It’s amazing how a verse or a quote you’ve seen time and again can speak to you in a way that you hadn’t experienced before — depending on the season you’re in. Some days as I’m reading a chapter or two from the word of God, something will get my attention, and I usually stop and unpack it a little and research its meaning if I have the luxury of time that day. If I don’t, it just replays in my mind until I do something about it. Today’s excerpt is an example of one of those readings that made me pause and reflect because of an article I had read a couple days earlier. Take a minute to read the following excerpt from John 10:1.
“I tell you the truth, anyone who sneaks over the wall of a sheepfold, rather than going through the gate, must surely be a thief and a robber! 2 But the one who enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep recognize his voice and come to him. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 After he has gathered his own flock, he walks ahead of them, and they follow him because they know his voice. 5 They won’t follow a stranger; they will run from him because they don’t know his voice.” ~John 10:1-5
If you go on to read verses six through ten, you’ll see the meaning of Jesus’ illustration. He is the gate for the sheep that’s referenced in today’s reading. He continues to explain that those who came before him were thieves and robbers whose sole goal is to steal, kill, and destroy. Does that sound familiar? His “true sheep” didn’t listen to them and didn’t follow them; instead, they waited and listened for his voice.
The article I read a few days ago was about self-care. The author of this short article referred to those who don’t seek mental health support because of cultural norms. This person sought sage advice and embraced the words of this trusted family member who insisted that she didn’t need to see a therapist even though she was an emotional wreck. This trusted family member suggested that the author’s faith wasn’t strong enough and that her relationship with God was probably tenuous at best.
We get advice from others every day — both solicited and unsolicited, and it comes in various forms: commercials, billboards, hushed conversations, or the tape that’s playing in your head. Sometimes, the advice givers are like those robbers and thieves — they’re miserable, so they want you to be miserable too. They offer you advice without good intentions. They may realize that you are a home maker — a mother of five with a 5,000 square foot house and very little time to keep up with all you’re required to do. When you mention getting a housekeeper to come in once a week, you’re made to feel weak. Are you really weak, or is the advice giver merely envious of your ability to secure help? Consider what will benefit you. Your life is clearly imbalanced. What will make life a little more manageable for you? Sometimes we should just thank advice givers for their advice, but do what’s best for ourselves and our situations.
I’m not the woman in this scenario, but if I were, I’d definitely get some help — a housekeeper, a Southern cook, and maybe even a driver. I’m not the author of that article either, but if I were, I’d seek emotional support from an expert if that is what I truly needed. Questioning someone else’s faith is a flagrant foul, and if someone does that, it should raise a red flag in your mind. No one knows the state of your relationship with God but the two of you. The truth of the matter is simple. The thief’s purpose is to kill, steal, and destroy. God’s purpose is to give you a rich and satisfying life. Only you can decide whose advice to take. May blessings abound! <3
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.