Tag Archives: dogs

The Wall of Insecurity

Carl was clearly showing signs of insecurity. He wouldn’t come into the bedroom because of his fear of his sister. After going out into the hall and literally pushing him inside, it was clear our pooch needed support to enter. 

Once inside and on his bed, he was shaking uncontrollably. Carl, who stands only a foot off the ground, typically portrays himself as the size of a great dame on his walks but now had shriveled into the body of a Chihuahua.

How can a dog who one minute appears so confident be transformed into a pile of mush? Before judging this little Frenchie, we should look in the mirror and ask ourselves the same question.

We all have sensitive spots in our personality that cause the wall of insecurity to keep us from going forward. The question arises when we are face to face with the wall and how we are going to get over it. Or in some cases, if we are even going to attempt the climb.

Many of us are forced to make the ascent over our personal insecurity when we are in occupations that require it. Others, make the choice to fight through uncertainty when an important relationship is on the line.

But then there are others that avoid facing their barricade or pretend it doesn’t exist. King David was a perfect example of this. After his son Absalom was killed, the king was paralyzed by his insecurity. Instead of leading his country, he became absorbed with self-doubt and drew inward. The result of his actions had a devastating effect on the country. Without a leader, all the people went back aimlessly to their own tents.

Thankfully, Joab, his right hand man, had the confidence to speak sternly to the king. Then and only then did King David take his position of authority and push through his insecurity. Once he was seated on his throne, the people were willing to come out of their own hiding places and give respect to the king.  (2 Samuel 19)

Carl doesn’t understand how his insecurity impacts us. He doesn’t see the inconvenience of being awakened by his howl and having to get up to move him through his self-doubt. Many people who lack confidence don’t see how their actions hurt the people around them. But just like David, it only takes a decision to take the position that God has given us.

Hopefully in the future, Carl will climb over his personal wall of self-doubt and make his way to his sleeping position that he has been assigned. And just like him, the next time I come face to face with my own wall of insecurity, I will be willing to make the climb upward and over. 

Us and Them

Carl looked up at me and then turned toward the door and pranced out with my husband for his daily walk. If he could talk, he would say something like, “If you want to come with us, that is okay, but it doesn’t matter to me.”

When he takes to the streets, Carl makes it clear that it is all about “us” and “them”. He really doesn’t care about the feelings of the other dogs or humans that he comes across, just as long as he has the undivided attention of my husband, Carl is perfectly content.

Since social media has given people their own personal platform, people are becoming more and more about us and them. Social apps are bombarded with extreme views that automatically categorize friends and family into “us” or “them”.

With each comment, a brick goes up into the wall that divides “us” from “them”. A wall that is being built without concern for others. So how do we take down the bricks to create a world that focuses more on “we”?  It starts when we take our focus off of “me” and place it on a man that walked the earth two thousand years ago.

This man lived each day of His life for everyone to be a “we”. As He was getting ready to die for each one of us, He prayed to God for unity. “I have given them the glory you gave me, that they maybe one as we are one.” (John 16:22)

Whenever I am tempted to put an “us” and “them” brick into the wall, I have to take my thoughts to a hill covered with blood and tears. And when I am there in my mind, I look around and see others that could be on the other side of the wall looking up into the eyes of the man who died for “we”.

Being a dog, Carl will never understand how he may be hurting others when he walks by them with his nose in the air. But unlike Carl, I hope the next time I am feeling the temptation to place a brick of “us” into the wall, I will remember the “them” who resides on the other side.

Carl’s Great Escape

Carl hardly ever has his eyes totally closed when I am nearby.  He is constantly on alert for any unusual movement I make.  I think Carl wants to make sure he doesn’t miss out on anything fun or entertaining.

Keeping an Eye on the Situation

No matter if he is in his bed, on the couch, or lying down on the screen porch, his eyes are looking in all directions for any detection of movement. When I need to go outside without Carl, I usually have to tippy toe past him and open the door without making a sound.

If I am caught, Carl will slither through the door beside me, and wander around outside until he is placed back inside. This can be aggravating when I am in a hurry or have a task that doesn’t call for the help of a Frenchie with no tail.

Carl loves the folly of exploring outside the boundaries of the house. He is unaware of the dangers of the busy street that borders our yard.  He typically won’t go out into the street unless he spots a dog being walked. Then all bets are off.

Enjoying Freedom

Just like Carl, we all have a tendency to folly out beyond the boundaries set before us by God. Proverbs 15:21 states it simply but profoundly.

“Folly is a joy to him who lacks sense, but a man of understanding walks straight ahead.”

How often do we slither outside and wander where we are not intended to travel? This can take place in our minds or in our actions. No matter, there are times when we lack sense and need to return to the straight path.

As for Carl, he will continue to dart outside every chance he can. And you will find me taking a hold of his collar and dragging him back to the safety of the screened porch.

Waiting for the Right Opportunity

Wet Paw Prints

The rain continued to beat against the window pane as Carl looked up from his bed, and then rolled over. It was clear he had no intention of jumping off, and making his way outside to do his business.

For the last couple of weeks, the rain has come in waves, turning our backyard into a pond. Carl has tried to avoid getting wet, but even with his efforts, it is impossible to miss his muddy paw prints scattered across the wood floors.

