I'm a slllllooooow learner.

For so long I've been caught up in the task of pleasing God. It's hard, time-consuming work and to be honest, oftentimes it's not enjoyable.

And I've felt there was something missing because every now and then, I wasn't so focused on the work. My eyes were looking up and the work was somehow still getting done, but I had joy...until the next day, when I'd look all around and see the tasks to be done and dive back in again.

I understand grace. It's just that sometimes, I feel a sense of duty to make that grace worthwhile.

But I've been reading this book. It's not new; it's been around almost half a century, but it's put into words what I've felt deep in my soul for a long time.

It's written by a shepherd, and is about the Good Shepherd and His sheep. I'm coming to understand more and more why the Bible is filled with analogies about sheep and shepherds, and all things wooly. I'm growing to realize that when my eyes are fixed on my Shepherd, I don't have to worry about all the tasks. He leads me through them, but it's not that I'm doing them because I've decided that's the way. I have to let Him decide the way, and just walk in faith, trusting that He is The Way. They are no longer a chore, but rather time spent with my Shepherd, and I delight in Him as I do them. I love these words by Philip Keller:
The focus of my attention has been shifted away from myself to my Shepherd. The movement of my soul has been brought to Him for direction rather than left in the dilemma of my own decision making. The responsibility for my activities has been placed squarely in His care and taken out of my hands. This means subjecting my will to His wishes, but therein lies my rest and relief from my own stressful way of life.

Such people, our Lord said, would go in and out freely and find pasture.
Life is becoming more joyful. Days are more filled with conversation with my Good Shepherd, and are being drained of joyless tasks - even though what I do each day isn't really changing.

I'm a slow learner. Often I turn away from my Shepherd, drawn away by thieves and robbers made up of worries of the world, gluttony, my own emotions, and the list goes on. But He always comes after me to bring me back. And I'm blessed to know that I'm a growing and changing 30-year-old sheep.