Don’t Just Follow Your Heart
We hear a lot these days about following our heart, don’t listen to the ‘haters.’ don’t let anyone tell you want you can’t do, you are your own best guide, etc. I fear, however, the, as Admiral Ackbar so eloquently put it, “It’s a trap!”
While I appreciate that we should not allow ourselves to simply to led about by whoever happens to be nearby, or screaming the loudest, none of us is an island and none functions well isolated from others.
I’m not smart enough. I don’t know everything. I don’t see all the angles. I don’t have all the experience. That’s not poor self-image or lack of confidence, it is simply a sober assessment of the facts. God did not create us for solitary living or solitary decision making. He made us for community and, frankly, we need it!
Both the Old Testament lesson from Jeremiah and the Gospel lesson from Mark speak of what happens to us when we are shepherdless, or worse, when the shepherd is false (links to both lessons are below). The assumption in both cases is that we need that community of other sheep around us and we have trustworthy shepherds keeping us together and pointing to water and good pastures.
I’m not saying that everyone simply listens to the shepherd either — I, for one, do not want that responsibility. At a church I was a member of for several years before I was ordained, the running joke was that the rector had a plan for everyone’s life. In fact, we would say, “Jesus loves you and John has a wonderful plan for your life!” That is not what I am encouraging.
Ultimately, many of life’s major decisions come down to the individual. But that doesn’t mean we must bear the burden alone. God has placed us in community. There is more wisdom and experience there than we can very get on our own. Take advantage!
This column first appeared in the July 22, 2018 issue of St. John’s eNews. Click here for the complete issue.
If you are reading this at a different time, you may click here for the current eNews.