I have enjoyed slowing down over the last few days, enjoying my family and some quieter moments on my own. Iâ€™ve enjoyed some reading and some long walks with Sara and the dogs and some of our other family in the woods near my parentsâ€™ home and in our neighborhood.
Sheba is our newest dog. Sheâ€™s a lop-eared Shepherd/Lab cross with an exuberant spiritâ€”sometimes too exuberant. Even though she has severe dysplasia in her hips and has pain from time to time she is the happiest dog we have ever owned. Sheâ€™s not real bright, but she is always smiling, always ready to do something fun and a joy to be around. Well, most of the time.
The thing I hate most to do with this dog is take her for a walk. Weâ€™re trying to teach her not to pull on the lead, but simply walk along with us. Even though weâ€™ve got one of those 16-foot retractable leashes, she constantly strains to get beyond it. Itâ€™s as if she canâ€™t wait to get to the next place. But when she gets there she is already trying to get to the next one. Itâ€™s nuts, really. She canâ€™t enjoy any place she is at the moment, because sheâ€™s always trying to get somewhere else. And if she spots another dog, itâ€™s all over. She wonâ€™t listen to reason at all until the dog is out of sight.
As I grew impatient with her last night on a long walk with Sara, calling Sheba back again and again and again from pulling on the lead, I realized she is more like me than I care to admit. Only in the last few years have I begun to learn to live contentedly in Fatherâ€™s work in my life. Most of my spiritual life I have strained against Jesusâ€™ presence in my life. I have always tried to push him on to something else instead of staying in the moment with him, knowing that he is taking me on in his time, not mine.
It made me think how much more fun it would be to walk with Sheba if she stayed alongside me. Her constant straining against the lead and pulling at my arm gets tiresome and frustrating. I wonder if thatâ€™s been true for Jesus in my walk with him. I sense somehow that though he is patient with our impatience, he is indeed blessed when we learn to trust him enough not to pull him where we want to go, but to find contentedness by just being with him wherever he wants to take us.
And I wonder if thatâ€™s what David was thinking when he wrote: â€œI will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you. Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you.â€ Psalm 32:8-9
Contentedness is a great gift in this kingdom. It isnâ€™t the same as complacency. It is going on with him, but allowing him to set that agenda, not trying to control it ourselves. I would love to come to the place where he needs no leash with me because Iâ€™m never further than a few feet from