Saturday, October 23, 2021

Loose leash


This past winter, we adopted a two year old Germans shepherd dog from the humane society. For the first few months with us, she was undergoing heart worm treatment. That meant that she always had to be on leash in the yard and wasn’t allowed to take walks. Around the beginning of June, she was given the all clear to start moving. 

We were so excited to go for walks, she was so excited. We barely noticed that she was pulling on the leash. It felt like her exuberance for life was uncontainable and she just needed to get out there and explore the world. I figured she’d eventually get to the place where the novelty of outside would wear off and she’d stop pulling naturally. 

Well, that was not the case. She I think pulled more as her energy returned and the walks became more common. I was building my biceps but I knew that winter was on the horizon and images of slick ice and firm jerk had me thinking of ambulances. I doubled down on the research on gadgets to stop pulling. One of my friends said gadgets never work, you just have to be willing to look silly.

She suggested a method of the moment the dog puts tension on the leash to turn and walk the other direction. I figured it was worth a shot, it had to be better than an er trip on a cold winters day. Our mile walk that day barely made it out of the yard. It’s been a week or so since we started, we cover a mile in the distance of about a block so there’s improvement! 

Why do I bring this up? Because it reminds me of my relationship with God. You see, dogs pull because they think they’re in control of where they’re going. And in some ways that’s true, especially if they pull enough to break free. I’m often the dog in this example, pulling against the one who’s actually in control. Thinking I have to get to a certain place as quickly as possible, with no real concern for what I may be missing along the way. Just let me lead, I’m sure I know the way! You’re being too slow, Lord, hurry up already. 

But the truth is God is in control and staying close enough that ever transition isn’t a shard jerk to my well planned ideas is actually better. It’s more enjoyable for me when I keep that leash loose, I’m able to explore side adventures that I’d zoom past if I live life on the end of my leash. God wants us to be in relationship together, not me tethered to Him, being weighted down by my own desires. And that’s the real difference between the loose and the taut leash. A taut leash is so I don’t run away and lose myself. But a loose leash is really just a symbol that we belong to each other, it’s not needed for control, just a reminder to one another and the world that we’re in it together. 

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