me at one day old!! I kept these fragile chicks in my bathroom for weeks because they needed to stay warm. We then moved them to the courtyard with the bunnies so we could keep close eye on them. And finally, when they were big enough (okay, when the mess was too much) we moved them into the big coop my hubby gave me for Christmas (really, who am I?). And now, guess what? I have eggs!!! Beautiful, fresh eggs everyday. I have dozens and dozens of them! I love it so, so much.
As I was out gathering eggs the other day (just call me Laura Ingals, or better yet, Anne Shirley) a funny thought came to me. All my girls are laying in the same nesting box! You see, in my extensive research on chicken raising and coop building (please read 5 Pinterest Pins and one Google search) I learned that it is best to have one nesting box per two hens. So, I drove on down to my new favorite store, Tractor Supply (I have even bought a shirt there y’all. Seriously what in the world?) and bought 6 boxes for my 12 girls. They use one of those boxes. Every single day, every single egg is laid in one of those boxes. I fuss at them and pick them up and put them in the perfectly good, unused boxes. I make sure the other boxes are cleaned out and have plenty of fresh hay, just like the lucky box has. It doesn’t matter. One box it is. Silly chickens!
But as I started thinking about my funny girls, it occurred to me that we very often do the same thing in life, don’t we? We all try to lay in the same box. Here is what I mean… Do you ever find yourself clamoring for what someone else has, or a place where someone else is, or a gifting someone else is already operating in? I know I have found myself jumping on up to the one crowded box and trying to fight my way in. This may look like thinking that I need to serve in a place because it is what everyone else is doing, even though it drains me dry and I am no good at it. It may look like ignoring something The Lord is calling me to walk in because no one else is in that box and I might be all alone. It may look like putting off making my contribution to the world, or just my community, because the box is so crowded and I’ll just wait my turn. It may just look like a big ‘ole case of FOMO (fear of missing out) because after all, there is a lot of action going on over there!
In I Corinthians 12 we read that the Holy Spirit is the best gift giver in the world! He is ready to give every believer gifts that are to be used for the Kingdom of God. Verses 4-6 read, “There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working but the same God works all of them in all men.” Then Paul moves on to the example of one body made up of many parts. Verses 14 goes on to say, “Now the body is not made up of one part but of many.” Verse 17-20 says, “If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, everyone of them, just as He wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.” If we all think we need to join the same organization, try to lead in the same areas, manifest the Spirit with the same gifts, bring the same strengths to the table, aren’t we just like my crazy chickens fighting for a spot in an overcrowded box? We cannot do it all but we are all called to do something. We are not gifted in all areas but we are all gifted. And look… look at all those perfectly good empty boxes down the row. One may just be a perfect fit.
Another way I believe we all lay in the same box comes in the form of personal convictions. I am not talking Biblical truths here. I am not talking sin issues. I am talking about personal convictions I believe the Lord lays on our individual hearts within the freedom we have in Christ. Here are some examples from my tribe: I have a friend who is seriously committed to plant-based, clean eating. Like, her girls bring their own cupcakes to the party committed. I respect her so much for all the work she puts in to feeding her family. Theologically I can even get behind her with the whole “our bodies are temples” (I Corth. 6:9) principle. However, let me remind you that I am well acquainted with the term “McNuggets.” I have another friend who is pregnant with baby number 7 and will probably never prevent pregnancies in the future. Again, I also know the scriptures about children being a blessing and full quiver (Psalm 127:5). I have friends who are anti-vaxers and some that have never thought twice about it. I have some who are committed to full-time homeschooling standing on Deut. 6 and some who feel that being in the world not of it means public schools (John 15:19). I have friends who “Elf on the Shelf” and Santa it up and others who would never dream of “lying to their kids!” I have friends who jump on into Trick or Treating on Halloween and others who have a serious problem with participating in it. I have friends who have their babies in birth centers with midwives and some who are all “give me the drugs QUICK!” All of these women love the Lord, are walking in His Word, and are listening closely to the Holy Spirit in their lives and for the lives of their families. Here is what I am saying… we don’t all have to lay in the same box. We can’t. I can know the Word of God, pray for direction, surround myself with wise community, and do the best I can with the convictions that the Lord lays on my heart. And I must cheer you on when you bravely jump into a different box than mine, fight a different fight, explore a different aspect of the Word, stand on a different conviction. I will not peck and scratch to get into your box, nor will I cackle and cluck when you find your fit on down the row. We owe this to each other.
Like I said, I have a mixed flock of chickens. There are 9 different breeds of birds in my dozen hens. They look different and sound different. Their feet are different colors, their fethers are of different textures, and their personalities are not the same at all. And their eggs are all unique. I have blue eggs, and brown ones. I have some that are dark and some that are almost pink. I have some that are spotty and some that are smooth. I have some that are so large they don’t fit in the cartons, and some that are cute and little. How silly when all of these beautifully different eggs are piled in the same box. How silly when we think that all of our beautifully different gifts, talents, strengths, and convictions need to be piled in the same place. Let’s increase our territory a bit and spread our wings. I’m cheering for you from my box!