Thursday, June 13, 2019

Grateful Glory Sheep

I despise sheep. Sheep drown and don’t think twice about it, simply dying without help. Defenseless, they frighten easily, and get lost with a turn of their head, not knowing their right from their left.  I don’t want to be a sheep, one of hundreds in a flock, who could keel over at any moment, and no one would know. I want to be known and loved; and I am, God taught me this while cruising in my green car one spring day.

As I twist through the tiny roads of rural Germany, images of brainless sheep dying in absurd ways plays on repeat in my mind. Heart attack. Drowning. Attacked by wolves. Suffocating from my own wool. Not being able to explore the world, and stuck in one place? Feels like quicksand to my soul.

As the canola fields pass by, I imagine myself, surrounded by coarse wooden boards of high fence. Claustrophobia sinking in as the fresh air of the field, is just outside my reach. No room for twirling, comfort, or joy.  As blood rushes through my ears all I can hear is, ‘’This is your allotted green space’, and I sob. I’m an emotional creature. I’ve come to terms with it. “I GUESS I AM A SHEEP” I choke out, my eyeliner becoming a smokey eye as I wipe away my tears.

My car windows open to the wind, carrying my laments to God: ‘I don’t want to be a sheep! Couldn’t I be a unicorn, or a peacock? Heck, I’d even take a meerkat, at least their fur isn’t the color of sadness.’ I’d be lying if I said no one has ever accused me of being dramatic…

In that moment, Psalm 23  echoed in my mind, ‘The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
The tiny fencing fell away, and the wind rushed through my hair, I had a pastures to be in by the grace of God, not just one field.  I had created limitations for myself, when God had hand crafted us for freedom.

Humming ‘Wide Open Spaces’ to myself, as sun drenched field me spun, digging my toes into the rich grass, overwhelming joy welling within.  Gentle laughter trickles in, “Aj, not the pasture...this”:  As golden light pours into my car, I crested a hill.  I hear a whisper on the wind, ‘My love, look out the window. All of this is your field, the whole world I gave to all of you; my image bearers, to take care of. To thrive in. To nurture each other. To share my glory and explore`` Luke 12:32 reminds us, “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom’. His. Good. Pleasure.

The fields glimmering gold, sparkling in the sunset light, igniting in His presence. In the Bible God’s glory is in his presence, it has a weight to it. A layer of majesty you can soak in. My soul needs to soak.

Pulling over, with the rocks and dust from the side of the road pressing into my bare feet, I place my palms up, head back and stand in the Spirit’s presence. Gratitude and relief wash over me, as I realize we are sheep called to graze in God’s glory, not just meander through the hills of life

Germany’s golden hour; tinged with possibility and hope. I had imagined God wanted me to be a quiet sheep, bumbling about, living half lives in tiny spots. It’s simply not true. What is momentous is having a shepherd, Emmanuel, here with us. Guiding us. Desiring us to enrich the earth and share the love of God. Instead of fencing-focused: being I AM-focused .

On occasion I may still be a brainless sheep, AND I am also a glory sheep. Here to spread and soak in God’s glory, to help others look up past the false fences we construct. Anytime I feel trapped, I practice gratitude, and remember this expansive world He gave to us. May I be someone that sees and shares that God is here with us, wanting to cultivate side by side in creating a world full of justice, mercy, and grace.