We are in a storm unlike any we’ve experienced in our lifetime. But there is also another storm. It’s the one raging within our thoughts and hearts. There is protection from the storm within. I love how this ancient practice between shepherds and sheep can encourage us today.
Ancient Practice for Today
I remember my girlfriend, Amie Dockery, telling us a beautiful story about a practice shepherds did with their sheep. In ancient times, shepherds used to make their own anointing oil for their flock. With herbs and spices, they would create their own signature mixture.
They did this for two reasons. If their sheep ever got mixed into another shepherd’s flock, they would be able to identify their sheep right away by the smell.
Secondly, the herbs and spices also had medicinal properties. Picture the shepherd pouring the oil into his hands and then massaging it into the sheep’s wool around the head and ears and down the front legs. Amie said there is a microscopic mite that travels up the front legs of a sheep and enters the ears with a goal to breed and colonize in the ear canal and burrow into the brain. The oil kept the mites from attaching. They would slide right off.
What Gets in Our Ears, Gets in Our Heads
“What gets in our ears eventually gets in our head,” said Amie. “When this happened the shepherd would see immediate change in behavior of the sheep. A lamb that would typically go to the Shepherd for comfort would instead run off and act crazy, going against it’s nature to be protected.”
The pain from these infestations would be so unbearable sheep would bang their heads against rocks, sometimes breaking their skull, just to be free of the madness.
Free from the Madness
Who wants to be free from the madness right now? Who needs protection from the storm within?
Remember the famous Psalm 23? “The Lord is my shepherd; I lack nothing”. There is a verse in this chapter that has always confused me. “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.” How can I enjoy a feast when my enemy is breathing down my neck? When fear is screaming at me?
But the very next verse says “You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows”. Tears flow. That’s how I can sit before my enemies and enjoy the table He’s prepared. His anointing oil keeps the taunts, fears, and worries from burrowing into my brain.
“He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside still waters, He refreshes my soul.”
I close my eyes and picture God looking over His flock and seeing me. With kind, patient, loving eyes, He sees me. Bending down before me, He takes the anointing of His words and massages them gently into my head and ears.
His truth protects me, keeps me focused, comforts me in the middle of a raging storm. Because of this practice, I will not go crazy. Fear will not drive me insane.
Memories of a Psychiatric Ward
When I was 19 years old, I checked myself into a locked psychiatric ward for a month. You can read more about my story here. I know firsthand what it’s like to feel like I’m walking a fine line of madness and reality.
I remember our early years of marriage. Even though I’d been through a lot of counseling, I still had relapses where I felt like I was going crazy. There was so much emotional pain to still heal from. When I’d breakdown, the only thing that felt calming and good was Brian holding my head firmly in his hands, as the whirlwind of fears calmed within.
Fear is relentless. Just like the parasites that burrow into a sheep’s brain, fear burrows into our brains. If we aren’t careful, it will drive us mad. We need protection from the storm within.
I have a lot of history with fear. That is why I talk about overcoming fear so much. I know what it’s like to be a slave to fear. More importantly, I know what it’s like to be set free of it.
Daily Life Has Changed
Everyone is having to readjust to a new daily life with COVID-19. Parents are having to manage doing school with their kids while also working from home. I know firsthand what that’s like. It’s completely overwhelming when you’re new to it. CLICK HERE for my best homeschooling tips.
Small business owners are having to pivot quickly to find ways to stay afloat. We’re in that boat now. Worst case scenarios saturate the news. Isolation magnifies the fears.
My Morning Routine
Every morning I wake up and read my Bible. It is not enough for me to pray. Sometimes my prayers of fear and anxiety can add speed to that whirlwind of fear. I have to refresh my mind and heart with words of truth.
I love the Bible App BiOY (Bible in One Year). Our family has been reading it for over a year. Each day you are given a passage in the Psalms or Proverbs, Old Testament and New Testament. There is always great commentary to go with it. Check it out here.
Can I encourage you to create a morning ritual for yourself? This will give you protection from the storm within. Even if you have to wake up an hour before your kids get up. Whatever it takes to sit in the quiet, close your eyes and see the Shepherd catch your eye. Watch Him come to you, bend down, and anoint you with His truth.
We are His sheep, and He is our Shepherd. “He restores my soul. He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil. Thou art with me. His rod and staff, they comfort me…Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Psalm 23
CLICK HERE for More Posts on Dealing with Fear.
How Does Your Family Inspire You?
If you want to take a break from the fear and focus on those you love, call us. Instead of letting fear consume you, what if we took time to discover how your loved ones inspire you.
Click this link to schedule a Discovery Call with our wonderful team. Through a series of thoughtful questions, we’ll help you discover and celebrate what means most in this season of life (not fear). And when all this craziness is over, you can come in for a photographic experience that celebrates the specifics things you love most in each other.
Family is a Work of Art