Tag Archives: awareness

Lesson 1 – Listening to the Spirit

Lesson 1: Listening to the SpiritLately, my life has been overwhelming, dissolving, renewing and reshaping – and above all, chock full of learning. This series of posts is all about sharing that learning with you, and in return, I hope you share your life learning with me. (click here for intro post)


As I try to identify the first lesson in all of this, I find myself continually backing up in my story.  What I intended as lesson one will now probably be lesson 4 or 27 – and maybe that’s because I’m still learning it. And while I could possibly back up to childhood with the lessons I’m learning, I will start with last year, and this clear moment of listening to the Spirit.

About a year ago, my friend Rudy, who runs a short-term missions organization called Bula, asked me to go on a trip with her to Ethiopia.  She was scouting the location to take a team in the future, and connecting with a local organization that works with orphans and widows, called Bring Love In. She had been asked to do a bit of training with widowed women who are now moms to the orphans in “forever families.”

Rudy asked me to join her. I couldn’t recall her ever asking me directly to do a trip with her before, and that made me take note. I asked her several times how she thought I would be an asset, and she gave me vague-yet-encouraging answers about my skills with training and coaching, and just knew I would be helpful.

Unsettling… but hmmm.

You see, mission trips aren’t really “my thing.” I like the idea of going to other places and helping people, but I get a little leary of the helping-people-in-order-to-convert-them concept that can be prevalent in missions work. Rudy knows this about me, so I had to trust that she really believed this particular trip would be a fit.  So I prayed.

And the Spirit whispered, “Go.  See what happens. Learn.”

Listening to the SpiritI like to think that I’ve listened to the Spirit many times in my life. I’ve quit jobs without new ones lined up; I’ve turned down jobs that didn’t feel right.  I’ve gone back to school now a couple of times, feeling lead to learn something new.

And all of that has brought me to where I am today.

But it was all CONTROLLED.  I listened, but I also calculated. I determined the risks, I weighed all the options.  I did all the planning.

And this trip to Ethiopia, it wasn’t like that.  It felt spontaneous. It felt unknown. I had no idea why I was going, only that I was supposed to go. I had no idea how God would use me, only that He would. And in that moment, I knew about listening.

Lesson 1: Listen to the Spirit
Listening to the Spirit requires that I stop my churning mind, my analyzing, and my planning. In the stillness I discern what is being requested of me. And even though I don’t know the outcome,  I say Yes.

Spirit Lead Me

(clickable Facebook inspiration to share)

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Being a Sheep

Gung Hay Fat Choy!

It’s the lunar new year, and it’s the year of the Sheep (or goat, or ram, whichever you prefer).

Chinese new year 2015

So this got me thinking…

Have you ever been called a sheep?

It’s often thought of as being a negative – being a sheep.  I’ve heard it used to describe someone as weak-willed, following the crowd, conforming to fit in without really thinking for themselves, or just going along with what everyone else wants them to do.

But I don’t know if that’s fair – to people, or sheep.

Because maybe it’s good to be a sheep…

Sheep are friendly.  They like being together in a herd, and get stressed when separated from others.  New sheep don’t have to look the same, act any certain way – they are just accepted.  What if everyone in the world chose connection?

Sheep protect each other.  Flocking is a natural behavior among sheep.  They will run from things that frighten them and band together to stand against an enemy.  What if people always protected each other?

Sheep collaborate. They don’t get in power struggles, or need someone to be the boss – there is no one leader in a flock of sheep – they often follow just the first one that moves.  What would our world be like if people all worked together?

Sheep are peaceful.  There are no turf wars or alpha struggles for sheep. They don’t care about any particular piece of land, as long as they are together.   They don’t care about being in charge, or getting the credit.  Sheep want to just be. What if we could spend more time just being?

Sheep are aware.  Sheep rely on their senses to observe the environment and are constantly surveying.  They have a wide field of vision (up to 306 degrees!), can pinpoint the location of a sound, and even smell water. What if we used our senses to be more aware of what’s around us, in this moment?

Sheep are intelligent.  Sheep recognize and remember faces. They can remember complex mazes.  They have been known to search out healing plants when not feeling well, and even rolled themselves over a cattle grate in Yorkshire to get to a better field. What if we focused on creative problem-solving?

Being docile doesn’t mean weak.
Being peaceful doesn’t mean less intelligent.
Accepting others openly doesn’t mean conforming.

In fact, being tender-hearted, friendly, collaborative, always thinking and observing – these are the ways I do want to be.  And, with a good shepherd to guide me and a flock to help protect me, I know these are the keys to enjoy a good life.

Just like a sheep.


Lambs photo by TouTouke

Info Source: I got my new learning about sheep here and here


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