We have a puppy. A large, 85 lb., 15-month-old puppy named Nala. She is so sweet. She loves to snuggle and play. She always wants to be around us and will often follow me around the house when I am working from home. She was a gift to my wife for her Birthday, December of 2017. She is family and we love her, but…She has this rebel streak in her as well. This morning, she woke me nudging my knee and wining. This usually means she needs to go potty so, the trained owner that I am, I rushed out of my bed, threw on my robe and slippers and swiftly was escorted to the back door. Upon arriving outside, I would love to tell you that she did her business. That I was able to return to the warmth of my bed and the comfort of my dreams. I would love to tell you that I was able to take advantage of the one day of the week I do not have to use an alarm. But alas, I cannot. No, this loving, kind, playful, and sweet puppy changed the direction of my day quickly. How you may ask? Well, let me tell you the tale of how my normally innocent puppy go the best of my emotions this morning. As we go outside, this emergency that she woke me for was not to empty her bladder or to drop a morning landmine. No, it was to play with a stick. A stick!! I was awakened from the sanctuary of my warm cozy bed so she could play. That in itself, was enough to write this to you, but the plot thickens. I decide to call her back into the warm home so that I could make me some coffee. Seven minutes later, the pot was finished, and the cup was poured. Knowing that at any minute there could be an explosion of mess on my floor, I reluctantly offered to go back outside, risking insanity I know, so that she could use the restroom in the appropriate place. Imagine how relieved I was when she immediately went into the yard and completed her only true morning assignment. “What a good pup” I thought. As if she knew what I was thinking, she looked at me when she was finished (I even received what was a hint of a smile) and started to walk off towards the lake. I called out to her “Nala!” and she turned around, assuring me that she did in fact hear me. I received a smile again, and even a wag of the tail before she turned around and continued her journey away from the home and away from me. Did I forget to mention that it was raining? This behavior continued, me calling out to my sweet puppy, she turning and wagging her tail then returning to her journey of independent thought and curiosity. About this time, I felt my morning schedule beckoning. I had to go to the bathroom, and I needed to be there in a hurry. How inconvenient! I called out in desperation, as if hoping that with the tone of my voice she would take sympathy on me and rush to my aid. The response did not change. She traveled on her way sniffing the ground with zeal. I made the decision to leave her outside and rushed to what is my normally my sanctuary and quickly took care of business. Then, as a well-trained owner of my puppy, I ran back outside to start the insanity once again. She was walking beside the lake now. A small dot in my range of vision. I called out her name and she again turned, wagged her tail, and again began to walk off opposite of my direction. My face began to blush with the anger I felt. My hands clinched and I began to talk to myself outload of how much this upset me. I went into the house, put a pair of jeans on, zipped up my sweater and put on my slippers. I grabbed my car keys and headed out, like any trained owner would do. It only took a moment to be alongside the lake and my dear sweet innocent puppy. She, fully recognizing my car and me driving alongside her, rushed to me with such joy her body could not contain. Her tail was wagging so hard it caused her body to wag as well. I opened the back door to my car, so mad that she was so happy, and I was so angry, wet, and appalled by her “wet dog” smell. I took her home and she walked into the house without incident.
As someone that deals with Anger often, I find myself praying when it arises in me. I ask myself if I really needed to be angry and in most cases I find that I do not. Now, I am not quite sure yet if my anger in this case was justified or not. Perhaps some of you will think yes, and others will just laugh at the silliness of my response. However, what I was do know is that God gave me a lesson that I would like to share with you. How does God respond to me when I am being that rebel? Does he lash out at me, or yell at me. Since I spent the better portion of my young life rebelling against him, I can tell you, he did not. In fact, he gladly went out into the rain and rejoiced when I came back to him. Now, don’t get me wrong. There have always been consequences for my actions. God disciplines with love, however. I learn the lesson (sometimes) but still have assurance in his love for me. The writer of Hebrews tells us “Because the Lord disciplines the ones he loves and chastens everyone he accepts as his son” (Hebrews 12:6). Is God trying to help you learn a lesson that will keep you on his path? How do we respond to those that are choosing a path that you know is not from Father? This morning was inconvenient for sure. And of course, my puppy chose not to listen to me and do her own thing. But I think that the most infuriating thing for me was that I was not in control and desperately wanted to be, even needed to be. That is where most of my anger stims from. How about you? Do you find that trying to control what you can’t leads you to a place of anger and frustration? Food for thought… For A Better Life!