by Kathleen Y’Barbo
Baxter 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.
He makes our house a home and gives us ears to scratch and a built-in vacuum cleaner to handle any kitchen messes that reach the floor.
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. Yes, to a Miniature 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—who has appointed himself guardian of our home—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.
Here’s something else about Baxter: he’s small. Eleven-pounds-soaking-wet small, to be precise. So small, my husband has to be careful where he steps lest he accidentally squash the poor pup with his size 13 shoes.
Though we’re physically much larger than my Baxter, I can certainly relate to that feeling of being easily overlooked. Have you ever felt small? Really, really small? The kind of small where someone could walk right past and not even notice you?
Maybe it’s the people in your world who just don’t seem to know you’re there. Or it’s a goal you’ve long since given up accomplishing because it seems there are so many others doing it already.
Life can be that way. It’s all enough to make a person want to fade into the wallpaper or hide behind a potted plant. To make us feel as though we’re not at home, even when we are home.
I know that feeling. As a writer of Christian fiction for 20 years, I have been blessed to have sold more than two million copies of my 70 novels. That’s anything but small. And yet when I look at all the amazing things that others have done, compare myself to others who seem to be doing such huge things for God, well…small is exactly how I feel.
There’s just one remedy for that. Stop comparing! I’m a work in progress on this issue, but Baxter has this skill mastered. There are no comparisons in the Miniature Schnauzer world—something I could definitely learn.
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? What if I followed Him rather than leading? What if my home was filled with the evidence that God was not just welcome here but adored. What if…
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.
I wish you could all meet Baxter.
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