I have a dog… a puppy, actually.
For those who know me, your eyes probably just doubled in size. You may recall my life-long fright of four-legged canines of any size. What can I say? Things change and I truly believe he was meant to be my dog. I have seen more sunrises than I intended and heard more from God than I expected since Sammy’s paws stepped into my world. One of these lessons occurred on a cold and rainy day in Birmingham, Alabama.
There I was… praying that my dog would hurry up and relieve himself so I could dry my soles in the comfort of my heated home. It was the unforgiving wind coupled with rain that created an unholy matrimony for a bitter attitude to flourish. Sammy wasn’t a fan of the wind, but he enjoyed licking raindrops from the grass blades and slurping water from the mini-pools along the path. I felt myself getting frustrated.
“C’mon, Sammy… just use it already,” I muttered under my scarf. “Stay focused.”
He couldn’t care less about my rising flame of frustrated funk and was having the time of his life. The puppy pad was not an option; Being a chew toy was its demise. The doggie booties were returned to the store; I never got past one staying on without him taking it off. Apparently, being naked outside was his state of choice for the moment and I had better deal with it… mud, wind, rain, and all.
Finally, relief came and I was beyond elated to get inside. Oh, sweet victory! I wanted to rush us in, but I forgot the wipe towel and growled at myself. Sammy licked his paws in nonchalance, then proceeded inside.
“No! I do NOT want muddy tracks in my house! Let’s leave the outside, OUTSIDE!”
As soon as they left my lips, I heard the resonance of that string of words in my spirit… No muddy tracks.
I thought of how many times the past has tracked into our future. To scale down, how many times has a negative experience from your day – the “outside” – dribbled into your home as soon as you walked in it? You stepped in it earlier in the day. It’s stubborn and even satisfying to wallow in for a small length of time. When you walk inside, you realize it’s still there. It also takes more than water to remove it, but that’s for a different post. *wink* If we go a bit deeper, think of moments when a sour word, bad customer service experience, or a disagreement with someone disrupted the peace in which your soul was bathing.
It’s easy to allow the residue from situations of anger, sadness, mistrust, or resentment to transfer to the walls and floors of your inner sanctuary, and it can be quite difficult to remove it. Even temporary tattoos can linger around for a while. That’s the where the peace of God steps in like a centurion (Philippians 4:7). It can see the danger of allowing unwanted visitors past the gate and the mud underneath their feet. While you’re focusing on the rain and the wind, peace stands guard to protect your heart and mind from receiving the muddy tracks those situations can leave on your soul.
Take a stand and be resolved. In light of it still being the first month, we have built a fire around resolutions and expectations to warm us throughout the new year. Let’s include the fortitude of throwing muddy tracks into that flame.
Peace & Thanks for listening.