Lessons From A Sloth

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When I think about all the things I've wanted to share on my blog, sloths weren't even on the radar, until I met Sammie. The wonderful and super cool Sammie is a rescue sloth hanging out at the Gumbalimba Park in West Bay, Honduras.  I walked away from our brief encounter with a fresh, new perspective about this creature God has created.

I think we can all agree that sloth's are one of the laziest animals ever created. Slothfulness is one of the notorious seven deadly sins (which also happens to be my root sin as an Enneagram 9). While being lazy isn't something we should aspire to, I definitely think we can learn a lot from sloths. The following are four things that I learned from Sammie.

BE STILL

Sometimes doing nothing can be the best move. Taking time to be still gives us time to process things, a connection to ourselves, much needed rest and it can open conversation with God. In our culture of go-go-go, hustle this and hustle that, it can be a challenge to be still.

We need to find God, and He cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature—trees, flowers, grass—grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence.
We need silence to be able to touch souls.
— Mother Teresa

GO SLOW

Contrary to what we think we know about sloths, they actually only sleep 10-15 hours a day. That's about the same amount as my teenagers! They spend their waking hours hunting and processing their food (which can take months to digest!). Thats a lot of energy dedicated to eating.

We've all heard the phrase, "Life is a journey, not a destination." I have recently been doing some hard work to undo some lies I've carried with me for a very long time. There have been many moments that I've wanted to jump into complete healing, avoiding the uncomfortable feelings and memories of my past. Surely, I would have missed out on so many blessings along the way had I skipped ahead.

When I reach my destination (ultimately Heaven, but for now healing), I will be able to better appreciate what is right before me. Focusing on the destination gives me hope; going slow allows me to be present.

BE APPROACHABLE

Poor Sammie, I can only describe the scene as something similar to how the paparazzi responds whenever Beyonce hits the town. Cameras in his face, people pushing others aside so they could pet his fur, and my goodness, all the chatter. The first thing I noticed about him was the smile on his face. Bless his adorable heart, he just sat in his tree while we all made fools of ourselves. He looked around at all of us and I imagined him thinking, "What's all the hub-bub about guys?" Sammie was so chill. We knew his nature was less than threatening. If he wanted to hurt us, the speed at which he would come at us, would be laughable.

People and chaotic circumstances come at us hard all the time. If we learned to be chill, humble and kind no matter the situation, we would discover a supernatural state of peace.

Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
— Philippians 4:6-7

NEW PERSPECTIVE

Sloth's spend a majority of their life hanging upside down, they live in the treetops and they can turn their heads 270 degrees. Talk about fantastic peripheral vision! What would it look like to step back from our current situation to see things differently? Stepping back and taking in a bigger perspective has the potential to change our story. This can be accomplished in a couple of ways:

  • Pray about your situation. Ask God to help you see the bigger picture.
  • It wouldn't hurt to have a trusted friend speak into your situation. Hearing from an outside point-of-view can help clear up your perspective. The trick to this is having an open mind to hear what your friend has to say.
 
 This is me, fan-girling over Sammie.

This is me, fan-girling over Sammie.

 

Be still. Go slow. Be approachable. Gain a fresh perspective.

Huh. It's possible sloth's are more than just a lazy animal. Maybe we haven't given them enough credit? I've always loved seeing how God uses creation to speak to us and Sammie was no exception.