Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Flock Mentality


As I dream of some of things that call to my heart I look around on the internet to read and even study some of these things out. There is a facet of me that is a farmer, a rancher, a self sufficient-live off the land-pioneer. This part keeps trying to come out. She speaks to me frequently and I listen most times but never give her her head.... permission to run free & do it all and take over the facet that is lazy, the facet that is insecure and maybe even the facet that thinks she's in charge of it ALL.

While I surfed the world wide web tonight I came upon a woman who had a farm and animals and was doing what I keep thinking I'm supposed to be doing. She had or has a blog associated with her farm. She is a follower of the Christ and incorporated that stance into her musings on her blog. Her life has changed, drastically, and she had to sell her farm & her precious animals. (I think she might have gone through divorce but I'm just guessing). I was drawn in to her writings. She touches on things of the spirit that I'm pondering right now myself so it was all the more interesting to me. I have copied one of her postings and I'm putting it in here because I like it so much. I know I'm still the Occasional or "Infrequent" Blogger but it represents a part of me that I refuse to give up on..... so, here I am again! :-)

And here is her analogy of a story....

Flock Mentality
While it would seem that sheep are shepherded as a flock, nothing could be further from the truth. Within the flock are distinct personalities…each sheep is unique, with its own set of challenges to the shepherd. Over time, I have come to notice four broad categories of sheep in my personal flock.

There are the sheep that refuse to draw near…no amount of enticement will bring them in. These are the “lost sheep,” the ones that would remain outside of the fold at night, given the chance. They need to be sought and driven to safety. Despite my best efforts, they have difficulty trusting that my care is altruistic, preferring to rely on their own instincts. The want no good thing if it threatens their independence. They are the fringe observers. Feeling no security, their fear leaves them exposed. Sadly, these are the sheep that are most nervous, worried, stressed and prone to panic. The world to them is suspect, there is no safe harbor, and no rest.

Other sheep in my flock can be lured to approach if the benefit is too strong to resist. These are my hedonists. Molasses, corn, oats and barley (called “wet cob”) is their weakness. They are captivated by the rattle of a coffee can. It makes no difference who holds the can – or where they are led by the can – only that they taste the reward. These sheep are drawn by greed and desire. There is no relationship between them and the bearer of the can, no concern about the intent – good or evil – as long as their desire is met. These sheep are so easily ensnared…they will come just as eagerly to a can of rattling rocks as they do cob. They are not sensitive enough to discern the difference until they are manipulated and deceived. Their appetites are never fully satisfied, and so they are controlled by them.

Then there are the obedient sheep. They are content to be distant from me, doing whatever they please unless they are asked to do otherwise. There is no real relationship between us. They exist as confident members of the flock, complacent, believing that unless they are told otherwise, all is well. They live their lives independent of me, resigned, unless I call them near. They respond dutifully to a voice familiar, assured that they are particularly wanted. They know that the shepherd is good. Their chief desire is approval, and will follow their own way unless a demand is made and approval is guaranteed.

Lastly, the faithful. These are the sheep that have no other desire than to be in my presence. They are confident that all of their needs will be satisfied by me. They are ever-watchful for my appearance. It matters little, my purpose in the barn or pasture – wherever I am and whatever I am doing, they desire my companionship. Regardless of the circumstances or experience, they have complete confidence in my affection towards them. They seek a relationship. Whether I pat them or praise them, or simply go about my business, they are content to be with me. These are my fearless sheep. They go about their days in quiet assurance and peace. They seek nothing for themselves, confident in the provision made for them.

Of course, I love all of my sheep, whether they frustrate or flatter me. I make every effort to reassure the frightened ones, to satisfy the greedy ones, and to approve the obedient ones. But my joy is the faithful ones.

A few years ago, I was in a Bible study with the topic of “Experiencing God.” It was a good study, though I found it difficult to commit to. I was drawn away by my responsibilities during lambing…and to be honest, complete distraction. I didn’t find the study engaging, as I experience God in everything that I do. The question that nettled me was how God was experiencing me…

I have an affinity for Bible verses that reference sheep, and shepherding, “Sheep Theology.” When the text was written, readers were well-acquainted with sheep. Today, much of the meaning is lost, as shepherding is no longer a common pursuit. For me, any reference to sheep or shepherding speaks volumes, and gives an intimacy to my understanding of a passage that no other explanation could.

A particular favorite is Psalm 100:3-5 (NIV):
Know that the LORD is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

Knowing how sheep are, the question begs to be answered…
Which sheep am I?
How does God experience me?

For the lost, rest assured that you are sought after.

Luke 15:4-7 "Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, 'Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.' I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.
2 Peter 3:9 "The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance."

For the hedonist, there is a way to find satisfaction.

John 4:14 "Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst."

And the obedient, you can cease striving. You have been approved.

Ephesians 2:8,9 "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast."

If you long to be among the faithful, pursue Him.

Hebrews 11:5-7 "And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him."

Regardless of which sheep you find yourself to be, there is a Shepherd who cares for you, that loves you tenderly, and seeks the highest and best for you. He wants to keep you in the safety of His fold, calm your fear and satisfy your heart. Will you allow Him to?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I have been/am all of those sheep. I'm considering how God experiences me these days and her writings put it so well.... Thank you sweet lady. I'm sorry for your trials and hope you grew strong from them. Your writings give me a certain kind of strength.

Creekbird

5 comments:

triplej said...

I love this!! Nice post.

Polly said...

I agree that God probably experiences me in many different ways. Some of each of them. And He loves me. It's interesting to have it actually in words that all those sheep references can mean different things to those who have experienced it. I know my understanding of things change with every experience as well, but herding sheep hasn't been one of them.

creamywibbibs said...

Hi there! Did you work at the Franklin Institute in SLC? I just bought an unopened Franklin Planner kit from 1988 containig a slip which said: "This kit was especially packaged for you by Genene Wight." Just thought I'd report the kit was entirely in order.

Genene said...

Hi! Wow! Indeed I did... I'm amazed to hear that story! Where did you find a kit from 1988? That's so interesting & thank you for looking me up & letting me know!
Genene

creamywibbibs said...

You're welcome, and the planner set came from eBay, still sealed so everything was factory fresh. I'm holding onto it for the moment so I can put it into use in 2015, once I've used up my current planner fill. One of the things it came with was a set of three Hyrum W. Smith cassette tapes of one of his seminars--interesting listening.
Robert Konshak/Las Vegas