Thursday, December 11, 2008

Just give me the darn ball!

(Picture from summer 2008, when Scout's fur was wet and my hair was dry, and neither one of us was cold)

I'm standing in the driveway, locked in a stare with Scout. I've just thrown his Glo-ball, and he's retrieved it, bringing it about 5 feet from where I'm standing. He drops the ball, and stares at me with that border collie eye, head crouched, eyes locked.

"Bring it closer," I plead. I'm outside in my sweatpants and a t-shirt, my hair wet from my recent shower. It's cold out, but not the bitter cold of the past few days. Even so, I'm still not interested in a lengthy winter game of fetch with my hyper, under-exercised dog. I want to toss the ball a few times, and then go back in the house and finish working.

"Closer!" I chirp in a happy voice, and Scout nudges the ball with his nose. "One more!" I say and he nudges it again, until the ball is about a foot from where I'm standing. Scout, however, is still several feet away, crouched in anticipation, ready to bolt like lightening when I actually throw the ball.

Or maybe not. Sometimes he's just waiting for me to make a move, so he can snatch the ball before I can get it and run around the yard a few times.

This is all part of a game that I inadvertantly started when I taught him to nudge the ball in the house. He lies down on his dog bed and nudges the ball to me. I roll it back, he nudges it back, and we can play inside with little effort or broken glass.

At some point over the summer, we started playing "nudge" outside, and now that's his favorite way to play fetch.

Scout loves to be outside, and he loves to play catch. I can throw a ball for him to catch all day and he'll never tire. I, however, am freezing this morning and really want this little canine interlude to be over. Now.

What I never understand is why he just doesn't bring me the ball. He likes to run, and the sooner he brings the ball to me, the sooner he'll get what he wants. I don't think he enjoys standing 5 feet away from me with the ball halfway between us, me insisting that he bring it to me, anymore than I insist that if he would just nudge the ball the rest of the way, we could get this show on the road.

I wonder if God ever feels the same way about me. I'm sure that there are (many) times when He's asked me for something simple - my time, a prayer, worship, repentence - and rather than just bring to him what he wants, I toss something approximately close and hope that he'll accept that. And then I wait for him to bless me. Or, as I am continually praying, "Please use me!"

God can't use me unless I'm willing to surrender all and until I'm willing to actually come to his feet with my offering. Instead, I play a game of keep away. "You want it, God? Come get it! Gotcha! Not ready yet!"

I don't think it's fear. I know Scout isn't afraid to come close to me. For him, it's a game and when he gives up the ball, the game could be over. Because I might not throw it again. I might call him into the house. And where's the fun in that?

Maybe that's why I'm so unwilling sometimes to give God everything. He might just keep it. And since I don't know what he has planned next, I just keep nudging my gift closer and snatching it back in the hopes of playing the game just a little longer. Except that maybe God needs me to give up my current game, completely and totally, so he can involve me in something even better, and my inability to see beyond the end of my snout is holding me back.

When I throw the ball for the last time, I yell, "Let's get a BIG treat!" and head for the house. Scout comes barreling towards the door, because he knows that a BIG treat might be peanut butter in a toy, or some chewy turkey jerky, or maybe even a Chew Lotta bone. Or maybe even some treat he hasn't even dreamed of before. He doesn't really know what he's going to get, he just knows it's going to be good.

Because he trusts me, and is willing to give up the game to get the BIG treat.

I wonder today what God is asking me to bring to his feet, and what I'm just tossing to him from a distance? What BIG treat am I missing by not letting go?


goooooood girl said...

your blog is very nice......

CrazyBunnyLady said...

Well, if he has to fetch, you should have to as well. Cute puppy.