He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. John 10:3-4
Living near Washington DC, we have many opportunities to tour the city and sites when friends and family visit. I was reminded of a specific event on a recent visit to Arlington Cemetery with my family. It was one of those typical sultry summer days – clear blue skies and a scorching sun. We had packed a picnic and snacks, loaded the van with family and headed into DC. First stop – the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. We were quite a large group, including my toddler son in the stroller and my strong-willed preschool daughter tagging along with the adults. Determined to exercise her independence, she fought holding an adult hand and would try to wander away from us in the large crowd. I found myself growing impatient with her antics and was forced to take disciplinary actions to remind her of the need for safety.
As we transitioned from one area to the next, the crowds dispersed and I was able to allow her a bit more freedom. But the battle began as soon as we approached the crowds at the next site. At first, she complied with the expectations by taking my hand and walking with me to the site of President Kennedy’s eternal flame. She had questions and remained quiet and respectful at the gravesite. The heat increased as the crowds shuffled towards a path to the exit. Our hands became sweaty and, before I knew it, we were disconnected.
My anxiety started to increase when I realized the downhill path gave me a perfect vantage point to watch my daughter in the crowd. At first, she appeared to enjoy her independence. But it was only moments before she realized she was surrounded by sea of strange legs and a look of panic emerged as she scanned the masses for a familiar face. I expected her to cry out for Mommy, but instead she appeared completely disoriented and darted erratically through the crowd. Her goal was just to find an open area.
I truly believe in the power of natural consequences, so I allowed my daughter to experience this feeling of disorientation, fear and separation for a few minutes before I called her name. The first time she didn’t hear it. The second time she heard me and frantically was trying to find me. The third time she heard me, saw me and ran into my arms crying, “I was lost Mommy, it skeered me!”
Sometimes I wonder if this is what I look like on a daily basis to my heavenly Father. Do I fight connecting with His guidance and then wander aimlessly and disoriented in the shuffle of the day’s events and demands? Is He calling my name and I can’t hear Him above the noise of the crowd? Luke 15:4-6 reminds me that Jesus cares for me like the shepherd and he will continue to seek me, the single lost disoriented sheep, until He finds me and leads me safely back into His care. If He cares for me this much, even more than I love and care for my daughter, what can I do differently to orient myself towards His will?
What are your distractions that disorient you and drown out your Savior’s voice?
Father God, Forgive me for my rebellious heart, for trying to do things on my own, for falling prey to the demands of the world and getting lost in the shuffle of the crowd. Do you watch me, Lord, and I wander erratically like a disoriented child? Help me to hear Your voice the first time, focus on Your face and follow Your path. I know you desire better things for myself than I can even imagine. Thank you for being patient with me. Amen