Identity Found in God
The Shepherd and the Sheep
~ The Shepherd
~ The Sheep
~ The Voice of the Shepherd
~ The Art of Listening
~ The Lost Sheep
~ The Path
~ Living as His Sheep
You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. Psalm 16:11
I confess. I have some control problems. I like having a say in the plan. I like to plan. I appreciate being in the loop of a plan and offering my two cents. This created a problem when my 40th birthday came around. Jay decided to gift me with 40 blessings during my birthday week. Some examples included taking me out to eat, chocolates, tucking the kids into bed, cooking dinner. These weren’t the ones that caused anxiety. As the blessings got to about #30, I learned that we were going to be dropping the four kids off at a friend’s house and then we were going to be going somewhere overnight. I was excited, but, um, as we headed out, I wondered if everything the kids might need actually got packed? I didn’t have a chance to make a list and check them off!?! But, it was out of my control.
We dropped the kids off and Jay rushed us back in the car as we had to be somewhere at a certain time. I still had no idea where we were going. We finally reached our destination – Peek n Peak! He pulled up to the front doors and handed me card #31: “A trip to the spa”! Whoa! Wait! What!? I have never stepped foot inside such a place. I was a bundle of nerves! In the midst of my panic, he told me to hop out and head in – they would be expecting me. If I ever experienced a mixed pot of emotions, it was at that moment. Excited, yet afraid of this unknown. I even had a bit of an attitude wondering why he wouldn’t have run this by me first so I could prepare myself. I mean seriously! Instead, I went in cold turkey. I had no control!
I stepped up to the counter, stated my name and she smiled and said, “Follow me.” My heart was thumping and my stomach was all twisted up! She gave me instructions (Even though some details were left unanswered in my mind – details of which I will not get into here…) She told me to wait in this glorified locker room type place, and someone would come in and get me. My mind began to swirl as I waited. What if the massage person was a guy? That would be awkward! What if I wasn’t able to lay still? What if I ended up in one of my uncontrollable giggle fits – I AM ticklish!? That would be so embarrassing! I waited, shaking with nerves. The lady came in and directed me to the massage room. I became situated and just as more “what if’s” tried to stir me up, I slowly realized it wasn’t so bad…in fact, I was feeling pretty relaxed…in fact it felt amazingly relaxing! She asked me to get up and I really didn’t want it to end. She led me to another room. While it was another unknown to me, I was beginning to trust that goodness awaited. Here, my face and hands and feet got the royal treatment! I was in heaven! By the end of the whole amazing package, I walked out calm, cool and collected! What an incredible experience. I almost ruined it because of my fear of the unknown and fear of losing control.
You see, God has a path that He would love for us to join Him on. He has put things in place, but we have the choice. In John 10:4, Jesus reminds us that, “…He goes on ahead of them (His sheep), and the sheep follow Him because they know His voice.” I am always comforted by this image. As my Good Shepherd says, “Hey, it’s time to go – time to move on…” (which has happened to Jay and I frequently), I can be assured that He is going before me, checking things out, preparing the way.
If only I could have rested in the thought that Jay had carefully thought through this spa experience, and the workers at the spa prepared the way for me. Maybe I wouldn’t have had to battle such anxiety, but rather step more confidently and positively. Jesus leads us on a path – paths of righteousness. There will be strange voices who try and steer us off the path. Remember His path is surrounded in goodness and peace. Even if it seems risky, unknown or scary, step with Him. He knows what lies ahead. Read Psalm 23 again, picturing the path our Shepherd leads us on.
If you’re sensing His voice calling you to do something out of your comfort zone, you can do it, knowing He will lead you and go with you. A path He may be calling you to take may cause initial anxiety or fear, but if it’s truly Him calling you, you won’t want to miss it. Who knows what kind of peace and “massage” may be waiting. He is our Good Shepherd who leads us beside still waters and green pastures; who is with us, comforting us as we walk through the valleys. “Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life”. What a promise is found on the Shepherd’s path!
I can’t wait to see what I get when I turn 50!
Write about what anxieties might be keeping you from experiencing God’s peace. Are you sensing a path that God is asking you to join Him on? What is preventing you from taking that step? Pause and listen to His voice. Allow Him to reassure you that He has gone ahead and prepared the way. Commit to taking the path with Him.