THE NEW EWE

"What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!'"

Luke 15:4-6

August 19, 2009

LIFE IN THE FOLD:

I admit that I enjoy being on Facebook. I have made contact with people I attended high school with, former pastor's wives, and many whom I'd lost touch with over the years. I am "Facebook Friends" with several family members that I don't get to see very often, and it's a way to keep up with what's going on in their lives, and see pictures of their kids. I've been able to catch up with a lot of old classmates and friends, and found out what they've been up to for the past 25-plus years. It's been fun and a good way of reconnecting once again; and also a nice way of staying connected with family.

On Facebook, people who have accounts, are able to post profile comments. Most people use this space to share what they're doing or have done that day, family news updates, and even scriptures or an inspirational thought. All that is fine with me; and for the most part, I enjoy reading what is written.

On the other hand, there are those who seem to feel that they have to share their every thought or every little happening in their life all day long! It seems like every couple hours they post new comments, and most of it is really mundane and unnecessary. I'll usually check status updates on my home page once or twice a day to see what's new and exciting with my "friends". Some days you will see the same person writing comments over and over again, all day long. They have the right to publish whatever they want, but I tend to roll my eyes and think, "Good grief! I really don't care!!"

Someone ticks them off or says something they don't like and they write about it; they're driving down the road and someone tailgates or it starts raining and they write about it; they'll write about what they're watching on TV or what music they're listening to; and on and on. I don't mind necessarily if they publish something about that once or twice; but please, not over and over again all day long! I like staying connected, but don't want to know every single detail about someone's day. And I sure don't care to know what all they're thinking!

There seem to be those individuals who think that everyone is interested in their every thought and every action. I'm of the opinion that not everything in your life needs to be shared with others! And if you share too much, people are either going to stop listening; or else, they will write you off as an attention seeker or whiner.

Some seem to think that everything that happens is "all about them". They become so wrapped up in themselves that they think everyone else is focusing on them too. And we can all do that to a certain extent, but some carry it to extremes and go overboard. But they also are the ones, most often, who would emphatically deny it and not see it in themselves.

I once had a friend who was like that. On one particular occasion, I had ridden to Walmart with her, and she was pulling into a parking space. We were talking and I really wasn't paying that much attention. All of a sudden she became very defensive and her hackles were raised. She said, "Did you see that woman give me a dirty look?" I looked around to see who she was talking about. There was a woman in the vehicle next to us, and my friend was convinced that she had been giving a dirty look - whatever that may have been. I asked if it was someone she knew; and it wasn't.

It was sunny out, and the woman may have looked over to make sure we were parked before going into reverse, and was squinting against the sunlight. She may have been thinking that her Walmart bill came to a lot more than what she had thought and was trying to figure out if she had been overcharged. Perhaps she had forgotten something and was wondering whether she wanted to go back in to get it or just forget it. Whatever it was, I'm sure that whatever was on her mind had nothing to do with the lady I was with. But in my friend's mind, she was completely convinced that the other driver had some vendetta against her and had given her a dirty look; and she didn't want to get out of the car until the other vehicle had pulled off and left. I was sitting there thinking, "Okay, this is just absolutely crazy!"

It's easy to sit back and judge others for their rantings and ravings. Or we may criticize others for being too vocal about things or too open about sharing what's on their mind. But I'm pretty positive that each of us have spoken out of turn or said things that shouldn't have been voiced. Afterwards we will think back on it and regret what we said, and realize that we spoke too quickly, or said things that should have been kept confidential or was really not anyone's business to hear.

I find myself doing that when I'm trying to be sympathetic to another person's situation. In my attempt to empathize, I give illustrations from situations I've faced or things that have been said or done to me, and end up revealing things that really shouldn't have been shared. I give opinions about people and circumstances that are really none of my concern, and I have no right to get involved in the middle of the situation.

Recently during my morning devotions, I randomly opened my Bible and started reading. It happened to be Proverbs chapter 29. I was casually reading along when all of a sudden verse 11 jumped out at me and hit me right between the eyes. I've read through Proverbs several times over the years, but this verse had never really caught my attention. Apparently, I was needing to read it that morning! I was convicted and had to do some repenting.

