I heard my wife say this seemingly obvious statement around lambing time. When Oliver, our first lamb, was born, she would pick him up and Hannah, his mama, would run around baa-ing like he had vanished out of thin air. Sara would set him down and baby would cry, mama would cry and they would reunite as if for the first time.
“She can’t find him, it doesn’t make sense to her that he would be high up because sheep don’t fly.”
Sheep, indeed, do not have wings and do not fly, therefore their eyes rarely go to the sky. Sheep often are looking down at their food. Or they are watchful of what is around, at eye level. But looking up is not something that sheep do a lot of.
Yet, sheep are focused animals. They watch and are aware, but they follow the flock. If the one of the flock is spooked, they are all spooked. If one smells food in the barn and move towards it, the flock moves towards it.
Sheep are very reactive animals.
Jesus talks about being the Good Shepherd. He says His sheep know His voice and they follow. He watches out for them, and their only role is to watch Him. To pay attention to what He is saying and where He is directing.
It is easy for me to become focused on what is right in front of me. What I am working on, what is happening around me, what I am eating, what the people around me are flocking towards, etc.
To take the time to look up, even though it is not intuitive is called for. Taking the time to listen and pay attention to the Shepherd is a learned behavior.
This trust of the shepherd comes with time.
I have been trying to recapture the art of trusting, otherwise known as resting.
Resting is about ignoring the tendency to put your head down.
Resting is about being intentional, not simply living in a reactive way.
Resting takes practice.
Resting is about lifting your head up even when your nature says, “keep your head down. Keep reacting. Just go with the flock.”