Browsing Tag

Following God

But one day as I thought, “Oh, this story again!” and rolled my eyes, something dawned on me, the lost sheep wasn’t necessarily lost for long! The lost sheep had probably just wandered to the other side of a bush or a rock were he thought the grass would be yummier and the shepherd merely lost sight of him. The shepherd would have had to be counting constantly to even realize that ONE sheep was missing from so many in the first place, and once he realized this he simply, but frantically, began to search the other side of all the bluffs, rocks and bushes nearby.  He wasn’t actually abandoning the other sheep, rather, just looking for the one who was lost… probably not even really leaving earshot of the sheep he left in the pasture. In fact, he could probably even see the sheep he left most of the time because he was taller than the rocks and bushes and bluffs he was searching behind. However, he was worried enough about the dangers outside of the safety of the herd that he had to rush to search, heart racing, blood pounding in his ears. When he finds the poor, curious, little guy the relief is so great that it is uncontainable. This is why He carries him on his shoulders rejoicing.

The terror and joy that the shepherd feels would be akin to the terror and subsequent joy I feel when my 3-year-old wanders to the other side of the clothes rack in the mall. Because I cannot see her I begin to practically hyperventilate, imagining every possible horror story come true in my life in an instant, calling out her name and searching frantically. When I find her, even if it has only been a few minutes that she was lost, the moment is burned into my memory forever. I cannot contain my relief and for a week I tell everyone how happy I am to have all my children after my recent “kidnapping scare”. Because this happened, does it mean that somehow I am a bad mother or even that the child is bad? No!

Any of the sheep could have wandered away in search of greener grass to munch on without even realizing that they were leaving the herd. You or I may not have some kind of incredible conversion story like Scott Hahn or Jeff Cavins or even like my ex-atheist husband but then those people weren’t ones who wandered away from the herd, rather, they were acquired into the herd later in life. We are the lost sheep! We are the ones that the Shepherd worries about, We are the ones who wander when we are not paying attention. This is a story of the sheep who are GOOD, not like the prodigal son, and God does worry about us. He counts us constantly to make sure we are still there and comes running after us the moment he realizes he can’t see us anymore.

He loves you even if your story isn’t that “impressive”.  Maybe you were “born in the herd”. Maybe you’ve never known anything else, never run away, never been really horrible and yet you’re the one that the Shepherd is worrying about. He loves you more than He can express and knows that if anything ever happened to you no amount of money or other compensation could ever replace you.

Do you believe it?

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Identity, Other Relationships, Relationship with God

Cultivating Meaningful Interior and Exterior Silence

“It seems only the old are able to sit next to one another and not say anything and still feel content. The young, brash and impatient, must always break the silence. It is a waste, for silence is pure. Silence is holy. It draws people together because only those who are comfortable with each other can sit without speaking.” – Nicholas Sparks, The Notebook

Despite the source, this quote can be life changing if taken to heart.

Discernment, Relationship with God

How to Dance with God – Step 3 – Following

Being a dancer “is one of the most difficult jobs. It is like the life of an ephemeral, this specific butterfly. We’re ugly at the beginning, but someone can see through our shell and help us grow… To finally die after few hours enjoying our gorgeous wings and technique to fly. But it is also a beautiful way to spend your life. It is worth the very hard work. When you go on stage, you’re giving your emotions to the world, you can express your inner world, become a goddess, die and then kill, transform yourself over and over again. …Don’t be afraid to throw your soul to your audience, if you want this sort of life.'” – Charlotte Landreau,  Martha Graham Dance Company  (NYC Dance Project – Artists without Borders)  (see image below)

Discernment, Relationship with God

How to dance with God – Step 2 – Listening

In the finale dance scene from the movie Strictly Ballroom the music is cut in order to prevent the couple from continuing their dance. Scott, the male main character, remembers Fran’s (the female lead) grandmother encouraging him, “Listen to the Rhythm. Don’t be scared!” He pauses a moment to gather himself and, despite the lack of audible music, the two finish the dance and all those present are in an uproar at the sheer beauty of the performance. This ability to listen in our hearts is the key to being able to follow in the dance.

Relationship with God, The Human Struggle

Presence – How to Dance with God – Step 1

Nathan Greene ArtIn order to learn how to dance with God, we have to recognize that the ultimate key factor is learning to Follow. When we learn to follow we learn to recognize that, as obvious as it might seem, we are not in the lead,  that God is either our partner or our Instructor.  Either way, He is the one in charge.  He is the one who is displaying His strength by showing off our beauty (or, for you guys, the one showing you how to be strong). (See with God).

So, all these dance steps are essentially tips on teaching us how to follow, how to recognize cues, how to see them as beautiful and beneficial to us rather than controlling.

In this first practical post we will focus on the importance of presence.

Discernment, Identity

Will following God’s will actually make you happy?

The first question this obviously leads to is, what is God’s will for us? We think of it as something scary, oppressive, controlling.  When we consider following God’s will, we tend to think only of rules and regulations. We think of lines like, “Whomever wants to come after me must take up his cross and follow me” (Mt. 16:24) and of having to do hard things and give up what we are most attached to. We think of having to change. We think of Job, Lazarus and Calvary.  How could that possibly make us happy? What’s in it for me if I’m called to “die to myself” (Mk. 8:35, Jn. 12:24, etc)?