By Kristi Holl
2020 has been a long year for me, as for most people. Nearly eight months of isolation, a Covid-19 death in the family, and illness left me in need of rest at a time I wanted to make headway on my work-in-progress. I craved the Good Shepherd’s renewal of “lying down in green pastures,” but could not relax and rest. Why not? I prayed and hunted for answers. Solutions were revealed while researching Yorkshire Dales sheep for my WIP. Not surprising, really, since humans are truly “the sheep of His pasture.”
- Timid sheep refuse to lie down and rest unless they are free from all fear of predators. Depending on the country, this can range from foxes and wolves, to mountain lions and bears.
- Because of the social behavior within a flock, sheep will not lie down to rest unless they are free from friction with other sheep. Like chickens’ pecking order, sheep have a butting order. Older ewes and aggressive rams bully others and keep a flock stirred up.
- If plagued by flies or parasites, sheep cannot lie down and rest. Only when free from tormenting pests can they relax.
- Sheep will not lie down and rest when hungry. They must free from hunger.
Modern-day shepherds say a flock that is restless, discontented, always agitated and disturbed, never does well. And as 2020 has proven, the same is true of people, including believers. But that’s a thorough list of needs that must be met before rest can be attained. Is rest ever possible then?
The Same Four Reasons (People-Style)
- While few people these days lose sleep worrying about mountain lions or foxes, we have our own fears that keep us agitated: instability in the country, the pandemic “second wave,” people out of work, and loneliness. Any of those can keep us too distressed to rest.
- People have their own pecking order power struggles, both at home and on the job. Not everyone wants to be cooperative equals. When others are controlling and demanding, a person feels a need to push back or defend himself. It is exhausting to always be on guard.
- People pests are just as real, just as biting, just as energy-draining as any animal parasite. Battling human pests leaves you exhausted, and yet unable to relax.
- Most people are free from food hunger in this country, but they often hunger for other things that keep them yearning and unable to find contented rest.
The Sheep of His Pasture
So, what is the answer to finding rest? Ironically, it’s the same for both sheep and people. To be at rest, sheep must feel a definite sense of freedom from fear, tension, aggravations, and hunger. And only the shepherd himself can provide release from these anxieties.
When he arrives on the scene, the sheep know instinctively that all is well. And the sheep who stay closest to the shepherd are the safest from any kind of predator attack. The shepherd’s presence makes it possible for them to lie down, to rest, to relax, and to be content.
No wonder the Bible compares people to sheep when looking for true renewing rest. In these times attacks come at us from all sides and steal the peace we writers need to be co-creators with God. So, it is crucial that we stay close to the Good Shepherd, from sun-up to sundown. Let that be your priority, so you can truly rest in green pastures. It’s from such a place that we can co-create with our Creator and produce our best writing.Want rest and renewal? Four reasons to stay close to the Good Shepherd. @KristiHoll #ACFWBlogs #writingencouragement #ACFWCommunity Click To Tweet
Kristi Holl has fifty-six traditionally published books with both Christian and mainstream publishers: forty-six juvenile books, two books for writers, and eight novels for adults. One of her historical mysteries, A Dangerous Tide, features Jane Austen and is housed in Jane Austen’s House Museum in Chawton, England.