She sniffs the lake water and submerges one paw below the surface. But the moment a gentle wave laps over the other foot, she jerks and makes a mad dash from the water to the grass where there are no waves, it never gets deep and you can’t drown.
If you have a pet, you’ve got a million stories just like that, revealing the true personality of your four-legged family member. And even though my dog Bailey loves going to our neighbor’s cabin more than anything else in LIFE, she is terrified of the water. No matter how much we try and coax her, and show her how fun the water can be, she’ll have none of it. What dog doesn’t like the water? Isn’t it part of their DNA to like water?
Well a whole year went by before we accepted the next invitation to go to the cabin. We loaded up the family and Bailey in the back seat. She had no idea where we were going, but she never cares, she’s got FOMO pretty bad (Fear Of Missing Out)! Making little wet nose marks on the car window all the way there, the moment we pulled into the driveway of the cabin, she knew in an instant where we were. She started that half cry-half hyperventilating thing dogs do and as soon as the car door was open, she was gone. Running at 40 miles an hour down the driveway, around the side of the house, down the hill and straight for the dock, and she was not slowing down one bit. Her nails clicked on the metal dock, ears flapping in the wind; and in one unguarded, unafraid, unaware moment, she leaped right off the end of the dock, flying through the air in one surreal, spread-eagle, weightless moment. Until…SPLASH!!
She disappeared under the water. Aaaannnndddd….she’s up again, like a bobber, in what suddenly became the biggest ‘WHAT JUST HAPPENED’ moment of her lifetime! Thankfully dog-paddling is in her DNA too and she paddled her little heart out to get to shore. Back to the safe grass she went to lay down.
Here’s why I’m telling you this. I’ve shared this little home movie with you because…you’re in it!. Me too. You and I have so much potential to do great kingdom work here on this earth. It’s in our DNA. God programmed it in. Not to force us to live with abandon, but just to give us the seed, should we be willing to let it grow.
Safety is also programmed into our DNA. It’s a tough balance. But if you’re anything like me, I lead too much toward safety. I keep thinking about all the things that could go wrong…like not going on a missions trip because the plane might crash, or my child might get a disease, or we could be attacked. Like not pursuing that business idea because it might fail, or I might get sued, or not make any money. Like not reaching out to someone God’s put on my heart because they might reject me, or misunderstand my intentions.
What Bailey taught me that day and I offer it to you, is sure, we could keep putting one toe in the water and never take any chances. And we can lay in the green grass where it’s always safe. Or…we can run with abandon, the life that God has planned out for us. He won’t force us. But he is hoping that one day, you and I will get so caught up in the moment and the possibility that he really can do exceeding abundantly more than anything we could ever ask or think, that we will RUN the race marked before us.
Bailey will probably never run off a dock again in her life. But that’s ok, because it served a very important purpose. Nothing is ever wasted. Even if you try and fail. Even if you try and change your mind. God is for you. And will use you.