We are sheep first, shepherds second.
Sheep who are unwilling to be shepherded can get lost. Lost sheep make for poor shepherds.
Let’s put that another way.
Debriefers who do not seek out being debriefed are not the best debriefers.
Pastors who are unwilling to be pastored by another make for poor pastors, or at least not the best pastor they could be.
We are sheep first, shepherds second. As we experience receiving from others, we are postured to extend to others.
We Shepherd out of our Sheep-ness.
Its our identity as adopted sons and daughters in utter dependency on God from which we relate to others. Yet, all of us, to some degree, have misshapen identities. Our identities are always in the process of being redeemed, i.e. reshaped and reoriented.
We shepherd out of our sheep-ness.
If it sounds messy, well it is.
Receive First, Then Give
Too many of us in care giving roles are far, far more comfortable being the giver than the receiver. It is what we receive from Jesus that we extend to others.
Being dependent on God is, in part, manifested in being dependent on others.
Another metaphor: we are all beggars for bread and the bread I share with you is not of my own creation – another gave it to me.
Who are Your Caregivers?
Who is your pastor?
Who is your spiritual director?
Who is you coach or mentor?
Who is your counselor?
Who is your debriefer?
How often are you meeting with these ones in a vulnerable, receptive posture? Be very specific; it might not be as often as we imagine.
We can only lead sheep to pastures we know well. If we hang out in the pasture called “I care for myself,” guess where we will lead the sheep?
I must never think I am above the care that I provide for others.
Unshepherded shepherds beware.