Let’s talk sheep. These wide, waddling woolly-boogers notoriously cling to familiarity. Left to themselves, they will graze in the same spot so long that their bodily wastes contaminate the ground. Too much information, I know, but get this: they will remain in the same place to their own detriment!
Sheep simply refuse to leave their comfort zone unless absolutely forced. (We’re only talking sheep, remember?) Even when staying with what they know will clearly destroy them, they refuse to budge unless their shepherd compels them beyond their false sense of security.
It sounds absurd, doesn’t it? They would rather die in the place of certainty than move toward a place of uncertainty.
Sheep-talk sounds a million miles from our modern reality, but is it? We’re all creatures of habit on some level. We cling to familiar no matter what that looks like. It may not be what we dream for ourselves, but at least it’s recognizable. We’ve grown so accustomed to the discomfort that it has actually become comfortable.
The truth is that we instinctively prefer the certainty of misery rather than the misery of uncertainty any day. (Read that again.)
We fight for perceived stability like an addict needing a fix. We would rather stay in the same ditch of routine than move toward the unrecognizable.
Did you know that Jesus called Himself “The Good Shepherd”? The Bible also refers to you and me as sheep throughout its pages. I know, I know. We live like we’re self-made and self-sufficient, but in reality, we are as helpless as sheep who can’t find their way without their Good Shepherd. “It is He who has made us and not we ourselves.” (Psalm 100:3) Another version says, “We are the people of His pleasure.” Wow! (He’s talking about YOU!)
When we choose to follow His leading and take the help He offers, “He makes us whole again, steering us off worn, hard paths. He lets us catch our breath and leads us in the right direction.” (Psalm 23:3) Those aren’t my words; they’re HIS!
God loves us too much to let us destroy ourselves. He comes to our stuck places and nudges us onward where the pastures are green and the opportunity is plentiful.
As our Good Shepherd rescues us from our comfortable place, it can feel, well . . . uncomfortable. In fact, the Shepherd’s insistence initially seems insensitive, even cruel. But He knows what we cannot know. If we remain fixed in this place, we will destroy ourselves. We will miss God’s next great chapter in our story.
In this disturbance of routine, be warned. It will seem like EVERYTHING familiar is being turned on its head (and it kind of is). That’s terrifying for control freaks like me. But hear me! This turbulence could actually save your very life!
Don’t resist His leading. The Good Shepherd won’t force you forward. You can stay in this stuck place forever if you insist, but you were made for more. I’m praying that you become so miserable with your certainty that you bravely move toward uncertainty, and hold tight to the hand of the One who certainly adores you and seeks your good.
Lift your head, weary one. Look to the Good Shepherd who longs to lead you forward. You can wholeheartedly trust Him with every part of your today and your tomorrow. He’s “ready to give His life for His sheep.” (John 10:15) In fact, He already did. He’s the real deal, I promise!
For comments or prayer, contact Dr. Lanier at PastorDebbie@HopeCommunityChurch.tv