Sunday Sheep Ponderings – May 29,2016

Pondering today on “freedom”.
We live in a free country and for that, I am extremely grateful! But freedom isn’t really determined by a system of government is it?
Are you free? 
I am on a journey back to freedom. “Back” to freedom you ask? Yes, because I was born free. I was born without the chains of performance, people pleasing and religion. I danced and sang and played and imagined and laughed with no thought of anything else except the joy of just “being.”
Then from an early age, we are conditioned to perform. We get praised and applauded when we measure up and we get punished and rebuked when we fall short. We are constantly sized up and measured at every step along the way. Our joy slowly begins to be overshadowed by the desire to fit in and be accepted. 
I struggled for most of my life with performance and perfectionism. I think this is very typical of first- born, high achievers. So many hopes, dreams and expectations are heaped on our fragile little shoulders. Don’t ask questions, just do as you are told.
But thank God, the story doesn’t end there! It IS very possible to shake free from all those expectations that weigh you down. It’s a process and I’m not saying it’s easy BUT it IS worth it! AND you are not alone on the journey! Christ is IN you and FREEDOM is why Jesus came! 
So today, ask yourself? Am I truly FREE? 
Am I afraid I don’t measure up? Am I worried that if I stop saying “yes” to things that people may not like me? Am I constantly feeling pressure to keep up an image? Do I measure success on what others think of me? Am I afraid to ask “why”? Do I feel like my kids and my marriage define me? Do I go to church or read my bible because I am “supposed” to? Do I ever think “that’s what a good Christian would do”? Am I trying to gain the approval of people? And more importantly am I trying to gain approval from God?
My friends! I have the very best news! You are accepted and loved exactly as you are! You are created in the image and likeness of God! You are designed to be uniquely you! You are a masterpiece like no other! You are the only you there has been, is or ever will be! So just “be” you! 
You were created to be free so start your journey BACK to freedom! There may be people along the way that resent your freedom and they may try to put their chains around you, but just keep your eyes on the prize. Mostly, there will be people along the way that see your freedom and it stirs something deep in them, something they used to have and long to get back. Then my friends, you can turn around, extend your hand, and show them the way. I don’t think there is anything more satisfying than “setting captives free” and leading people back to their true selves. 
Happy Memorial Day my friends! Celebrate your freedom! Dance, sing, imagine , laugh and just “be”! 
Galatians 5:1

Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take your stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you.

Sunday Sheep Ponderings – May 15,2016

Pondering today on trees.
One morning this week, I woke up several hours earlier than normal. When that happens, I usually talk to God as I’m trying to fall back to sleep. This particular morning, we discussed trees….the trees in the garden in Genesis. 
The questions I have and the answers He has given are way too lengthy for this post but I will share a snippet of my pondering.
There were two trees in the garden that are specifically named, The Tree of the KNOWLEDGE of good and evil and The Tree of Life. There were two named but only one that was forbidden to eat…KNOWLEDGE of good and evil. The adversary of our soul tells us that if we just eat from that tree we will be like God, knowing all things but God tells us that if we eat of that tree, we will surely die.
We look at Adam and Eve and think why did they eat from that tree? Why did they mess up? But the truth is …we have the same choice today. 
We have two trees to choose from.
The KNOWLEDGE Tree tells us that WE can be like God. If we believe the right thing, read the bible enough, pray enough, go to church enough, be involved in social justice enough…we will be like Him, we will be closer to Him, He will be pleased with us and we will be in right standing with Him IF and ONLY IF, we “do” something…believe something, live out something, share something, sacrifice something, etc. The problem with this tree is that it puts US in the drivers seat. Everything is based on our knowledge of right/wrong, good/evil, truth/lies and on and on. We are on a never ending cycle of “Doing” something so we can “Become” something. This cycle eventually leads to the fear that I haven’t “done” enough and I’ll never “become” or we go through seasons where we don’t “feel” close to God because we aren’t “doing” things right. Religion thrives off of and fertilizes this tree. 
The LIFE Tree says the exact opposite. It tells us that we are created in the image and likeness of God and we don’t have to “do” anything to “become” like Him. It tells us that He lives IN us, breathed His very spirit in us and we are not on a journey of getting closer to Him because He is always there. We are invited into a journey of discovering how beautiful He is and how passionately He loves us. This tree tells us that HE did it ALL and we don’t have to do any of the driving. He doesn’t need our help in saving the world! Oh my goodness, did she just say that?! Yes, I did. He has already taken care of everything through Jesus. The work of Christ was not partially done and we need to finish it up…IT IS FINISHED. This tree tells us that because He has done it all, we can just “be” and not “do”. This tree doesn’t take us on a journey of “doing” to be accepted but it takes us on a journey of “being” who we are…His.
So what do we do with this pondering? We stop hiding from God because we are naked and ashamed. We wake up to the good news that separation was never in the mind of God …only in ours. We stop eating from a tree that leads to death and we eat from the tree that gives life. 
Love well my friends! Happy Sunday!

Sunday Sheep Pondering – May 1,2016

Pondering today on not pondering 😏.
Verses from Ecclesiastes keep coming to my head… there’s a time to be born and a time to die, there’s a time to sow and a time to reap… There’s a time to ponder and a time to just be.  
It’s very difficult for a ponderer like myself to stop thinking. To silence my many thoughts and just rest, trust, and be. But even for a thinker, there is a time for quiet…to be still and know that He is God. To know that for every question I have, He holds the perfect answer. There are seasons of waiting on Him, trusting in His love and letting go of things that try to weigh you down. 
It is an act of worship to let things go and trust. 
This can be especially challenging for the “fixers”, the “planners”, the “organizers” of this world. Difficult but so necessary to grow. 
Sometimes things work out better than expected, sometimes less. Sometimes answers come quickly and sometimes they don’t seem to come at all. Sometimes life is smooth sailing and sometimes it is quite the turbulent ride. 
In ALL of it ….ALL of it, He is there. He doesn’t fly in and fly out like a super hero…He is constant, continually, forever there. 
So today, I’m letting go of questions that don’t seem to have answers and I am trusting His love and somehow…that simple act of worship IS the answer. 
Love well my friends and just “be”. Happy Sunday!