Twelve years ago, hubby and I rescued a mutt. He had been beaten by his prior owner and abandoned when the guy was evicted. A friend had taken him in, but couldn’t keep him because they were already at capacity with pets. He quickly stole my heart. He came with a lot of baggage though. He was afraid of hubby, would flinch at the sight of a belt, was afraid to go outside, and cried constantly as he walked around the house. With some basic training, consistent expectations and LOTS of love…he is what I would consider the most perfect dog ever! I can count on him to listen and obey…I can count on him to lay down away from the dinner table when we eat…I can count on him to stop in his tracks if I drop the leash…I can count on a snuggle and a kiss and he knows with all confidence that he will be fed and treated well in our home.
A few weeks ago, we completed the process of adopting another mutt from a rescue. Hubby and I have done this before…it’s a cake walk. Right? There is one thing that we didn’t count on…KIDS. We didn’t have kids yet when we trained our older dog so there was no interference.
When I say, “Don’t approach his crate when he is in there.”
They hear, “Stick your fingers in and make goo-goo noises while squealing ‘he’s so cuuuute!”
When I say, “Don’t talk to him when we enter the house until after he is let out to potty.”
They hear, “Rush right in and say hello…get him all excited so he pees himself before he goes outside.”
He has had a number of accidents inside while they’re chasing him…they leave their stuff out and he’s a chewer…when they get up in the middle of the night- so does he (howling!)…they don’t respect his space. Let’s just say that I have experienced regret a time or two already during this experience.
I could go on…but, the flag has been thrown.
It was much easier to train a dog in a controlled/closed environment without all of this interference.
Unfortunately, our Christian walk can be the same way. It’s super easy to have faith and walk closely with the Lord in a “controlled environment” with Christian friends…during easy times…when all is well…and health is good…when you’re not challenged with interference. We salt our salt and light our light and then, BOOM! Trouble strikes and our knees buckle. (The truth is- buckled knees can be a good thing as long as you end up kneeling to pray.) Oh sure, it’s easy to forgive the man who cuts you off in traffic or the sales person who is rude. God calls us to be a reflection of Him…we are to mirror Jesus in our walk. So why is it that when there’s a flag on the play at home in our marriages or with our close friends- we find it so hard to forgive and forbear? Bitterness, rage and slander creep in even though we know that the Bible tells us to get rid of that stuff and forgive as Christ forgave us (Ephesians 4:29-32).
“But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you. “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that.
I know we are supposed for forgive…but, I can’t forgive THAT!
I know we are supposed to share…but, I don’t have enough right now!
I know we are supposed to love…but, that girl is testing my nerves and I’ve got no love for her right now.
We tend to “if” and “but”. God just hears excuses…excuses.
Faith in action…living God’s word.
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently in to the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it- he will be blessed in what he does.
Challenges strengthen us and draw us closer to the Lord.
Consider it a pure joy, by brothers whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
The going get’s tough and with hands in the air -we stop the play…flags flying…Interference! Instead, when these yellow flags are launched into the air signaling “interference” we should use them as markers to highlight the moment. I can think to myself, “Ok, this is the moment to put God’s word into practice. This is the moment that stands out as an opportunity for growth, blessing and a closer walk with God. This interference is an opportunity!” Welcome challenges and advance during trials- instead of sounding a retreat. Press forward.
I can tell you that our home has experienced some serious interference in the past and it resulted in more growth than I could ever express in a blog post. And it was NOT easy…it was very hard. Because it was very hard, the blessings and growth associated with those challenges were bountiful and beautiful.
As for the dog training? The kids are here to stay and so is the dog. We have to put into practice all of those training tools we used for the first dog, while taking into account the new challenges in life. We just have to learn to adapt and overcome…practice and persevere.