The Mysterious, Morphing Me (Update)

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. – I Corinthians 13:11

Recently I heard a Bible teacher outline the spiritual journey of a Christian in three stages: Curious, Convinced, and Committed.

Hearing this brought back a memory of a brief but vivid dream from years ago. I wrote about it here before, but for the 600 followers I’ve picked up since then, I think it worth repeating, especially in a time where the world is in so much turmoil.

Looking out the window, I saw a large squirrel, pure white. As I was thinking I’d never seen an albino squirrel, it began to grow, morphing into a sheep!

Confused, I asked the person next to me, “Is that a squirrel, or a sheep?” – realizing the moment the words were out of my mouth how silly they sounded.

But now the sheep was changing, too! Its legs were getting longer and more slender, and the way it moved was less like a sheep’s walk and more like the energetic trot of a dog. It was only then that I noticed a young man calling to the squirrel/sheep/dog. Promptly and obediently it came and trotted alongside its master.

When I woke up, I lay there for a few moments, asking the LORD, What was that all about???

I thought about the characteristic of the three animals, starting with the squirrel.

Curious

Squirrels are … well, squirrely. They are curious and flighty, with an attention span of about two seconds. I can only imagine how their little minds run. Hey-what-IS-that?-wow-cool-That’s-awesome-gotta-go-now! Squirrels are energetic and entertaining, but don’t expect them to be responsible. One thing they are not is committed.

As a child I was flighty (even more than now), and although I now know God was caring for me and looking out for me as I explored my world, I was oblivious to His presence in my life. I was a little squirrel – cute perhaps, but pretty useless.

Convinced

Sheep, on the other hand, are not oblivious to their shepherd! They know he is their guide to food and clear, clean water. He’s their protector and the one who cares for them when they are sick or injured. Sheep are almost never far from their shepherd. If one does wander away, it most certainly will find some kind of trouble and need to be rescued.

When I first knew about Jesus, I loved Him in my own little-lamb way. I trusted Him, knowing that He had created me, came to earth to save me, died on the cross to pay the penalty for my sins, protected me, provided for me, healed me, and would someday give me eternal life in heaven!

That’s an awful lot of “me’s!” My love for Jesus then was based on the things He did for me. As long as I was being cared for, I would follow Jesus, and I usually took Him for granted. It never dawned on me that I could do anything for Him.

Committed

Dogs also know where their food and care come from, but unlike sheep, their loyalty is not based entirely on having their needs met. A dog is often in the position to serve his master, as well. Dogs help firefighters and law enforcement officers save lives, help sheep herders round up the flock, or bring love and joy to patients in hospitals and nursing homes. Service dogs can guide the blind or alert a patient of a medical need. Even the average family dog can find ways to help, guarding the home, alerting the family when company comes, or just being there to hug after a bad day.

As I have matured in my relationship with Jesus, I desire to serve Him – not to get Him to love me, because I know He already does – but to express my love and gratitude. After all, He suffered and died to save my soul. Today I want to make Him smile.

Which creature are you?

Do you identify with the loyal dog, wholeheartedly serving your Master? Does His kingdom benefit from your ministry and mission? Or are you more of a little lamb, just staying close to your Shepherd, trusting Him for getting your needs met?

Trusting Jesus is a great thing, especially if you’re a new believer. We should all have that quality of complete trust, all of our lives.

But are you ready to take your devotion to the next level and explore ways He might work through you to accomplish His purposes? Are you ready to give back to Him – not to earn His favor, but to celebrate His love and share it with others?

Every morning the news headlines have terrifying stories from all different fronts. The problems are overwhelming. We may want to stick our heads in the sand and wish it all to just go away. But as I often say, while sticking your head in the sand might be an option, it leaves the rest of you pretty vulnerable!

So, while we can rest in knowing we are His beloved sheep, there comes a time to step out of the green pastures and still waters of our comfort zone and reach a world that is lost and dying. Our Shepherd renews and strengthen us for a reason. No one of us can solve the world’s problems, but that isn’t an excuse to do nothing. God can use each of us to make a difference to someone. The Church can’t afford to simply graze in the comfort of the pasture.

The world needs JESUS, and we need all hands on deck!

Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for being our Good Shepherd and for Your constant care for us, even before we knew You. Help us to grow spiritually, so that we can be all You created us to be, not only Your sheep, but Your servants. In Your name, amen.

Note to the curious: Maybe you aren’t even at the sheep stage yet. Maybe you’re just an energetic little squirrel, running aimlessly through life. Have you been keeping God at arms’ length, because the world has so many other things to occupy your mind? If so, maybe it’s time to finally get acquainted with the One who loves you so much that He died to give you life, and discover the reason He created you.

For more on this journey to true happiness, see the following posts:

45 thoughts on “The Mysterious, Morphing Me (Update)

  1. Thank you for sharing this again Annie, I don’t recall reading about it before but what with me losing more grey cells than I am gaining, that doesn’t surprise me! However, I do want to remember it because it speaks a lot of truth about the stages we can go through. Blessings to you and yours!