Proverbs 29:11 says, "A fool vents all his feelings, but a wise man holds them back."

How many times in my life have I spoken foolishly by venting all my feelings? In anger or frustration or some other emotion, I would tell others what I was thinking and feeling. Honestly, they didn't need to know; and more than likely, probably really didn't care to hear about it.

There are times when we may become upset and vent our feelings to our spouse or a close friend. We don't necessarily have to hold all our feelings inside. But the key word here in this scripture is "all". It says a fool vents "ALL his feelings". Our mouth does not have to be an outlet for every feeling and emotion we have; regardless of who we're talking to.

And we need to be careful who we vent to. For instance if we become upset about a church situation, the best person to vent to is not someone who is struggling in their faith. We need to use more discernment at times in what we say to whom.

It made me aware of the fact that I need to practice being a wise person by holding back some of my feelings. I need to think before I speak so that I don't regret it later. You can always speak words later after thinking about it, but you can never take them back.

My prayer is that God would help me to become a wise woman; who knows when to speak and when to keep silent. I don't want to be considered a fool who doesn't know when to keep her mouth shut. I'm not there yet, but I'm working on it!

May we each be more conscientious about our words, and become wise men and women of God.

JON'S PERSPECTIVE:

Today, on the way to lunch, someone aggravated me in traffic. I looked forward to an opportunity to rant about it to someone. I didn't get the chance, and quickly forgot about it. But that's fine.

An old adage comes to mind: "Misery loves company." It sometimes even feels relaxing to share our negative feelings, especially when we get sympathy back. On the other hand, how does it affect the ones we rant to? Negativity spreads like a disease. It can take a long time to run its course. It can be passed from one person to another, then back several times. Some people are more resistant, especially if they are healthy and strong. Some of the best medicines I've found are some of the Psalms (about half of them are very positive), and the gospels.

ON THE MENEWE:

Hawaiian Pie

1 large can crushed pineapple

1 pkg. orange jello

1 small can cherries, drained

1 1/4 cup sugar

1 cut nuts

1/4 cup flour

5 firm bananas, sliced

2 baked 9-inch pie shells

Put pineapple, sugar and flour in a small pan and cook until it comes to a boil; remove from stovetop. Add cherries and dry jello to hot mixture. Let cool 10 minutes. Add bananas and nuts; cool. Pour into pie shells and refrigerate until set. Serve with Cool Whip.

LAMB TALES:

Growing up, one of my cousins and his family lived in the house closest to us. He had two small boys who were a little younger than me. Kevin and I would play together quite often, but we really didn't like it when we had to play with his younger brother, Nicky. When Kevin and I were 4 and 5 years old, Nicky was only 3. He would follow us around and want to play with us. We'd usually try to run off and hide from him. We thought he was just a big cry baby and didn't think he was any fun at all. Of course, he probably did cry a lot because we were mean to him so he wouldn't want to play with us.

One time we were at my house and were going to play cowboys and indians. Usually when Kevin and I played that, we'd take turns on who was the cowboy and who was the indian. Since Nicky had to play with us, we told him that we were going to be the cowboys and he had to be the indian. He was dark complected, so we told him that he looked more like an indian than we did, because we both had light skin. Of course, he wanted to be whatever we were and didn't want to be an indian. I'm not sure what we said or did, but ended up making him cry (again).

He didn't come down very often with Kevin, but a lot of times when he did, Mama would take pity on us and would keep Nicky in the house with her and let us play. Actually, I don't know if it was pity she had on us or on Nicky! She may have known that we'd end up running off and making him cry, and figured keeping him with her was the lesser of two evils.

THOUGHT TO PONDER:

Life is both too short and too long to hate.

How do most people so quickly ask God for forgiveness when they are so slow to give it to others;

and why do we fear judgement when we are so quick to judge? (A thought from a Facebook friend)

OUR HEARTFELT THANKS TO YOU:

We hope you all are having an enjoyable summer.

We love you!

Loretta & Jon

E-Mail: shepherd@grayengineers.com

http://www.graysheep.org