Declutter, Decompress, and Delight

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My parents have recently moved to a retirement home with 24/7 nursing care.  What has impressed me is the things we collect over the years. I am working through some of my stuff as well and all I will say is, “good grief!”

So, it is with our own personal spiritual life.  It is easy to live life not realizing that from time to time we need to do a reality check of how we are doing. We can,

 Declutter

Life has a way of building up resentment, bitterness, judgement, and stinkin’ thinkin’. 

It’s healthy to be content, but envy can eat you up. Proverbs 14:30

Out of your heart come evil thoughts, vulgar deeds, stealing, murder,unfaithfulness in marriage, greed, meanness, deceit, indecency, envy, insults, pride, and foolishness. Mark 8:21-22

Without even knowing it, our attitudes and thoughts can build up and before we know it, we are dealing with some junk we need to take to the dump!

King David knew all about that, and he prayed,

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. Psalm 51:1-2

What a great prayer to start each and every day to declutter things in our heart as we plow through every 24 hours.

  • Decompress

Focusing on my own life, instead of comparing to other people, will help me decompress on what is MY reality.  Do you agree?  Right now, in whatever circumstance we are all facing and what situations life has handed us, we are able to decompress and see what is really important and true for our own personal life.

If we spend our time wishing we were like the neighbour down the street or if you are a single parent and see the Ex getting ahead or somehow hoping to win big money, we never will be content with the here and now.

I remember talking to a single mom who was putting herself through higher education while looking after her kids and she said, I am thankful for my health and my kids.  Life was tough for her but she was able to decompress and take positive stock in her life.

  • Delight

Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4

Delight is the foundation for de-cluttering and decompressing life.  Seeking the Lord and understanding who He is with His love and compassion, will grip our hearts and give us His desire to walk through life.

I have found when I am focusing on the Lord and what He has done for me, I am able to see clearer what He has in store for me. All of us matter to Him.

I say to the Lord, You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing. Psalm 16:2

This week is going to be crazy busy for me so I need to work my hardest to delight in Him and give Him my best.  Will you join me?

We all know life isn’t a bed of roses, but God has given us the ability to de-clutter, decompress, and delight.

We can do this!

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DON’T FENCE ME IN

I love old fences. To me they detail such character representing hard manual labour. As far as keeping our sheep and lambs safe from predators, those old fences don’t work.  We have electric fences to keep our sheep and guard dogs in, and to keep those deadly predators; like coyotes out.

The sheep, lambs, and dogs only have to touch it once to know that it is a boundary they will respect.  As farmers, we respect those fences as well.  Trust me, I know!  They are there for a positive purpose and every one of our critters, along with us, don’t mess with it.  Those fences are tremendously important.

It’s like life.  There are safety standards and boundaries we all have to live by. There are road rules, workplace rules, food safety rules, and children safety issues to name a few. If you are a parent with children living under your roof, you know boundaries aren’t always appreciated. 

Our great Pyrenees would sometimes like to explore and get outside the fences if they could.  That is why checks have to be made. We saw a coyote watching one of our flocks the other morning.  We are glad the fences are on and the dogs are guarding them.  You can see our black and white Pyrenees looking at the fence but has to wait for his treat until I get there.

It is the same with humans. Many times, we don’t like to be fenced in.  The Apostle Paul understood what we deal with.  He said,

In fact, I don’t understand why I act the way I do. I don’t do what I know is right. I do the things I hate. Although I don’t do what I know is right, I agree that the Law is good. So I am not the one doing these evil things. The sin that lives in me is what does them.

 The Law has shown me that something in me keeps me from doing what I know is right. With my whole heart I agree with the Law of God. But in every part of me I discover something fighting against my mind, and it makes me a prisoner of sin that controls everything I do. What a miserable person I am. Who will rescue me from this body that is doomed to die? Thank God! Jesus Christ will rescue me. Romans 7:15-17; 21-25 (CEV)

It seems the belief system of not wanting to be fenced in and of not having anyone telling us what to do has become the norm in our society.  We have our rights. I truly believe we need to stand up for those important fences and boundaries that are within God’s framework.  There are so many issues right now that have affected all of us causing a lot of division and hatred among people.  

Realize that

  1. We need fences for protection. Life is just that and we all need wisdom. It is something that needs to be evaluated and worked through on what are good boundaries and fences. Some may make fun of us but we need to do what is good and safe.  It is amazing how much spam and phone calls I get telling me I have been given $1 million dollars or my credit card has been comprised.  Due diligence is always required and we can’t trust everyone or everything.  It’s good to get trusted advice and keep fences up for our own good.
  • We need fences to keep others out.  Not everyone has good motives or believe in being truthful. It is something we need to teach our kids and something we need to teach ourselves. 