    Liked by 5 people

      1. Well that’s encouraging, maybe I have more grey cells left that I thought I did! I just want you to know Annie, how I find all that you share so encouraging and well grounded. You are a blessing! Love in Christ – Bruce

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Bless you, Bruce. That makes my day. I think a big part of our ministry as bloggers is to encourage one another, and you always encourage me. There is so much out there to DIScourage day after day. Keep up your good work, and thanks for being a “Barnabas”. πŸ˜‰

      Liked by 2 people

      1. You could search Jan Trabue on FB. She is a photographer. She has this little white squirrel that she photographs a lot. You should check it out. The pictures are so cute! The one I tried to send you is “MartyLou preaches at revival meeting”. Blessings, Annie!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Awe good post Annie!! I probably waver back and forth..lamb to dog and repeat….and my most likely reason is due to getting overwhelmed β€” I suppose because serving takes (like you said) commitment, it’s not the easy way out for sure!!
    I hope to do lots of reflecting on this post!!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thanks, Alicia, that means a lot. I think the best antidote for being overwhelmed is priorities – finding out what God really wants me to do. But sometimes I don’t take the time to find out, because I’m too busy running around trying to do it all. (There’s still a bit of squirrel in me yet … :/ )

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I love this Annie. I have never read or heard these three stages before but I kind of felt my own life stages of being a Christian in them. I think and hope I am in the dog stage right now but saying that there is also being consistent and committed when it is not easy and comfortable to continue to serve and share Jesus. So yes, although in the dog stage, I do not have it down pat.
    I absolutely love this post, made me reflect.
    Thank you Annie πŸŒΊπŸ’™.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. Ha! Good post. I sometimes think of myself as a dog in God’s kingdom. Dogs are faithful, affectionate, and always happy to see you, so in some ways dogs are much better behaved then most people! To make it even better, way back when being called a dog was an insult, but today dogs are very pampered, very protected. We aren’t so good at loving one another, but we all love dogs! God has been very good to me, very gracious, and I do feel as pampered as a prize poodle sometimes. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 5 people

  5. “The world needs JESUS, and we need all hands on deck!”

    Amen and Amen! Thank you, Annie, for this inspiring post. Yes! We must be loyal and faithful servants of the Lord, doing what he has called us to do, and the main thing is that we need to be sharing the gospel with the world around us so that they, too, can be saved from their sins and have new lives in Christ Jesus, “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Eph 4:24).

    Liked by 5 people

  6. I loved this and enjoyed every bit. When I start my day out early in the morning I would say Father God, help me to be what you created in me to the best of my ability.
    I’m of the committed loyal type. Loyalty is a rare characteristic this day and age. My husband is cut from the same cloth. Thanks for this wonderful message. ❀

    Liked by 4 people

  7. This is such an amazing post! And the dream you had! Wow! I do try to spend my days as both the sheep and the dog. I want to stay close to the Lord’s side, but I also want to serve Him for His honor and glory. I pray I can remove any squirrel tendencies in my life that do sneak in when I am feeling overwhelmed. Thanks! This made me think!

    Liked by 5 people

  8. This is an interesting explanation of our journey in Christ, the phases we go through makes it easier to gauge myself and where im at in my journey. For me i would say i had been through the squirrel, sheep to dog phase but due to my lack of vigilance i fell back from being a dog to being a sheep to be reminded how to truly trust in God. I just hope to one day get back to the dog phase.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. I think “sheep” is not a bad place to be in itself, just not as a permanent state. We all need to be reminded of our utmost dependence on our Shepherd, and after striving to serve Him (and, like yours truly, striving too hard at times) we sometimes need to get back to resting in Him before returning to the battle.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I loved this message so much that I decided to read this blog post during our family devotion I have with my parents and sisters every Sunday. It was very confrontational for me and made me realise that I need to work harder at being the dog and try to be less of a sheep. It’s something I’m planning on taking to God in prayer. I’m trying to focus more on listening to Jesus’ voice and following his words. It can be so tough sometimes.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you so much for sharing this, it really blesses me. I think we can go through dog days and sheep days. Serving the LORD wholeheartedly, we can still get tired, and I know God understands that. It’s probably why He created the Sabbath, so one day a week we can rest in Him and recharge by just spending time with our Shepherd. πŸ˜‰

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Hello, your comment reminded me about a book written by Elizabeth Elliott called ‘A Path Through Suffering’. I had no idea why I bought it at the time. I was at a Christian bookstore and felt an unction to buy it. I even told that to the cashier, and she said if I didn’t like it I could return it for a refund….well, I never returned it. I read it and it changed my life. Maybe you could check it out. God has a purpose and plan for everyone, and I’m sure you will enjoy her writing. God bless you and keep you. β€πŸ™πŸŒ·

    Liked by 1 person

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