A couple of weeks ago, my mom, Kerah, Bekah, and I were heading back to the house from the barn. On our way there, Kerah spotted a lone baby goat who had wandered away from its mother and the rest of the herd. This baby goat was screaming from the top of its lungs and running back toward its pen, but the pen was empty. His mother and the rest of the herd were back in the pasture grazing where they had been left that morning. The baby was now completely alone and too far away to be able to call his mother. We stopped the car, and I got out just as the baby goat turned his head to us. I told the baby, “You’re not where you’re supposed to be.”
To which he replied, “BAAAAAAAH!” and for those of you who do not speak baby goat, translates to, “Yeah, you don’t say!” Then he ran up to me and happily climbed into my arms as I carried him back to the car and then to his mother. Now I’ll be the first to admit that baby goats in cars are a new one for me, and I certainly did not expect the little fart to lay down and immediately put its head in my lap as soon as we got in the car. If you know anything about goats, or at least babies in general, they are notorious for not being cooperative, so what on earth was going on?
First and foremost, that baby goat realized how much it needed help. He was lost and all alone, and in that moment, what was most important to him was that he knew that he was with someone who was going to help him and take care of him. In John 10:4-5, John speaks of the shepherd with his flock saying, “When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.”
There are several instances in the Bible where believers are referred to as sheep: when we’re lost, when we stray away, or when we just flat out are going through life looking for a place to die. But sometimes, we, as Christians, are even worse than the sheep. That little baby goat knew that it needed help, so he ran to the person that he knew was going to help him. However, we, on the other hand, hate to admit that we need help, that we messed up, or that we’re not capable of figuring things out on our own. Then when we finally do admit that, “mmmm, maybe I don’t got this,” we’re embarrassed and too arrogant to turn to the only person who can take care of us.
I spent several years in a relationship that I knew wasn’t good for me, but I didn’t want to admit it. I was horribly insecure and found what I determined to be “worth” in having a boyfriend. For the first time in my life, I felt normal and in turn, valuable and lovable. For a while, things were good, we got along, he was a nice guy, and I was elated to have been chosen by someone.
Then there was just this uneasiness and I did everything I could to force it to the back of my mind. There would be something here or something there that would make me stop and go, “Well I really don’t like that but…” and there was always a but. That uneasiness was God tapping me on the shoulder going, “Hey kid, you’re not where you’re supposed to be.”
To which I would reply, “I can’t hear you!” all the while covering my ears and screaming, “La la la la la!” Then I would begin the process of convincing myself that, well maybe that wasn’t from God, maybe He just wants me to change something, maybe this is a test! News flash not one of those statements was true, but I kept trucking along doing my own thing. And deep down, I knew I was doing my own thing.
The little red flags turned into red billboards, but I was still too stubborn to admit that not only did I, in fact, not have everything under control, but I was also deliberately disobeying God. My scapegoat towards the end of the relationship was that it wasn’t always like this, but it had been that way too long for it just to be a misstep. That uneasiness or God tapping me on the shoulder had been there for too long for it to just be going away one day. Over and over again, I told myself that I could fix this, I can handle it, eventually I’ll be able to make this work. And still, God was tapping me on the shoulder, telling me, “You’re not where you’re supposed to be.”
The entire time that I was telling myself that this was nothing, I can fix this, I was too embarrassed to admit what I already knew. I was embarrassed to admit that I had picked the wrong guy. I was embarrassed to admit that I had stayed in an unhealthy situation so much longer than I should have. I was embarrassed to admit that I had heard God, and I just wasn’t listening.
Growing up I thought that all boys had cooties like any reasonable little girl should. It wasn’t until I began to feel like I was less than or different from the comments of other girls at school that I began to search for that acceptance and approval in a relationship. This guy happened to be the first to make me “feel” like I was lovable. There was really no critical look beyond what I felt. I thought he was the right guy solely because of feelings.
I also wasn’t raised to take crap from anyone, I knew what it was like to be treated like a door mat when I was younger, and I certainly wasn’t going to tolerate that ever again. But I did. And for me, that’s devastating. My desire for acceptance, the idea of “love” and “value” outweighed my desire for respect and genuine Christ-like love. I was okay with the way I was being treated, because I thought that it was better than being alone. Eventually, if I could just wait it out things would change.
I could hear God, and Jesus was throwing his sandal at the back of my head trying to get me to listen. I was the little goat chasing its tail, running in the opposite direction just hoping that either God didn’t catch me, or the consequences of my actions didn’t catch me. Then I got caught.
By His grace alone, it was God who caught me, and I didn’t continue down the path I was already walking. God removed me from that relationship, and at first, I screamed like a little goat. I was sad because nobody likes to be rejected, but there was also the peace of finally being where God wanted me to be. After I got past the initial hurt, I was able to see everything without the rose-tinted glasses and it brought me to the realization that I really wasn’t where I was supposed to be. And it literally took God removing me from the situation; otherwise, with where I was at, I never would have left.
While I know that everything that has happened in my life was for a purpose like it says in Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” There isn’t a day that I don’t wish I had been like the little goat that came running up to me, because he knew he needed help. I wish I had listened to God the first time, I wish I had come to Him for my source of value instead of a guy, I wish I had trusted in His plan and purpose over mine, and I wish I had just simply come to Him and said, “God, I really need your help, I’m scared.” God gave me a second chance and let me see what it was like to do things my own way.
Instead of trying to make everything work in your life, understand that a shepherd doesn’t expect his sheep to get from point A to point B all on their own. He leads them and is right there with them. What we have to do though, is reach out to Him. Look in James 4:8 where it says, “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”
That little goat I had didn’t beeline it in the other direction. He was more than happy to accept the help. For us to accept God’s help, we have to be willing to admit that we need help. When God formed us in the womb, He knew every little detail about us: our eye color, our hair color, and even the mistakes that we were going to make. He never expected us to be perfect.
Every day, I try to be like that little goat and tell God when I need His help. It takes me really chipping away at the sense of control, arrogance, and perfectionism that I hold onto. I constantly have to remind myself of verses like Psalm 139:14, 2 Corinthians 5:17, and Philippians 4:13. (The emphasis is on through HIM, not myself) Then I try to simply talk with and be close to God as much as I can so that I can have that familiarity when I do come to Him for help. It isn’t easy, and it takes a lot of hard work. But I know that He is with me and guiding me through the process.
— Written by Michaela