Updated: Jan 14, 2021
Over the past year, I have had a recurring vision of a sheep being led by a shepherd. I know I am the sheep and the Lord is my Shepherd.
If you know me, you know I want to know the plan; if you don’t know me, I want to know the plan. I function more efficiently when I am informed. Perhaps my need-to-know evolved as a result of all my years as an executive assistant working in the front office of a naval command, because I need to know the plan, anticipated milestones and defined objectives. I need to know the specifics, the timeline and my assigned tasks. I also need to be aware of any deviation to the plan. I am okay with change, as long as I am informed in a timely manner. I don’t like curveballs or surprises. I am a watcher and carefully observe what is going on around me, in anticipation of adjusting the plan. And I notice things…most of the time…
One morning in my quiet time, I realized that the Lord had already set a new plan in motion, a significant change, and I had not even noticed! My eyes flew open when I read Psalm 119:52:
I have remembered Your ordinances from of old, O LORD, and comfort myself.
I am an extrovert. I need to be in the company of others. I need conversation. I need to talk out daily life occurrences, issues and situations. Yet at some point in the recent past, I had stopped seeking others for comfort and had, indeed, learned to comfort myself. I had stopped seeking out a coworker-friend to discuss the workplace nonsense and goings-on. I had stopped calling and emailing friends to ask them to pray for me about every little thing. I had stopped anxiously pounding the doors of heaven.
Instead, I had been quiet. I sought comfort in God’s presence and in His word. In essence, I had finally started doing what I should have been doing all along: going to the Lord first, asking Him for wisdom and direction in the mundane, and trusting that, even in the mundane, He was working out His perfect plan for my life.
I sensed the Lord was leading me away from the flock. I will depend on Him alone.
In early May, in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, management began to adjust work schedules to limit onsite personnel. On a pre-dawn morning drive to work, the Lord spoke clearly to my heart, just one word: today. It was the answer to my long-time prayer about if, and when, to reduce my work hours to part-time; I desired to focus more on my writing ministry. Without hesitation, without financial concern, and without running the idea past a friend, I sent an email request to management. I know the only reason I did not get push-back was due to the pandemic; I now work three days a week.
I sensed the Lord was leading me away from the flock to a distant pasture. I will depend on Him alone to meet my financial needs.
I came back to work after the Christmas holiday anticipating what the Lord was going to do in the new year. Unlike prior years, I did not have defined goals or resolutions. Only a few hours in the first workday of 2021, I got a message from a former supervisor. She told me about a new position opening and thought I would be a perfect fit; she asked me to send her my resume. I had waited over ten years for a federal position opportunity to open! Not only did this one have promotion potential, it was in the front office — an environment in which I thrive! I thanked her for considering me, but told her I was not interested. No matter how good the opportunity was, I just knew that I knew it was not for me.
I sensed the Lord was leading me away from the flock to a distant new pasture. I will depend on Him alone to meet my financial needs. I will trust Him to lead me past the open gates of attractive pastures.
I still do not know where the Lord is leading me. With certainty, I do know that I am not to be concerned with the plan, milestones, objectives or specifics and timelines. My only responsibility is to be obedient to the Holy Spirit’s prompting.
My vision has now expanded to include the image of the solitary sheep frolicking in delight in the fresh, new pasture, under the watch-care of the Great Shepherd.
So this lil’ ol’ sheep is filled with excitement and anticipation. I may not know what is to come, but I do know the sound of my Shepherd’s voice and that His plan is exceedingly more than I can ask or think!
The Lord is my shepherd,
I will not be in need.
He lets me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside quiet waters.
He restores my soul;
He guides me in the paths of righteousness
For the sake of His name.
~ Psalm 23:1-3