1/26/2006

A Stress Funk

I got myself all stressed out yesterday. I started thinking about the cost of all the doggy sundries I would have to buy.

I was thinking about things that haven't happened yet. I was setting up worlds and events in my imagination and forseeing the finances being eaten up by poor Sophia. "What if she needs more training than I can give her and she gets rebellious and tears things up? What if I can't afford to keep her? What if she needs so much attention that I never have any privacy ever again?!? This dog could ruin my LIFE!!"

Needless to say, worrying about the future is quite an exercise for the imagination. I do this exercise so often that I can bench press up to 20 years from now. It's not always doom that I fantasize about, but doom is the hardest to prepare for. Somehow, if I can't prepare for something efficiently then I opt not to do it. It's easier for me to just give up on something. Better to have thought it through, chosen sure success in smaller things, and reasoned myself out of any possible failure. Obviously I have a paralyzing fear of failure. It actually makes sense when the truth is this: I can do nothing apart from Jesus Christ. So where does my problem really lie? My trust in Jesus.

There is a time when you have to go with your heart and trust God to take care of your needs. My mind is saying, "You should save that money. What if you have an emergency?" My heart is saying, "Care for this dog as one of the family and she will teach you many things. God isn't going to punish you for wanting to learn more about love. Jesus said not to worry about means of living." I still want to be a responsible adult, but that means listening to my heart and the words of Jesus over my own reasoning. Yeah, I may pay for Sophia's company. But can you put a price on Wisdom?

I have lots of business to take care of today since I will be picking up the little girl pup tomorrow at 11am. There are preparations to be done! It is a joyful and merry day that the Lord has made! He blesses us with all the blessings of His love. Hallelujah and amen.

1/25/2006

To Bring Wisdom Home

Maybe it was a mistake to go to the shelter yesterday. I thought I'd just go and see if there were any exceptional dogs there that I might want to adopt. Why not take a gander?

Travelling down the highway I was an excited little girl going on a field trip. My mission: to explore God's mysterious domestic animal. When I opened the door to the kennel and the warm stink of dog rushed over me, I realized I was actually in a bit of danger. If you walk down that hall and look into those cages, I thought to myself, you may not leave with your heart intact. But curiosity and childlike giddiness pushed me forward into a sharp spray of barks that ricocheted off brick walls.

There is nothing as heart-breaking as the eyes of a shelter dog. Dozens of eyes pleaded with me, all belonging to pups that were desperate for attention. I reached the end of the kennels and I saw a black and tan face peering attentively up from a doggy bed. She stared at me to see if I was interested in meeting before she decided to get up. When I took a step toward her she immediately walked up and put her nose through the chain link. I thought at first she was a puppy since she seemed small for her breed. But her intelligent movements told me she wasn't a baby, maybe an adolescent. I looked at her information sheet and the first thing that popped out at me was "Sophia". Right away I remembered that Sophia means Wisdom. My heart softened just at the coincidence. How many times in the past two weeks have I asked for wisdom? Sophia put a paw up and flicked her tongue at me through the diamond fence wires. The info sheet said "2 year-old German Shepherd mix". I didn't see the German Shepherd at all. She was more like the size and shape of a small Border Collie with the coat and markings of a Rottweiler. She is the perfect size to fit through the doggy doors at the house, I thought, and she's so pretty. I was charmed.

"Oh! Look at you!" sang a woman in a nurses scrub standing next to me. She poked her fingers through the fence as I had done, "Hi baby! Your name is Sophia? Hi Sophia..."
"Her name means 'Wisdom'." I said, sounding as if she was mine. Truly, I sort of had dibs on her. I mean, I was there first.
"Wisdom," she said, "It's so true. We can learn so much from dogs. They all have such old souls." Uh huh, I thought, okee-dokey lady.
She continued,"I wish I could take them all home, but I work here too much."
I nodded courteously, relieved she wasn't shopping for pooches herself, and turned back to Sophia. "She's the perfect size." I said, "She'd fit right through the doggy door but she's not too small."
"Let's take her out for a walk!"

Sophia made lighting fast laps around the dog yard. It's like she knew her time to play was short and she had so much energy to expend. Once, she ran into my leg and didn't even flinch. Her eyes were so full of expression; there was no doubt of her joy. I just stared in amazement wondering how in the world one would train a dog like that. But her enthusiasm was contageous so I decided to spend more time with her.

I put her on hold until Friday at 5pm to have time make a decision on adopting her. I've started compiling articles to put in my own little doggy manual. The more I read, the more it sounds like practice for disciplining self and eventually children. Why else would God grant us lordship over such intelligent, loving creatures? I am still in prayer about the decision and I have until Friday to truly decide. I see the rewards and the drawbacks already, but it is nothing compared to what a baby would be. She is already full grown, house-trained, and reportedly great with small children. I would have to get outside my own head and care for the needs of another being. I will have to compile a gruelling list of pros and cons for myself. Oh, the handicap of being intellectual! So much deliberation!!