Just like Carl, at times we leave muddy footprints across the floors of life. They can come from making rash decisions or stating harsh words in the middle of our own personal storms.

Given that life will bring days of squalls and dark clouds, we must prepare ourselves before their arrival.  And who best to emulate than Jesus, the creator of the storms.

“A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, ‘“Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”’ He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, ‘“Quiet! Be still!”’ Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.” (Mark 4:37-39)

Many people have questioned how Jesus could sleep during this horrendous storm when all his disciples were scared to death. Just like these men, we often wonder where Jesus is when we go through storms. And when we can’t find Him, we have a tendency to react out of fear.

I have found that if I focus on what Jesus did during this storm, I will not be consumed with fear but faith. In order to sleep, Jesus must have known the outcome of the storm, and then once He was awoken, He demonstrated His power by calming the wind and waves.

This passage points me to Jesus when I am in the middle of heavy rainstorms. When it doesn’t look like it will ever stop and the sun is missing from the sky, I visualize Jesus sleeping in the stern of the boat.

Carl continued to sleep until the rain subsided and he could go outside without getting drenched. We appreciated his attempt to stay dry but had to laugh as he walked across the wooden floors and left a trail of wet paw prints.

From a Distance

The car slowed to a stop and the man rolled his window down.  Not sure what he was going to say, both my husband and I leaned in. “I just want you to know that you have a good looking dog.” As we thanked him, we couldn’t help but say back in jest, “You can have him, if you want.” (We were just kidding!)

I have also seen Carl from a distance and have to agree that he sure is cute and desirable. But what Carl is from a distance and what he is up, close and personable are totally two different things.

What is it about us humans that cause us to crave the things that are at a distance? So often, we feel the need to have the very thing that can cause us such heartache.

All the Samaritan woman wanted was to have a husband that loved her and she ended up with five broken marriages and a compromised life. The rich young ruler only wanted his wealth and ended up lacking the peace that comes from putting God first.

Jesus clearly tells us in John 6:36 “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”

If we can only stop looking in the distance for the bread of life and turn to the source, we will finally be content and full.

I personally can’t imagine life without Carl.  Even though it has been difficult at times, I am thankful God has used this little dog to help me draw closer to Him so that I don’t have to continue to desire what is at a distance.

Slammed Doors

Carl stood at the door waiting for us to call his name to come along on a journey. But today, Carl wasn’t going to be able to come. Instead of joining us for a fun episode of life, the door was shut in his face.

How often do we wait at the door of opportunity to have a door shut in our face? We can be so excited about life one moment and then the next moment, we feel like God has played a joke on us.

It is during these times of trials and suffering, with no entrance in sight that we are forced to take our focus off of what is on the opposite side of the door. It is at this moment that we are provided other options, ones that we may not choose, but ones that have to be faced.

Most of the people Jesus interacted with had doors shut in their face. Individuals just like you and me that were locked out of the dreams that they had based their happiness on. Some chose the path of bitterness and resentment that left them facing the locked exit.

But then there were the few that understood Jesus’s power to show them an upward direction that would transport their earthly journey to a spiritual one.

There was a Gentile woman that knew what life was like to have doors slammed in her face. Her daughter was demon possessed and was suffering. This mother had heard about the miracles that Jesus had performed and believed that He was from God.

The woman respected Jesus’s mission. He had come specifically for the Jews but she had to try. So when she engaged Him in a conversation about dogs eating crumbs, Jesus opened the door of healing. (Matthew 15:21-28)

As we drive down the road towards our destination, I can’t help but think about the door that Carl is facing. Hopefully, he will realize that he needs to look beyond the door until we return. If not, he will be staring at a shut door for quite a while. Poor Carl.

Pushing Forward into Confidence

Carl hid behind the blanket and it was clear he didn’t want to be seen. When he heard the closing of the door, he knew he had missed his opportunity to ride in the shot gun seat in the big black truck.  Instead of riding with my husband on their regular Sunday morning drive, Carl stayed put in his comfortable bed.

I had encouraged him to get up and catch up with my husband but he seemed to lack the confidence to do so. What had been a move that Carl did automatically, he now seemed hesitant to even try. Could this little dog who seems so confident at times, feel insecure today?

We can easily lose confidence in life if we aren’t careful.  A blow to our self-esteem can come out of nowhere and if we aren’t centered, can send us reeling. When this happens, I find myself backing away so that I won’t feel the hurt that comes with the blow.

Many times, I have probably given up some of God’s most amazing gifts because I pulled away when I allowed my feelings to dictate my actions. Instead of pushing through the stabs of pain and using it to refine my heart, I have taken myself out of the fire.

“These trials are only to test your faith, to see whether or not it is strong and pure. It is being tested as fire tests gold and purifies it—and your faith is far more precious to God than mere gold;” 1 Peter 1:7 Living Version

God has a purpose for the fires in our lives. It is meant to refine our faith, not weaken it. This encourages me when my feelings are telling me one thing but His word is speaking an entirely different message.

As for Carl, I will encourage him to get up and move past the disappointment he currently feels. And when I push him, I am going to also push myself to not pull back but push forward when the fire begins to get a little too hot for my liking.