I’ve often reflected and written about the furry member of our family, our dog Diamond Star. She is quite remarkable. No, I know all pet parents or in my case, pet grandparents, say that, but it’s really true for us. There is rarely a day that goes by that Diamond Star doesn’t demonstrate some lesson that is beneficial. Since she was a puppy, like many dogs, she has enjoyed ripping up her toys and pulling the stuffing and/or noisemaker out. She is determined for hours, and occasionally days to dedicate herself to such a task resulting in cotton covering the floor, a plastic noisemaker and a flattened stuffed animal that appears limp. When Diamond Star turned 13 a little over a month ago, I purchased a stuffed parrot for her. Due to its awkward shape, it was difficult for her to carry it in her mouth. Diamond Star is a complicated woman, she is comprised of about three breeds. I can’t recall which one is determinedly bent on greeting anyone who comes through the door with one of her toys in her mouth, but at any rate, the parrot was always a challenge to secure. Even at her best, she couldn’t quite secure a strong grasp on it. So, I suppose at some point between the winter storm and the 60+ degree temperature, Diamond Star decided that she’d had enough. On yesterday morning, she began a fast and furious breakdown of the parrot. She pinned it down with both paws and began biting and ripping the inside out of the toy. Everywhere we traveled in our home, there she was, moving right along with us, and with parrot in tow. After she napped, she went right back to her ministry. She ate her food, sufficiently begged for ours, and then returned to ripping. We were so very tickled and at the same time, quite frankly in awe, of her intentionality to rid her life of something that was problematic to her. What might the lesson be for us?
Tis the season for ridding our lives of the things that are not of any benefit to us! We have tried to make it work, make it fit, adapt, bring it to where it might not want to go, and we continue to find ourselves in the same predicament. We are carrying dead weight. We are trying to adjust things and quite often people to our environment, trying to manipulate it to thrive with us, not realizing that it is slowing us down. Diamond Star prides herself in being positioned at either the front door or garage door with a toy in her mouth before someone enters. Attempting to pick up the parrot would slow her down, thereby making her ineffective in walking or barking in her purpose. When we attempt to take along others who do not align with our vision we slow ourselves down. Forget the enemy, he ain’t got jack to do with this. We often blame him, not realizing the extent to which we have complicated or compromised our own detriment. Hebrews 12:1 instructs us to “lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” We cannot even begin the race without ridding ourselves of that which can get us caught up!
The photo attached to this blog is the remnant of Diamond Star’s dismantling. The extra credit lesson is that she is not finished. While in fact the parrot is on its last lag, there is still a little bit of stuffing left. We must be intentional about checking ourselves to ensure that we are not sliding back into old habits of being or thinking. Accordingly, she has continued to carry the parrot around, still ripping out what’s left. Once we accept Christ into our lives, the real fight begins – and it continues until we leave this earth realm. Certainly God fights our battles, but we must be committed to the fight within ourselves. We mustn’t allow anything to separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:38). Not a parrot, not stuffing, not the noise around us and certainly not us. Get rid of it!