Tuesday, December 3, 2013

What a puppy's focus taught me about my faith

Anyone who knows me knows that I can be a little...scattered. I don't mean to be, but my brain just doesn't really like to focus on one thing at a time. My husband and brother sometimes laugh at me because they will think a conversation is over, but if I think of another detail I want to add, I'll bring it up hours later, without any context (at least my mom and I can keep up with these conversation fragments. Thank goodness!). This is how my brain usually operates:

Funny Cry for Help Ecard: Ask me about my A.D.D. or pie or my cat. A dog. I have a bike. Do you like tv? I saw a rock. Hi.

Since I have this, blessing, as we'll call it, focus and discipline are two areas in which I struggle. I just finished a 21-day posting series about discipline, so I've got good tips and ideas to help me in that area, but I didn't really have any examples on how to obtain focus...or so I thought. One day when I was playing with our puppy, I noticed something. He stayed intensely focused on whatever toy we were playing with or treat I had until he was given a signal to retrieve it or take it from me. I know this may not be news to some of you out there, but this is my first dog, and it fascinated me! It didn't just happen at playtime either. Whenever I did chores, if he thought there was a possibility that he would receive a reward, he would stare at me- even if he was in another room or the hallway. 

I don't know what you have, but I want it, so I'm going to stare at you...
How in the world does this relate to my faith? Well, to me, it's a constant reminder to stay focused on my Savior. Hebrews 12:2 says "We must focus our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith." My pastor has said a number of times that if we are getting offended by people or things of the world, then we are focusing on the world instead of on Jesus. Just as our puppy expects a reward when he stays focused on whatever I have, Christians can expect a reward for keeping their focus on Him. James 1:12 says "Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him." By remaining steadfast, or focused, we are assured of God's promises and faithfulness, even when things don't always seem to be going that well. We can rest in knowing that as long as we have our eyes on Him, we will receive the ultimate prize: the MilkBone of eternal life (I know, I know, but I had to tie it back in with the puppy somehow, right?).

So the next time I play fetch with him, I'm going to remember to focus on the Lord and pray a prayer of thanksgiving for the unexpected lesson from that crazy little pup.

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