"I count myself one of the number of those who write as they learn and learn as they write." ~St. Augustine

Sunday, January 20, 2013

A Sheep with Claws??

photo source
It is a funny or odd picture, I will admit.  But, God used it none-the-less.

A little white lamb with sharp, long fangs pointing out from it's mouth.  In place of hooves, it had claws like an eagle.   A strange image, to be sure.  A "fangy" sheep?  But, this is the picture I saw in my head when I ask the Lord about my worry.

When I asked Him what He thought about my worry... what was His Truth about the state of my heart, I saw this picture in my mind's eye.

A sheep with fangs...  ugly, grotesque and malformed...  a lamb with claws.  Not as it should be.  Something is definitely not right here.

I knew when I saw this picture in my mind's eye that God's Spirit was saying something profound to my spirit.   This is what you look like when you don't trust me and you try to take care of yourself with worry.  

Humans aren't born with armor.  We don't have fangs and we don't have claws.  We are soft and vulnerable.   When we go to war we must create armor.  When we are hurt we also must, and do, create armor to protect.  When we want to attack with strength, we have to have made a weapon.  Our fists are the best we have.  That is it.  We aren't made to protect ourselves or to attack others.  Protection is what God does for us... if we let Him.

But, we don't.  Or, I should say, I don't.  I try to protect myself and have since before I can remember.  I protect myself from this pain or that pain.  Psychologists call these "protections" our "coping mechanisms".  Worry, fear, overeating, pleasure, escape, planning, "doing", cleaning, self righteousness, judgment and analysis... all mechanisms to help us cope---to help me cope.

Some coping mechanisms are more destructive than others, certainly.  And, some are temporary gifts of survival;  but, all mechanisms--- in the end--- if solely relied upon can become our god.    They become places we go.  They become the avenue for our okay-ness, our rest, our care, and our security.  They tend and "care" for us---usually quite poorly, I might add.  They can become our shepherd.

God reminded me of this picture today.  When I came to Him again, today, with my worry, He reminded me that it isn't my job to protect myself or to protect others.  He is my good, kind, loving Shepherd.  I can trust Him and His protection.  "I myself will tend my sheep, says the Sovereign Lord" (Ezekiel 34:15)  

In fact, when I run to these others things--- when I try to protect myself---I just look (and act) like a scared little white lamb with fangs and claws.  Something is not quite right here.

"Find rest, O my soul, in God alone!"  Psalm 62:5-8
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