I’ve been absent from this for a while because I’ve had a topic percolating in my mind for a while, and I’ve wanted to let it simmer a bit as it sorted itself out a bit.
It has to do with the puppy I welcomed into my home in March. I’ve really been surprised at how intuitive she is; especially lately it has seemed sometimes like she can read my mind. But even more than that, I’ve been taking her to classes several times a week for the past few months, and I have noticed, to my surprise, that she mirrors my mood and attitude during those classes.
If I’m high-energy and ready to go, so is she. If I’ve had a long day and am just going through the motions, or if I’m frustrated with something else in my life, she is frustrating and unfocused, and things have the potential to spiral.
What’s even more remarkable is that I hadn’t noticed my mood, but she did, and it took seeing that ugly or unproductive attitude reflected in my puppy for me to see it in myself.
It reminds me of Luke 16:15:
He said to them, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of others, but God knows your hearts. What people value highly is detestable in God’s sight.
I thought I was just fine, I put up a good front, but my puppy read my true attitudes and acted on those, not on what I presented to the public. In a similar way, I think, we can put up a good front for God, but it doesn’t work then either. He knows our hearts, and he knows whether our hearts are truly in it or not, there’s no fooling him.
I’ve found that the old saying about how your dog trains you, not the other way around, is fairly true 🙂 And mine has trained me to spend the time on our drive over to class in introspection, thinking about my attitude and what mood I’m giving off. And if I’ve had an off day, I make an effort to step back and clear my head, so I can approach her training class with the best attitude possible, and enable her to accomplish as much as possible that night.
So let me ask: How often do we go to church or go to prayer with heads full of worries and distractions? If it’s impossible to concentrate and give a class our full effort under the weight of those concerns, how can we expect to have a meaningful experience with God under those same stresses? I think that making an effort to step back and clear your head before approaching God can do just as much good as clearing your head before a class. And in fact, it can do a LOT more good, because you’re focusing on the One whose sacrifice has given you your salvation!
I hope you’re all having a great summer! I can’t wait to see everyone in rehearsal once more 🙂