When Sharen gave birth to Matthew they gave her all this "So you just had a kid" stuff and on all of it was plastered the warning to never ever shake your baby. I had gone to the child birth classes with her so I knew they remind you because a baby crying and crying can cause a parents brain to misfire and they try to "shake some sense" into the baby and it will damage their brain and often kill them if shaken hard enough. I say all this to say, I never really understood why people would shake babies or kick puppies but walking this damn dog was driving me to heights of blinding killing rage that I literally had to sit down on the curb and remind myself that it wasn't ok to drag a dog by his leash or hit him because I'm angry.
Needless to say I was pretty mad.
The dog wanted to walk the way he wanted to walk when he wanted to walk that way. If I tried to take him another direction he would simply plant himself and lean his body weight in the direction he wanted to go. It got to the point that I literally couldn't move him unless I was willing to harm him physically (which I wasn't).
On Wednesday night I cursed and yelled and tugged and begged and bribed and the dog wouldn't move. He just wouldn't. I had to trick him and then pull him pretty sharply the rest of the way home because if he stopped moving we were back at the beginning.
I thought all day Thursday about how I was going to manage his walk Thursday night because I was still so angry about the walk Wednesday. It reminded me of another situation that happened a few days previously and how I thought that could have been handled better. Then, quite dramatically I also heard someone say "I have a dream" and it reminded me of MLKJr's peaceful resistance/protests.
So Thursday when we walked I let him go where he wanted and when I wanted to go a specific way that he didn't want and he planted himself and pulled I just planted myself and stood strong. I turned my back to him and pointed my feet the direction I wanted to go and waited for him to relent. It varied from only a moment to TEN MINUTES (ACK!) but he would always come around and with his head down he would sidle up next to me and we would calmly continue on our way.
On and on we went, including one brief period where he simply lay down and started eating dry grass while I stood there venting to Claire on the phone.
Eventually we made it home. But this dog pretty much made me want to die.
But good news or bad news I out stubborned a dog without raising my voice or harming him physically.
It occurred to me how that walk reminded me a lot of my walk with God. He let's me wander around on my own until there's a specific direction He wants me to go and then He'll try to send me that way. But I like my way. I'm used to my way. So I plant myself and I just lean with all my weight towards my way and glance stubbornly at God and ask, "So what are you going to do now huh?"
God just plants himself next to me, never abandoning, never leaving and he just consistently shows me His way, which is always better than mine even if I don't know it yet. I always give in. I always relent and find that it's easier to let God lead me, to let God show me the way instead of flitting about sniffing every little thing that interests me.
Living intentionally a life following God is less of a struggle really, if I just obediently follow His leading, His calling it's not the way I expected it to be, it's not the way I pictured it and it's not even always easy. But it's always worth it to follow my Master than my own blindly stubborn stumbling way.