This is what Jesus said to those who followed Him,

I am sending you like lambs into a pack of wolves. So be as wise as snakes and as innocent as doves. Matthew 10:16

I have been hurt so many times in life due to my own unwise decisions and unhealthy boundaries. I have also been hurt by those that are like a pack of wolves.  I always go back to the foundation of why I am here on earth.  God placed me here and He gave me a guide book to live by. 

There will always be something new that people are fighting for, new rules, new protests and new laws.  That is a given.  I have to respect my boundaries that are within the framework of God’s word.  It is the only thing that will bring peace within my soul and respect for others.

Guide me by your truth and instruct me. You keep me safe, and I always trust you. Psalm 25:5

Fences, aka boundaries, are positive.  They help navigate through life.  Some people think the Bible is so outdated and just full of rules.  I challenge you to start reading it with fresh eyes to see the good in fences and boundaries that God has for us. You are worth it and He wants you to know that. “Ewe” are loved!  Sorry, I just had to say that! 😊

Come and let’s talk over the fence…. we have lots to share!

Until next time for the last in the Sheep Series. 

HOOKED ON EWE!  Lessons from the Sheep

I cannot out-run a sheep or lamb.  In fact, I cracked a bone in my wrist trying to chase the sheep in rubber boots.  FYI…don’t run in rubber boots!

Bill has a special shepherds hook.  It is long and the hook is very narrow.  You can’t catch an ewe with the regular shepherds hook very well if you are chasing them.  Some ewes need to be caught to reunite with their lamb or they need some medical attention.  The narrow hook is just the size to catch the ewe’s leg so he can grab them and guide them to where they need to go.  Both hooks can be used to guide the sheep and lambs.

I never use that narrow hook because I am not that fast or coordinated.   But I use the wide hook to guide the ewes and lambs.  It is also good for using on rocky ground to keep me sturdy.  I am sure the Shepherd David, who turned King, used that hook as he walked in the places where he took care of the sheep.

I am reminded that God loves us and is ‘hooked’ on us.  He wants to gently guide us and led us in paths of righteousness if we allow Him.  He rejoices when one what is lost or needs guidance is found. 

 Then Jesus told them this story:

If any of you has 100 sheep, and one of them gets lost, what will you do? Won’t you leave the 99 in the field and go look for the lost sheep until you find it?  And when you find it, you will be so glad that you will put it on your shoulder and carry it home. Then you will call in your friends and neighbors and say, “Let’s celebrate! I’ve found my lost sheep.”

Jesus said, “In the same way there is more happiness in heaven because of one sinner who turns to God than over 99 good people who don’t need to.” Luke 15:3-7 (CEV)

It comforts me to know that the Good Shepherd loves to take care of me, He wants the best for me, and loves to guide me in all my life decisions.  He wants to do that for all of us.

In this picture, Bill is guiding one back to its momma using the long hook. Sometimes they get confused or cannot find their momma, so he helps guides them back to where they can hear their momma’s voice.

Just as a shepherd looks after the sheep and lambs with his hook, the Good Shepherd wants to make sure we have the best possible care. We just need to ask for it.

The Good Shepherd is ‘hooked on us.’ What an amazing and comforting thought!

Lessons from Sheep and Lambs #3

Sheep are followers.  One starts and then the rest usually come right behind.  That is a good thing when trying to move them to a new pasture.  Not so good, when the first couple of ewes head the wrong way! My hope is they are never running toward me!!!

Bill’s patience pays off as he gently tries to get the first couple of sheep to put their hoofs forward in the right direction.   Most don’t want to miss out on all the fuss and spring ahead.  A shepherd would never lead them into a dangerous situation.  For the sheep, it is a trust and risk issue. As I mentioned in the previous blog, they know his voice.

They like to hang in groups and follow each other around.  Our baby lambs get into groups of 20 or 30 and take off running and jumping altogether. It is quite a sight and we love to watch them play.

For their safety and well-being, they need a good shepherd or they will be in trouble. 

Humans are the same.  They need good people and leaders to follow.  If not, many are going down a rabbit hole.  Some believe any new diet, political issues, a new belief system, or even a new friend.  I know people who have listened to financial advisors and lost everything. We have to be careful or we can be in quite a mess. 

