Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4: 6-7
Are you struggling today?
Baxter, a geriatric but hyperactive and sweet-as-pie Miniature Schnauzer, has very little stress beyond whether his water bowl stays full, his food bowl is consistently replenished, and his trips outside are not withheld. In short–which he is–Baxter is a low maintenance guy, er dog.
Unfortunately, this fellow has one rather annoying habit. He likes to walk a half-step ahead of me while looking back to be sure I am following. Not the best way to make progress of any kind. In fact, life would be much less complicated if Baxter would just let me do the leading while he does the following.
I said this recently. Aloud. To a Schnauzer. And as the words left my mouth, I was struck with the thought that maybe I am guilty of the same thing.
How many times have I gotten ahead of God only to realize He wasn’t having any of it? How many more times did I think I knew exactly where God was going–or what He was going to do–only to realize I was nowhere near close in my guess?
Just as Baxter sometimes barks when there’s nothing there, I too, let nothing (in the form of fear, worry, angst, or just plain imagination) grab my attention and hold it. Like Baxter, I bark when I should sit, stay, or just plain take a nap.
For all his foibles, Baxter has another side to him, a loyal and faithful side that I adore. Where I am, Baxter wants to be. My return from a brief trip away sends him into a crazy dance of joy that requires several rooms of the house to adequately perform. My presence is his source of joy and comfort.
So, the thought struck me: what if I looked at my relationship with God like that? What if I found contentment and joy merely in resting in his presence rather than worrying? What if I followed Him rather than leading and rested rather than stressed out?
I learned something years ago about this journey called the Christian life. The more I learn about the Lord, the more I realize how much I do not know and how very far away from any sort of perfection I am. That knowledge is sobering. Humbling.
At the beginning of each day, I awaken with such good intentions. As I stumble through my morning routine, I begin a conversation with God that lasts off and on until my last waking moment at night. I often tell Him about my plans and then complain –or succumb to stress–when those plans go awry.
Today I decided to follow a different course, a simple plan of finding rest and reverence without allowing stress to collar me. I may even take a nap! And for that, I can thank my Schnauzer.
I wish you could all meet Baxter.