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Once there was a young eaglet that accidentally fell from the safety of his nest high on the mountain. Miraculously, he fell in a patch of soft grass and survived. He stumbled out into the open, where a farmer saw him. The farmer took the eaglet to the farm and placed him inside a chicken coop with chickens.

Since the eagle had not yet discovered his true identity, he started watching the other birds and naturally followed their habits, doing what they did. Like the eaglet, so many people have been wrongly influenced by trying to be like others. For some, it has ruined their lives.

Meanwhile, the eaglet was growing stronger and more beautiful every day, but he had not yet discovered the revelation of who he was and what he was called to be.

One day a man from a zoo came to the farm, as he had heard about an eagle being raised as a chicken. The farmer explained the bird was no longer an eagle; he was now a chicken because that was all he had ever known. However, the zookeeper knew the bird had the heart and soul of a lofty eagle. He knew that the eagle was never meant to live on the ground but was to be unrestrained and soar in the clouds.

He lifted the eagle onto a fence and told him to fly. The eagle glanced down at the comfortable chicken coop, jumped off the fence and continued doing what chickens do. The man returned the next day, realizing the eagle was born for something much greater — he just had to know it! This time he carried the eagle up to the rooftop of the farmhouse and again told him to stretch his wings and fly. The large bird looked at the man, then again down into the chicken coop and gracefully flew back down to be with his friends.

The man was now more committed than ever and said he would return the next day and prove the eagle was truly the most stately, powerful, dignified and majestic raptor in all the world. The farmer shook his head and said, "He is what he believes."

The next morning, the man took the eagle to the mountain and climbed as high as he could. With an 8-foot wing span and razor-sharp talons, the eagle perched on his arm and the man pointed high into the sky. He said, "Eagle, you belong to the sky and not to the earth. Stretch your wings and fly."

This time the eagle stared upward into the bright sun, straightened his body and stretched his wings. He puffed out his chest, and the man could see the dignity and strength rise within the bird. His wings moved slowly at first, then with more power and confidence. Suddenly, with a mighty screech, he launched into the open air and began to fly toward the sun. The eagle finally realized who he was and never returned again to an average and ordinary life of mediocrity.

Eagles by nature fly high and independently and do not follow a flock. They have clear vision, are very strong and choose where they want to go. As skilled hunters, they decide what and when they eat, which is why they are classified as birds of prey. On the other hand, the domesticated chicken is a symbol of that which is limited and dependent on others. As ground dwellers that peck and scratch, they are weak and vulnerable to predators. They are quite content to just eat and sleep and be taken care of.

This is not to say that chickens lack the ability to understand and reason, but the analogy points to an attitude of being complacent. Attributes such as intelligence, being emotionally sensitive, talented and a charismatic personality is not what keeps a person trapped in the bondage of a survival mentality. It's not knowing who they are and refusing to do what it takes to become all they have been called to be.

The barriers of low self-esteem and a lack of confidence must be conquered as each individual decides the level of success they want to reach. I use the word decide because the mind must be trained and only the person who desires to change can change the course of their destiny. Thank God for those who recognize our potential and encourage us to fly because they love us.

Read more about the Christian Life and William F. Holland's book "A Lifestyle of Worship — Living in the Awareness of God's Presence" at billyhollandministries.com.

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Billy Holland
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