For a while now I've been writing little faith pieces I call "dogvotionals," short essays and columns that use my experiences with my Border collie Scout to share a message about God or faith.
It's not rocket science, and it's certainly not deep theology. It is just a heartfelt thought or two about my own faith and relationship with the Creator of the Universe.
The idea was born out of a dog training class that we attended on the advice of our vet, Dr. B. Scout was having some anxiety issues after spending 5 weeks in a cast. He was only 20 weeks old, and had only been with us about a month when he took a giant leap in the backyard and landed at my feet with a loud CRACK!
I was feeling guilty, Scout was feeling nervous, and together we were a mess. Dr. B said obedience class would give both of us confidence. I was doubtful, but at my wit's end. I couldn't even take Scout for a walk around the block because any noise or sudden movement - from a train whistle two miles away to a rogue butterfly making a dive for his head - would send him into a panic, making him plant spread eagle on the sidewalk. I'd have to end up carrying him home every time.
Bill the trainer kept emphasising the importance of not dominating your dog, but developing a relationship where he trusts you and knows your voice and responds to your commands because he knows your in charge. He obeys not out of fear, but out of relationship.
Huh. Sound familiar?
See, for most of my life, I was in a fear relationship with God.
But over the past decade, and especially the past two years, I've learned that God isn't some mean ogre waiting to smack my nose with a newspaper for whatever evil I'd done. He's in charge, and for good reason. He has my best interests at heart. He sees the big picture when I can only see the biscuit in front of my nose. In a crisis, he's got a handle on the situation, if only I would listen to his voice and not freak out.
And so for the past two years I've been writing dogvotionals. I'm currently working on a book - but to be honest, sometimes I just need to share a story now, or work through a column idea or get an anecdote down so I'll rememember it later.
So here we are. I use the word "daily" loosely. There's not much I do daily and regularly, without some kind of incentive. Reader feedback is often the "good dog!" I need to keep writing. (Hint, hint.)