Wednesday, November 19, 2014

It's a Thin Line

Captured!  Carbon and Captain tolerating each other's presence.
Normally they hiss and spit at each other.  Captain seems to genuinely want to play with Carbon, and secretly, I suspect she likes his attention.  But mostly, they behave with deep hatred toward the other. Yet, it is clear they both enjoy the lounge chair.

Every now and then, I meet someone who is more difficult to like than others.  I want to avoid them and look anywhere but at their eyes.  Most likely, the truth is we have more in common than what opposes us.  It's entirely possible that I annoy others as well (what?!).

Often we need to intentionally put aside our hard feelings toward others.  If we wish they were more of something and less of something else, that isn't as important as who they are right now.  After all, Jesus loves us where we are - and who we are - at this moment.  It is not our perfection or obedience that makes us love us.  In fact, there is nothing we can say, do, or be that makes Him love us.  He just loves us.  It is not dependent on anything other than our being.

If we applied that outlook of unconditional love and acceptance toward others more often, we may even be able to share the same seating arrangement, relax and even enjoy each other a bit.  But the only way we can do that is through the flow of love that Jesus first gives us.  It is supernatural, and our humble submission and admittance of imperfection to the King allows our powerful God to fill us up in ways we can't control or even comprehend.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Caspar the Friendly Westie

This is Caspar (hi Caspar!).  Why can't you see his front legs, you ask?  Because they waved furiously at me in greeting, enthusiasm, or possibly, desperation, each time I reached for his kennel run door to let him out.

It was adorable.  Caspar was a happy dog, and even though he'd never been here before, he seemed relatively at ease and was the ideal canine good citizen while he was here.  When he wanted to play with Tilly's toy ball, he backed off when she growled her protection over it.  He didn't argue about it, just went away peacefully.

"True love does not envy."

But I found that I was terrible envious of having a dog that was well-behaved, good natured, and was generally civilized.  Because this is what I've got:
She's sweet and she's happy, but she has no interest in behaving like a decent pet dog.

But if I'm envying another dog's behavior, it probably means I'm not loving my dog's very much.  But Tilly is what I have.  I picked her out and adopted her.  She's made me pretty nuts since I brought her home.  She thinks her name is "No-Tilly-No!"

Perfect satisfied with what is there.  And Who.  And Right Now.

This month I am considering what it means to "not envy" and what it means for how I love and how God loves me.  After all, I'm pretty imperfect myself.  I don't do life the "right" way all the time and I step on people's toes too much.  But God loves me anyway.  It's good to know He's not busy comparing me to His Son Jesus who was, you know, perfect.  But through that Son's sacrifice, my sins are no longer counted against me. 

Perhaps I need to look at the perfect dogs and admire their finer traits.  At the same time, I can look at Tilly and remember that her annoyance is not unlike my own.  And be grateful that all the land at the foot of the cross is even ground.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Do Not Provoke

This is Cooper.
Cooper doesn't enjoy his time at the kennel.  He hides under his blanket and often pretends not to hear me call him to go outside.

"This is NOT happening to me" I imagine him saying to himself. 

What I've learned with Cooper is it's best to take time with him.  Unlike most dogs, he won't rush out the door to take care of business.  If I rush him, he gets cranky.  He does not like to be provoked out of his hiding place.

"Love does not provoke."  What does that mean?  I've thought a lot about it.  Sometimes in conversations with other, I'm tempted to say something that may provoke a certain response from others.  However, it's not always to provoke laughter.  Sometimes I proudly want to say something that I know others may not like.  And that's bad.

Why would I want to upset anyone?  When I really thought about that, it was my pride.  I wanted to be right.  I wanted the other person to know I was right.

And that's just wrong.

Love does not provoke. 

The battle to control my tongue is never ending.