Friday, September 14, 2007

Lessons My Dog Taught Me

As a parent I can’t tell you how many “life lessons” my kids have taught me. But now that we are almost “empty nesters”, God uses our dog to teach me lessons. Our dog’s name is Beckham. (I didn’t name him, the boys did, but that’s another subject) Anyway we’ve had him for four years and we still can’t trust him to stay in the yard unless he’s on a leash. Well winter is coming and I don’t want to have to stand outside in the cold another year waiting on him to do his “business”, so this summer we bought one of those electric dog fences, you know the kind that zaps the dog with a “small” electrical shock when they go out too far in the yard. The problem is you have to train the dog to know how far he can go before he'll get shocked. Well sometime, somewhere, in the training Beckham got zapped pretty severly. (Could be that "6" is a little too strong a setting for a Cocker Spaniel). Now he won’t even go out in the yard, unless we drag him out on the leash or “bribe” him with little bits of meat or cheese. Eventually he goes out in the yard and does his “business” but then rushes back to the house and to “safety”.

What frustrates me is that because he got zapped so bad, he refuses to go out in the yard and enjoy the new found safety and the freedom that is his without the leash. What I wonder is how many times we are like Beckham. I mean sometime, somewhere we got “burned”. Maybe by a spouse, a child, a co-worker, an employer, or even God. And now we are afraid to even go out of the house. Instead we stay where we think it is “safe” and forfeit the freedom and fun we could have if we would just go back out in the yard and try again.

I am reminded of the promise of Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” So get up and go outside again. I’ll see you there!

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