3 Lessons We Can Learn From a Golden Retriever
I’m not a dog guy.
Well, I wasn’t a dog guy.
Actually, I’m reluctantly becoming a dog guy, and it’s because we bought a Golden Retriever last year named, Mayzie.
When I picture dogs, I imagine those little ankle-biting dogs that bark like they are giant dogs, but one good kick, and they are sailing through the air like a football through the goal post.
Mayzie is changing that for me, though. Of course, I still have my frustrations as a dog owner, but there is something special about Mayzie. (That line got me bonus points with my wife and dog lovers!)
Today, in a light-hearted but practical post, I want to share with you three biblical lessons this reluctant dog dad is learning from his Golden Retriever.
1. Don’t just say you’re happy, show people you are happy.
Pull up to my house, and you will meet Mayzie. She will run out to your car with her tail wagging but watch your feet because she typically pees with excitement, literally at your feet. I’m told this is common with some dogs, but it caught me by surprise the first time and our house guests.
Mayzie’s entire body screams how happy she is to be around you, and she even has a constant look as if she is smiling with her tongue out.
The Bible tells us as Christians to “Rejoice in the Lord alway” (yes, it is “alway” not “always” for my grammar checkers) yet, many Christians walk around with the sourest look on their faces.
How does one change that scary sour face?
The answer is to fall back in love with God. Something or someone in your life has blinded you to the riches you have in Christ.
When your relationship with God is firing on all cylinders, you will become like Mayzie. You won’t be able to hide your joy.
2. Don’t let hurts and unmet expectations ruin your relationships.
When we are not home, Mayzie stays in the garage. It wasn’t always that way, but this reluctant dog dad put his foot down when she started chewing on things.
This past Sunday, we had a busy day planned. First, we were up early for Sunday school, so that means garage for Mayzie.
Then, after church, we rushed home to change clothes, and in less than ten minutes, we went to Indianapolis. Again, that means more garage time for Mayzie.
Time got away from us in Indy, so we rushed back home, changed clothes, and rushed out for the Sunday evening service at church. Again, more garage time for Mayzie. She looked confused as we left the house the last time.
Twice we had come home to her wagging tail only to ignore her, change, and rush off. After these “hurts” and “unmet expectations,” I imagined coming home to a hurt and angry dog, but I didn’t.
When we pulled in, and as the garage door opened, there was Mayzie wagging her tail, tongue out, waiting for us like she always does.
How do we as Christians respond to hurts and unmet expectations?
There are severe cases that require much counseling. I’m not minimizing the hurts that take place. But, unfortunately, I have found it more common in churches today to find people hurt over little issues.
The Bible teaches us to forgive, but little hurts and unmet expectations go without being dealt with. As a result, our relationship with others and more importantly, our relationship with God, suffers.
3. Trust and Obey
An ideal evening for Michelle and me involves a walk. It’s time untethered from our phones (sometimes) and a chance for us to connect and get some exercise after a long busy day.
One of the things we talked about looking forward to, when we bought Mayzie, was taking her on these walks with us. As she grew, we began taking her, but it required some training. We started with a leash and then moved to a shock collar (which we only beep), and she does amazing.
This morning I took her on the country road we live on, and as she started to get ahead of me and I would say, “Mayzie,” and maybe tap the beeping sound on the collar, and she would walk right back to me.
She had no idea the potential danger that was ahead or why I was calling her. Still, she simply trusted and obeyed because I was her master.
Why do we spend so much time doubting and fighting God?
Let’s just think about it for a second. God loves us. God has a plan for our lives. He wants us to overcome and prevail, yet we often doubt His motives and follow our own path.
On my podcast, we have been studying some of David’s life. David found himself in many uncomfortable and undesired situations, but in most of his Psalms, you notice a theme. He continued trusting and obeying God.
Don’t believe Satan’s lies that God doesn’t care or that God’s plan isn’t the best plan for your life. Instead, be like Mayzie, trust and obey.
Lessons from your dog?
What are some lessons you learn from your dog? Feel free to leave them in the comments or on the Facebook page below the post you clicked on to get here.
I’m still a reluctant dog dad, but Mayzie has opened my eyes, and hopefully yours, to some important spiritual-life lessons.
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