sorry, I’m not sorry.

As-salam alaykom! [that’s “hello, peace be upon you” in Arabic. Hopefully google has that spelled out correctly. If not, please do not be offended by my ability to speak about 4 Arabic words.]

I was 30,000 feet in the air flying from one country to another, I had a whole row to myself on the plane, and I captured some legit pictures from the sky. My mind was in a million places trying to figure out where to even begin talking to God. “Do I start with trying to figure out my next steps in life or do I just start with asking him what he thinks about me?” (My times with God while I was in the Middle East were full of questions and statements of concern.)

Thankfully, I asked God what he thought of me, what he had to say to my heart.
Thankfully.
John 10:27-30 says:

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”

“Cait, you are my sheep. You hear me. You know me. You follow me. In me, you are secure and safe. Although you have no clue what your next steps look like, you are equipped to not only follow me, but you are safe to risk alongside of me.”

I rejoiced in what God had spoken and doodled a picture of a sheep. Little did I know that God had a deep challenge he wanted to place in my heart. I tried to move on, asking God another question, but God made it clear he had more to say.
As I meditated on sheep and shepherds I recalled facts I knew about sheep:

1. They are unable to do anything without a shepherd leading them, feeding them, protecting them.
2. They move in packs. It’s a death sentence if they are ever alone.
3. The story of the lost sheep in Luke 15.
4. Sheep follow the shepherd. No questions asked. They just do.

God had just told me that I was a sheep: now, what do sheep do that I do not do? Where does my heart not align with being a sheep of the greatest shepherd in the history of all time? It was then that I realized how rebellious my little heart had become towards following Jesus. I’ve been believing this lie all year that says “God is going to sell me short. God leads me places and gives me the short end of the stick.” That belief caused me to hold God at an arms length and to be hesitant in just saying yes to wherever he wanted to lead. I had placed people’s reactions to decisions above what God was speaking about them and I had taken many circumstances into my own hands to just figure it out, make it out alive. After about an hour of repenting and laying my life back on the alter before God, once again, God spoke.

“Sheep follow the shepherd unapologetically.”

{{Unapologetic: adj: not acknowledging or expressing regret}}

A question followed: “Caitlin, do you really believe that you are my sheep? Safe. Protected. Fought for.”

My answer led my heart to be undone, and my answer was not my answer, but the Holy Spirit inside of me speaking: “Yes, God. I believe that I am your sheep. Would you teach me how to follow you unapologetically; To not turn back with regret and fear, but to risk it all to follow you and be with you? I lay all that I am at your feet, trusting that you withhold no good thing from me, believing that you make rough places smooth before me.” After I answered, my heart came alive with a new and fresh resolve to follow Jesus.

It was in the sky, flying over the middle east, that I came alive, once again, to the radical, crazy, fun, challenging adventure of following Jesus. I realized that my life, from the outside, does not make a lot of sense. I spent 9 months in a discipleship school and working part time AFTER I graduated college. I took a month off of work to go to the Middle East to love God and love people. I came back to America and quit my job without another job fully lined up because God spoke “Go for it.” My life is risky and crazy. My life is rewarding and sweet. My life is full–full of protection, love, celebration, and direction from heaven.

I have resolved to be an unapologetic follower of Jesus.
If God says go, I’m going to go. If he says stay, I’m going to stay.
So I’m sorry I’m not sorry in advance for the nerves you may feel, the worry you may face, or the risks you might take in loving me. But if you are one of the people who carry me deeply, I thank you, in advance, for letting me be unapologetic in my pursuit of Jesus, for putting your heart on the line for me, for supporting me when the world goes dark. You are the real heroes. And Jesus, well he is the really good shepherd.

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