1/03/2006

God Humbles His Bullies

I got into a religious email debate with a non-believing friend and I didn't hold back. I showed her what I knew and showed myself that I could argue anyone down. She said I was being disrespectful and I said she was too sensitive. Then at the end she said, "I can take it, can you?" and somehow that gave me permission to throw any restraint to the wind. I told her what I thought of her mind games and her flair for guilt trips. And I refused to feel bad for doing "nothing wrong". I said my goodbyes and felt like the high and mighty intellect that I was.

What happened was remarkably similar to an experience I had as a little girl. I was friends with a neighbor who was bigger than me but a lot more fearful. She basically hung out with me because I was so strong-willed. One day it occured to me that I was stronger than she was. I placed demands on her until finally she refused to obey me. So I slapped her across the face as hard as I could. She burst into tears and told her mommy who in turn told my daddy. He met me on the sidewalk and knelt down to talk to me. He wasn't very mad but he took his big hand and covered the side of my face, pushing it almost in slow motion. It didn't hurt at all, it was more of a warm push than anything. But it scared me because I thought he hated me and that he didn't want to be my daddy anymore. I screamed into tears. He grabbed me quickly and held me against his chest and pet my head, "I love you, Diana. I just wanted you to see what it felt like to get slapped. It's not nice is it?" I sobbed, "Nooo..." And that's how my daddy taught me not to hit others.

This is how God has taught me not to hit people with my words. I am now nine years old in the faith and as much of a brat as I was in my earthly youth. My "lost" friend, who had looked to me for comfort and encouragement was suddenly confronted with my childish realization of power. I had the truth and she did not. So I felt I should bestow the truth upon her and she must accept it. Well, she refused and there was a struggle. Though she is taller than me, I am stronger-willed than she is and I slapped her as hard as I could. The slap came in the form of taking the insights I had once used to give her loving reflection and use them instead as shards of a mirror to stab her with. No one had to tattle on me this time. My Father saw everything. When I was at the height of pride in believing I had done no wrong; thinking in fact that my Father would reward me for my fierce intellectual 'zeal', He knelt down and slapped me softly across the face. The big, warm hand almost caressing my cheek as He pushed it. He wasn't mad and He didn't intend to harm me. But the illustration was clear and I realized what I had done. His grace and kindness enveloped me and broke me down. God whispered to me why I shouldn't hit others, "It's not nice, is it?" My pride melted away from me in salty tears...


The moral of this story is: I have had knowledge without wisdom and truth without love.
I have been an arrogant speaker of words, changing comfort into criticism.
I have been a revelator without thought of others, other than putting vaulted expectations on them.
I have been a seeker with a finders keepers attitude, gloating over my treasures without realizing that they aren't mine to gloat over.
I have tasted the pride of the Pharisee and the rank words of the Quarrelsome Wife of Proverbs.
I did the foolish thing of making the Bible say what I wanted it to say to excuse my actions. I didn't go to the Bible with a desire to see my wretchedness, I went to it only to see where I was holy.
I lifted myself up and God, in His mercy showed me my sin.
Sin's not nice, now is it?
Thank You, Lord for taking me into Your arms and reminding me that You are my Father. I am Your child and it hurts me to see my sin. Against You and You only have I sinned. You forgive me and hold me in Your arms until my feelings of guilt subside. Please don't let me forget this precious lesson, Lord. AMEN.

1/02/2006

No Fear

I am determined to enjoy my life. No more waiting for that devastation that seems to be lurking around every corner. Time and again I skulk around it and (NEWS FLASH!) there's nothing there. Does that mean I walk in blissful oblivion? Not even. But unless I stop thinking about the horrors that could be (e.g. gunshot wounds, deadly cancer, nobody loves me, car crashes, boat accidents, the list is infinite and consuming) I will never actually get to experience reality. And what a beautiful reality this is! I have been blessed so much and instead of being scared God will take it away from me, I am going to say, "Thanks Father. I will enjoy this gift and learn what you want me to know. Whatever you give to me, whatever you take away, it's all good because I trust in You."

I have been such a paranoid freak! Expecting God to bring me pain and devastation so much that I almost want it because I've thought about it so much. Yeesh! Now I am determined to remind my sick head that the reality is: God is in control. He gives and takes away. And I can be sure that whatever happens to me that is beyond my control is still within His control. He will never leave me to deal with anything alone. I can rest assured again.