Admittedly, I'm not a dog person. I don't dislike them; I can even see how so many of you think they are so adorable. But I would definitely not be considered a dog lover, which is why I was surprised yesterday to find myself so endeared to a particular pup that the Lord really spoke loud and clear to me through. And no, I'm not going the same direction as the story of Balaam and his donkey in Numbers 22. Different kind of speaking here.
Meet Kat the dog. That's right, Kat the dog. Kat's owners have known my friend Erin for years, and while they were out of town this weekend, Erin had me and some others over to enjoy Kat's pool in this triple digit heat. As you can see, Kat has a slobbery death grip on a blue toy that she tried to drop in my lap more times than I care to remember. I think some dogs have a sixth sense that I'm not crazy about them so they seek me out to play more than other people. It's really uncanny.
Despite my inclinations to run from doggy drool, yesterday I decided to indulge Kat's penchant to play fetch. But there was one problem. Remember the slobbery death grip on the toy I mentioned? And can you see from the picture how Kat is straining to keep it in her custody? It can be quite challenging to play fetch with a dog that doesn't want to lose control of their prized possession.
Uh-oh. I think I'm making a connection here. Over the years, I've gained a lot of head knowledge about Who should be sovereign in my life. Who I need to trust with my little blue toys. With everything. I repeat through prayer and in time with others that I am "laying it all down at the foot of the cross." I'm not even sure what that even means as there hasn't been very much tangible evidence that I believe it is OK to do so.
Plain and simple, I am a control freak. I don't want God to have my little blue toys because I fear what He'll do with them. So we play tug-of-war back and forth. And when I make life about my stuff, plans, or goals, I miss the point all together. There is no fear in life when we strive to know Him and make Him known instead of getting stuck in the minutiae of decisions and belongings. But that may be a whole other blog post...
"Here you go", I say as I pretend I'm laying my hopes, dreams, and possessions down at His feet. "Do as you will with all that I have." But I often don't relinquish control even when those words are on my lips. Kat refused to let go of her toy, yet she still strangely stuck by my side with it as if to say, "I think I want you to have this so you can use it in a way that will make me have more fun, but I'm not sure I fully trust you. So I'll just hold onto it while you stand by. Let's just pretend that we're playing fetch."
I'm reminded of the rich young ruler in the Gospels. He was sad when Jesus told him to sell all he had. I get sad too when I think of what Luke 9:23 really means. But that is so messed up in light of eternity. I have this transactional view of God; if I come to Him and halfway give Him all I have (which, by definition, is impossible), I think that He will somehow honor the fact that I'm going through the motions, trusting Him with my salvation but not my time on earth.
Yesterday, Kat finally opened her mouth to disengage it from the toy and allow me control of it. When I threw it across the yard, that silly black dog had so much more elation in it than she did in the miserable time that she spent trying to keep it from me. When she gave up, she gave into life and joy.
I have spent so much unnecessary energy holding onto that which is meant to be in my Creator's hands. Thank you, sweet Kat, for holding up a mirror and allowing me to see myself as the inevitable loser in this tug-of-war battle.
Releasing my death grip one day at a time.