Christine Duncan

Precepts & Life Preservers

An Eye On The Sparrow Moment

It was my “eye on the sparrow” moment.

In the bustle of a ladies clothing store. Go fig.

I should have taken care of a looming problem long before then. I had put it off several times. Avoided it.

But now it was coming down to the wire. I had no choice.

A special event was coming, and I had to shop.

For clothes.

Ugh. Cue the dark dramatic music

Don’t get me wrong. I love to shop. But shopping for clothes, special clothes, stresses me out.

And it’s not trying on or selecting items that stresses me out, but the people who try to “help” you shop.

When you live with a mood disorder, like chronic D or anxiety, you are already second guessing what you’ll look good in, but won’t draw attention to you in a crowd, what will go with other items you own, but will look fresh, plus you are easily overwhelmed by too many choices, too many racks, too many outfits, etc, etc. And I mean overwhelmed. Like ready to crack and curl up in a ball in the middle of the store for no apparent reason.

This ain’t your average, “hmmm, what should I wear?” moment of frustration, friend. This is mega overload on the dysthymic senses.

So add, to what I just described, the constant chatter of a salesperson who doesn’t understand the principle of personal space, loud, annoying music, how your brain literally can’t separate the sounds to make sense of them, little questions that your brain turns into huge questions you don’t know how to answer, and information overload. Your dysthymia magnifies it all by ten. Trust me.

When your head space is already not good, this is not the environment of pure delight anymore, are you picking up what I’m laying down?

After years of struggling with my dysthymia in public, I started avoiding shopping unless necessary. I associated it with meltdowns and spirals of frustration and panic and self loathing.

I wasn’t going to let that happen this time.

I lifted heart and eyes to God. Placed dysthymic tendencies at His feet. And prayed.

“Lord, this might be a silly request for anyone else. But You’re the kind of God who cares about the sparrow, so I know You’ll hear my need….

Lord, you need to come shopping with me.”

It’s okay, you can chuckle. I kinda did. But I meant it. He needed to go with me. Which He already knew, and already does, but He likes to hear us acknowledge our need just the same.

“And Lord, if there has to be a salesperson, can they be the definition of Your servant? Non evasive, nothing pushy or obnoxious, not trying to be my new best friend? Can they just be…. there?”

People, I had the best shopping experience I’ve ever had.

In and out in no time. Looked at the massive store, looked at my husband like, “oh help!” and there she was. The servant I prayed for. Asked what my mission was. Oh! That was easy. A special event. Easy on the budget. Needed nothing fussy.

“Follow me.” and smiled.

She pulled tops without talking, all from sales racks first, all mix and match in really beautiful fabrics, wrote my name on the door of the change room, and left with, “holler if we need to go in a different direction!”

Done like dinner. I did a jig.

Had my outfit in less than 15 minutes. I’m sorry but that’s a miracle.

But even more… a pretty hefty prayer answered.

At least, for me.

No pounding heart. No second guessing and self-consciousness. No flares of overwhelmed senses, and the brain turned upside down.

Peace. Calm. No sensory overload. No panic. Just confidence and a settled heart. It was enjoyable. It was what my brain needed.

What my heart needed. And that’s what gets the Father’s attention.

All this because of shopping? Well, yes. This felt huge. Too huge. The more I stared at all the possibilities that would stress me out and cause neurotransmitters to override anything easy, the bigger that one simple task felt.

But that sparrow moment? It was okay to feel small, when He was so big. He’s a big God who takes every need into consideration. I didn’t just puff up my chest and ask God to score a crazy deal on my behalf, this was a matter of being able to function for the rest of the day!

And His eye, the one watching over His fold, stemming from how He loves to pour out His love over our needs, saw this sparrow, and provided.

This post isn’t about shopping. It’s not even about the rollercoaster called chronic depression.

It’s about lifting hearts, and laying down our immediate needs.

It’s about trusting He’s there. In all situations, big and small.

It’s about if God cares enough to answer a crazy prayer about avoiding the dysthymic traps of shopping, how much more does He incline Himself to us in the bigger needs, in the desperate hours.

The God from before time cares about the state of your heart.

Let that sink in and redefine your daily communion with Him.

Not just whether you’re saved. Not just whether you’re doing good works for Him.

He cares when it’s restless. When it’s starving. When it’s weighed down. When it’s broken. When it feels rejected. When it’s over the moon. When it needs rest. When it needs love. When it’s fearful.

“Cast all your cares, worries, issues, and anxieties on Him, for He cares for you!” 1 Peter 5:7 declares.

When His creation is in need, He can’t help but respond. He’s big enough to take it all.

Take that into your heart today. Hold it there.

And next time you worry about whether or not to bother God with something, remember the sparrow.


  1. I’ve actually cried in a store because the pressure was so intense everything was spinning and seconds felt like hours. In all these years I’ve never thought of asking God to be with me while shopping. I guess I felt guilty to ask because I felt guilty about buying new clothes and guilty about taking the time away from my family to do it. Guilt Guilt Guilt! This post has made me think about how often and in how many of my struggles I don’t ask for help because I think my problems are too trivial. I need to work on coming to Him for all things…every second of the day if need be!

    • Christine Duncan

      February 8, 2015 at 9:43 PM

      I’ve cried in stores too Aimee, gosh I know that feeling so well. Even as I read your sentence, my stomach clenches. So much so that I’d conditioned myself to stay away from the whole thing. And that’s no fun.
      There’s this new, I guess the word might be, submerging- taking place in my life lately… submerging everything I have to deal with in His absolute grace. Everything. I take every small thing to Him, find the spot where joy turns things around, and leaves no room for guilt. Or anxiety. Or whatever. None of those things are supposed to dwell inside us. They only eat us up and keep us from breaking out of the things that weigh us down.
      And how can such tiny things from life, have so much power? They don’t… but that’s how manipulative the enemy is.
      And we have this God that knows all too well how big the small things seem…
      Have I told you lately how grateful I am for you in my life?
      Super grateful. Full to the brim. We are not alone.

  2. I to cry Between my health issue and my life I feel so overwhelmed at times I started to go to counceling today.

    • Christine Duncan

      February 13, 2015 at 1:57 PM

      We can always lift our cries to God… He is always ready to respond. When we search for His face, a glimpse of Him can change everything. Keep the Word of Love close at all times. Praying the counseling brings positive change for you my friend!

  3. I need to know where this store is. i have totally similar issues when shopping.

    • Christine Duncan

      February 13, 2015 at 11:19 PM

      I will send you a location if you want 🙂 But honestly, it wasn’t only the store, if you get my meaning 😉

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