Doggone It!

(Try This When Something is Dogging You)

God taught me a lesson today using dogs.

The dogs He showed me were varied. Some were big rough-looking dogs, some were little feisty dogs, and there were all types of medium-sized dogs. I realized the dogs represented problems, questions, thoughts, even ordinary daily stuff in our lives. Some of these dogs just get dumped off at our houses. Some have lived with us our whole lives. Others come and go. The nature of each of these dogs, however, is to demand all of our attention. We know dogs like that, right? In fact, all dogs are like that, it's just that some have learned who's boss and that they are required to be subject to the master of the house.

Now when we go to our quiet place to be alone with Jesus, all these dogs follow at our heels. We sit, close our eyes and seek to be still and know that He is God. What do the dogs do at this point? Often they run around our chair, they try to jump into our lap, they lick our face, they bark and growl and create enormous confusion. They want our attention and they want it NOW.

I have a friend who has a devoted little dog. This dog loves his mistress, but he knows who's boss. The living room is off limits. He'd better come when he's called. He doesn't jump on guests or act pesky.

Another friend also has a dog who loves her. He also knows who's boss. He is! He is always conquering new territory in her household. He can casually ignore her commands and be as intrusive and demanding as he chooses.

We just have to learn to have control over our anxious thoughts, problems and questions like my first friend has over her dog. Our "dogs" have to learn to sit quietly by our feet so we will not be distracted by them as we seek to enter God's presence. Then, as we enter His rest, Jesus Himself may address one of our problems. But He will decide which one. And because we are still and at rest with Him, we will be able to hear what He has to say.

Last week I had a day when all my dogs were running crazy. Actually I had been gradually letting them get out of hand for several days. That day I was chasing them around all over the place and all the while agonizing about how I couldn't get into God's presence.

Today, after seeing this picture of the dogs, I sat down and, as usual, the dogs started jumping up into my lap. Finally, after awhile of this, I said, "Enough!" (Dogs have to know you mean business.) And I was able, then, to be still.

Some people have very big dogs in their lives. The way to learn to control the big dogs is to practice on the little ones. Usually Jesus has let enough small and medium-sized dogs into our lives over the years that He can now trust us to take charge over the big ones and to make them sit obediently at our feet while we sit at His. Then there is this piece of good news: we must never forget that if our dogs just persist in ignoring our commands we always have Someone bigger we can ask to help us discipline them.