Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Letting Go

It's amazing to me how we can give a problem over to God one day and take it back the very next. Just as soon as we think of a new way to solve it, and now must rush off to try it out.

Usually only to find it ending in disaster. That's been my experience with Quigley and the behavior issues. Yesterday I stupidly read more on the Internet (I don't know why I get so exasperated with Quig as a slow learner -- look at me!) about how to raise a puppy, how to handle a hyperactive dog, how to develop habits, how to deal with biting, humping, barking, digging, what kind of exercise, and on and on. Waaaay too much. In the end I dispaired. There was no way I could remember all the stuff I'd read, let alone follow it. Besides I don't even know if I agree with it all, or if it would work. It's a bit weird to get to the end of an article and find the caveat -- if these tips don't work, you must go find an animal behaviorist right away.

Hmm. There are several in the phone books. How do I know which one to try? Oh, they say, ask the people you know who have the best behaved dogs. Well, uh, in the past... that's always been us... But anyway, that would mean lots of research. In addition to the gazillion things I read about that I had to do, including the fact that raising puppies is complicated, and not even experts know what they're doing and you can't tell the damage you've done until it's far too late and... really, you're better off not even to start with a puppy it's so hard.

O-kaaay... Not helpful. A mass of confusion and GOD is not the author of confusion, so this must have come from somewhere else.

In a way, coming to the point where there's no way you're ever going to be able to follow all the instructions is good. Because then you know that you have to put it back in the Lord's hands. It also helps that when you do go off with one of your cockamamie tips to try, the thing just falls into disaster. So it was with me yesterday and this morning. And as the nice little thing I thought would happen devolved into chaos and biting and frenzy, the thought ran through my head: "This is a lot like what happened when you kept trying to do the marketing thing you weren't supposed to be doing. Do you suppose God is trying to tell you the same thing here?" Uh, yes.

It's made me realize, though, that there's more sometimes than just putting a problem into the Lord's hands. Sometimes you have to confront what it is you want and how greatly you want it (which you might not have realized) and you have to accept that you just might not get it. That whatever happiness or blessing you are looking for in the situation, might not ever materialize and you have to be okay with that. Because the Lord is to be our only focus of blessing -- His person, His will, His plan -- and we're not to go scurrying after whatever it is that we want (in my case, a soft, sweet, snuggly puppy who will let me pet him and love on him without always biting me -- I mean, Quigley is just so cute that you want to hug him and he does not really want you to do that. Of course... I like hedgehogs, too and they aren't particularly huggable either...)

Anyway, coming to that realization was what really enabled me to let it go. This is what I want, what I've been striving so hard for, and I might not ever get it. I certainly am not going to get it the way I am going after it. And all the striving destroys the peace. So. I really have no choice -- put it in my Father's hands, forget about doing any research or any classes or really even any training and leave it to Him to do whatever He will. He can make the dog a sweet companion. Or not. The thing is, you can't be going to the dog for things the Lord wants to give you. For things the Lord is really the only one who can give them to you.

And I take comfort from the verse in Ps 127:2 It is vain for you to rise up early, to retire late, to eat the bread of painful labors; For He gives to His beloved even in (her) sleep.

And also Ro 9:16 So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.

And wouldn't you know, tonight's lesson brought up the Grace pipeline -- the fact that it's God's own perfect righteousness that He imputed to us at salvation that is the reason He blesses us. Not anything we do. Nice dogs are made by good owners, says the world. No. Nice dogs are a grace gift from the Lord. You can do everything "right" and have a bad dog. You can do everything "wrong" and have a good one. We really don't have as much control as we'd like to think.