Our cat has a hashtag. It all started when we noticed him laying flat on his back, completely relaxed, in all sorts of random and odd places: the middle of the kitchen floor, at the foot of the stairs, up against a hallway wall, next to the freestanding oven range, under the dining room table…just about anywhere.
This behavior is so peculiar because cats generally do not like exposing their bellies, at least not in my experience living with them for many years. Their bellies are soft and vulnerable, and naturally kept safer by facing the ground, underneath. Cats also tend to curl up in hidden spots or lofty perches. This is probably instinctive behavior for self-protection, by hiding and keeping a strategic watch (through one barely-opened eye) on the world below.
But our cat, Purrcy, is different. He lays upside down in this vulnerable posture all over the house, regularly. When I find him this way, I see evidence of a cat so utterly comfortable, so relaxed and at home in his environment, so trusting of his human caretakers, that he is just not worried about being overlooked, stepped on or hurt. He seems so satisfied and happy in these moments, so totally oblivious to any cares of this world, that his relaxed posture is simply an expression of pure contentment. Oh how I wish I could rest like Purrcy.
This upside down-rest routine inspired me to start taking pictures wherever and whenever he does it, as often as possible. Now I try to chronicle his behavior by posting the pictures on the social media site Instagram, with the hashtag #upsidedownPurrcy.
A quick lesson for those unfamiliar with hashtags: Google defines it, “on social media sites such as Twitter (and Instagram), a word or phrase preceded by a hash or pound sign (#) and used to identify messages on a specific topic.” Basically, a hashtag is a way to spotlight a post with a specific message, as well as flag it with a searchable label; any post containing the hashtag can be sorted and searched accordingly.
By tagging my pictures #upsidedownPurrcy, I gave them each the same identifier. Doing a search for that hashtag on Instagram instantly produces every picture labeled as #upsidedownPurrcy. It calls up a little picture collection featuring Purrcy in this adorable upside down state of rest. I think of this growing collection as demonstrable evidence of a cat continually being content, happy and well cared for. It makes me happy to know that he is and see him express it this way.
It got me thinking about how this is the kind of posture God wants from us. The bible exhorts us often to rest in God’s presence:
- Exodus 33:14, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”
- Psalm 62:1-2, “My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.”
- Hebrews 4:9-11, “Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience.”
- Matthew 11:28, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
- Mark 6:31, “Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”
I want my own life to demonstrate evidence of contentment; to reflect back an attitude of trust and confidence in being well cared for by my Savior. I want God to continually find evidence of me resting in His presence, relying on His strength, trusting in His provision and hoping in His promises.
What kind of “spiritual hashtags” identify the moments of our lives? Are they characterized by resting in the presence of our heavenly Father? Are we demonstrating plentiful evidence of lives which are, to put it in hashtag terms, #ContentWithHisProvision? Can He readily find us trusting in His protection? Do we rely on His strength and hope in His promises? Does our “spiritual camera roll” consist of an abundant display of quiet rest and trust? Or is it overrun by worry, fear, doubt and unrest?
We are always so thankful for the precious companionship of our special animal friends. Let’s also learn from them, through their sweet countenances and posture how to practice satisfying, contented rest and trust, deliberately. May we be so thoroughly yielded to God’s calling on our lives and immersed in His Word, that we just can’t help demonstrating our contentment with His provision, resting in His presence in such a way that we can say as the psalmist wrote, “My soul finds rest in God alone.”