As adults we often carry a lot of responsibility. Some of us work in places with lots of stress and high pressure – be it at home caring for family, or beyond. We encounter pain and suffering either first hand or in the lives of those close to us and we carry the burdens. And then there are the difficult questions which we feel as Christians we ‘ought’ to be able to answer, and sometimes, there just aren’t any sensible things to say.

I’ve been having great fun preparing for the workshop on Psalm 23. Like any good preacher, before sharing my thoughts and ideas with others, I’ve been asking the question: what does this mean for me? As you saw in the last blogpost, I started to think about whether we should really be discarding the cartoon sheep from Sunday school when coming to the Psalm as adults. The more I‘ve thought about those cartoon sheep, the more I’ve realised how much they have to teach me.

I’ve been struck lately by how important it is to have ‘time off’ from all of this. For me, part of this is making a pile of cartoon sheep and enjoying their emerging ‘personalities’ and seeing the humorous irony in it all. Those sort of googley-eyed sheep remind me that I need to not take myself too seriously. I need to ensure there are places where I don’t have to have it all sorted – where there are spaces for a good laugh and a bit of prancing (see previous blogpost!) Where is the space for the inner sheep?

Alongside being real, and self-reflective, we need times when we are not taking ourselves too seriously – ‘time off’ from being a highly competent human being. In other words we need safe places to rest and play and have a little dance (or whatever your equivalent may be) if necessary.

Yesterday I had coffee with a friend. In amongst the serious work-related conversation we had a good laugh and acknowledged that some of the most difficult scenarios have their humorous side. The sheep were out in force!

Our family are great fans of Shaun the Sheep (Aardman Animations) and thinking about it, my sheep in the Psalm 23 kits are probably closely based on him. They certainly look a little bit similar. Shaun the sheep is mischievous and funny, and often appears to be rather out of control, but beneath that he is a very canny character who often saves the day and is actually the one who knows what’s what. My inner sheep can relate to all of that.

We have a God who made laughter and puffins. And he made sheep. They are not always the most intelligent animals. They are not always on the most direct track. At times they can jump and skitter for no apparent reason. Through it all is the Good shepherd, loving us and watching over us. He knows all our deepest needs: for strength and skill and time off from all of that. Perhaps, on the odd occasion, we need to give ourselves permission to let loose our inner sheep!

Video: Making kits and thinking about sheep

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Have you found your inner sheep?

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