We don’t have to follow everything we hear. My policy is to found out what is true and risk-worthy for positive life steps. There is a lot of false teaching out there. Learning to be careful of what and who I follow is part of who I am. It is a trust ad risk issue just like the sheep.

I never have to question the Good Shepherd.  His advice is always in the best interest of His ‘sheep’.  Humans can mess it up, so I trust in God’s word. 

I have almost made some unwise decisions and choices.  I find when in a panic or facing something fearful it makes my perspective way off base. Nothing needs to be on a whim and stepping back and listening to the Good Shepherd’s wisdom and Truth is the best.  It isn’t always easy because I would rather have instant results but it is the good and right thing.

There are a lot of people out there trying to get people to follow them. They make promises, tell lies, and only want for their own gain. 

Sheep need a shepherd to lead and take care of them.  Humans need the Good Shepherd to wade through this thing called, Life!

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd who owns the sheep. So, when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away.  John 10:11,12

You, Lord, are my shepherd. I will never be in need. You let me rest in fields
of green grass. You lead me to streams of peaceful water, and you refresh my life. You are true to your name, and you lead me along the right paths. I may walk through valleys as dark as death, but I won’t be afraid. You are with me, and your shepherd’s rod makes me feel safe. Psalm 23: 1-4

For me, this is a reminder to look to the Good Shepherd and ‘rest in fields of green grass and let Him lead us to streams of peaceful waters.’  I hope you do too. We need that refreshment don’t we!

Have a good week.

Lessons from Our Sheep and Lambs: #2

I’ve seen it first hand!

Just as the Bible verse says, My sheep know my voice, and I know them. They follow me. John 10:27

My husband is a shepherd.  His dad bought him his first sheep when he was about 12 years old.  He was hooked.

He loves taking good care of the flock. He takes courses, talks to experts, sheers our sheep, and makes sure they have the best possible life. I’ve only been on the scene since I married him 12 years ago and never stop learning something new.

When Bill calls the sheep, they really do know His voice.  It could be to give them grain or move them to a nice pasture.  The sheep depend on him.

We’ve just had our first session of lambing for this year.  I’m amazed that the little newborn lambs know their momma’s voice above all the sounds of other lambs and ewes blatting. The ewes know when their babies are calling them.  I find it so amazing to watch.

For sheep and lambs, listening is paramount.  For humans, it is the same.  I feel it is a lost ‘art’. Many times, we like to do things ourselves and am not interested in anyone telling us what to do. 

I’m not against doing things on our own or being empowered to grow.  However, with a lot of years under my belt, I have found:

  1. We need to be willing to listen to what others say and listen with respect and kindness. Then we have a choice to process on our own.  Not everyone’s advice is good. Its amazing all the ‘expert’ advice I got when I became a single parent.  I was able to walk away, roll my eyes, and say…next!! However, I am gained much from wise people too.
  2. The most important of all life’s plans and decisions is to listen to the Good Shepherd’s voice. He will never misguide or misdirect. His Scriptures are true and will lead us in the paths of righteousness.

Life is like standing in our barn with the deafening sounds of hundreds of lambs and sheep. In all the loud outside noises of life, it is learning to hear the voice of the Good Shepherd to make everyday decisions that will lead to true peace.

Come save us and bless us. Be our shepherd and always carry us in your arms.  Psalm 28:9

LESSONS I’VE LEARNED FROM LAMBS AND SHEEP: #1

In Old Testament days, before Jesus walked on the earth, the Jewish culture used perfect lambs as an offering to God.  Because of sin on earth, they needed the shedding of blood for forgiveness.

As Easter approaches, I am forever grateful that I no longer have to sacrifice lambs to ask for forgiveness.  Jesus came to earth, as planned from the beginning of time, to be my sacrificial lamb once and for all.

He did that for anyone willing to accept Him and live a life with purpose.  He walked the life we do while on earth, yet without sin. He understands our pain, our grief, and all the disappointments we face.  What a comfort as I come to Him, the perfect sacrificial Lamb, to seek help and guidance.

My husband and I are now into lambing season.  We have many beautiful lambs. I am thankful I don’t have to sacrifice any of them as my need to be forgiven.   Easter has taken care of that. Thank you to Jesus, the Sacrificial Lamb, for His sacrifice of giving his life so we can be forgiven.

 The next day, John saw Jesus coming toward him and said:

Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! John 1:29

Happy Easter. We have much to rejoice for our eternal state.