Saturday, January 23, 2016

17 Seconds of Obedience

Our Australian Shepherd , MAKS, keeps things lively around our house. Between his infatuation with our calico cat and his fake starvation techniques, the dog keeps us hopping. There's also the little fact that he's huge and that normally his breed enjoys the outdoors way more than veggin' on the couch.

This week Savannah decided to try some obedience training with MAKS. Until now, MAKS has been regulated to the sun room, kitchen and dining room area. This is largely due to his urge to pee inability to refrain his excitement when anyone new enters the house. We've crate trained him and taught him to sit but "stay" has been a challenge. So Savannah decided to really work with him on Wednesday. So we took the baby gate down and told him to stay and then she walked to the piano room at the front of the house. The first time MAKS lasted 7 seconds before we heard his paws tippy toe down the hallway. The second time it was 13 seconds. We were so proud of him. And the third time, 17 seconds...and that time he was so reluctant to disobey. He peaked around the corner and made eye contact with me...and he knew he was guilty! 17 seconds...that's it..that's all the dear pup could muster...just 17 seconds of loyal obedience.

And before I could stop shaking my head, I thought of how I am so often the same way. I can walk in obedience for about 17 seconds and then God must shake his head at me and wonder what in the world I am doing. 17 seconds of obedience. 17 seconds of being loyal to the one who cares for me regardless of how I behave. 17 seconds of keeping my eyes fixed on Jesus. 17 seconds of unabandoned fear and timidity. 17 seconds of bravery...completely free to obey.

And then I get distracted...much like my dog....something comes my way looks like a better option, or someone calls for my attention, or I focus on something that makes me feel better or more fulfilled or more important. 17 seconds more or less is all any of us obey if its not complete obedience. Because not obeying is disobeying and we are all experts from birth on that.

But He is full of grace and patience for me. He knows my heart and how I truly want to be obedient and loyal. But how often I become like Jonah or the Children of Israel who also had trouble getting passed those 17 second marks of obedience. And in like fashion, He corrects me, and sets me back on the right track and loves me unconditionally. Just like He does for all His children.

So if you ever find yourself at the 17 second on...the test is worth passing! But in case you've already crossed over the line of obedience, know that with arms wide open He wants you back. In a heartbeat. And He says, try, try again...with HIS strength you can do better!

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