Lessons from Oakley the Dog

My dog, Oakley, would play tug-o-war and fetch 24 hours a day, 7 days a week if we played along with her. She especially loves the tug-o-war part. The moment we come and sit down in the living room…there she is with her favorite toy, ready to play. And as soon as you take ahold of the end that she offers you – it’s on! She will twist, pull, tug, shake or do just about anything to get the toy out of your hand. And as soon as you win, and throw it for her to go fetch it, she comes right back ready for more – ready to fight you with every last bit of her energy to keep you from wrestling the toy out of her mouth!

As I was playing with her yesterday, I began to realize how much playing tug-o-war with Oakley is similar to my relationship with God.  In 1 Peter 5:7, Peter says to “cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.”  Similarly in Psalm 55, David says “Cast your burden on the LORD, and He will sustain you.” But no matter how many times I have read those verses or encouraged others with them, I always seem to find myself playing a spiritual tug-o-war with God over my anxieties or burdens. I may take my worries to Him and gently lay them at His feet (even though His word literally says to “throw” or “cast” them upon Him), but then I find myself picking them right back up and trying to pull them out of His hands. Or, if He’s set them aside so I won’t be concerned with them anymore – I (like Oakley) run right over there, pick them up and bring them right back to Him to play tug-o-war again.

Why do I do this? Is it because I don’t trust Him to take care of me? Is it because I think I know how to handle my problems better than Him? Is it because I don’t want to “bother” the Creator of the universe with my little petty issues? If I’m honest with myself, I have to answer yes, yes and yes. But how prideful and silly of me is that to think I can handle my problems better than the One who created me? Or how little faith do I have to think He won’t take care of me?

So, I pray that as I preach this to myself via this blog post, that maybe you will find some encouragement and hope in it as well.  Do you see that load of worries, anxieties and issues you’re carrying around? Do you see how much it weighs you down and keeps you from the abundant joy that Christ came to give you?  Right now, take that load and throw it (cast it) as hard as you can into the hands of your Creator. And as tempting as it may be, DON’T go and pick them back up. They are in the hands of the Almighty God who loves you and wants you to be free from those worries so you can live joyfully in the abundant life that Christ came to give you.

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