When we moved to the new town, we found out that we could have chickens at our house…so of course, we split out a little group of 8 hens and a roo, put roosts in a shed that serves admirably as coop, and installed a chicken wire pen. All was well for a few weeks, until my girl who is neither stupid nor, well, chicken kept breaking out and exploring the Great Beyond – the yard. This began the week of Chicken Discontent, where one girl, who we have dubbed “The Brain” (What are we gonna do tomorrow night, Brain? Same thing we do every night Pinky – try to take over the world!) roamed the yard with impunity, while the others stood at the fence and yelled at her in jealous frustration.
So, we let them out into the yard. They l.o.v.e.d. it, but the real winners were my dogs. Oh man. They just run from window to window to window, tracking the poultry-in-motion. I don’t have to look to know where the girls are in the yard, I can see by which window the dogs are staring out. Being the what-would-happen-next kind of person I am, I wanted to see how the dogs would do with the chickens out.
The first time out, I thought it was going very well. My dogs are really good at “with me” where they walk very near where I am. And they did stay “with me”, until one of the chooks tried to flap up to the top of the feeder. It was on. My littlest dog took off, and of course the two medium dogs weren’t about to let little Barkley have all the fun. Two girls cornered and upset, and a third missing a snout-full of tail feathers later, I had learned my lessons. We went inside, and I started to do my research.
I can’t ever let the dogs out alone with the chickens. Never. No matter how good I think they are doing. Their base nature is to chase and catch, and the chickens’ base nature is to run and then be caught.
I can’t let them fixate on the chickens. I have to watch for the staring, dead still behavior that says, I am thinking about how much fun it is going to be to chase and playing the chase and capture over and over and over and over in my head. OOOOOOOOOOOO….
If they start to show any sneaky, looking-to-see-if-I-am-looking actions, they have to come right to me, and stay there.
If they start to head towards the chickens, even in their general direction, it is time to do something else. Throw the stick, tug, anything. Maybe even go inside for a break.
What is the point?
I have been wrestling again with the wanting-things-I-don’t-have issues. Specifically, lately, marriage. I am a single mom, and usually, life is good. I enjoy my boys and this time of our lives. I am fairly comfortable with life, and if I need help, I have a phone book to call a plumber or light-fixture fixer, or whatever.
But every so often, discontent creeps in. I want a partner, a companion, a love. I want someone to talk about the day with or watch the game with or figure out the bills or to be in charge of checking the oil. And you know, other stuff too. But mostly, I want that closeness, that knowing that in all the world, this person is your partner, they are special and they love you. I want someone who will pray for me.
And yet, life goes on. Usually. This week, a whole wide variety of things have come up, and the issues are brought to the forefront again and again. And I am jealous, and discontent and wanting something I don’t have. So what do I do?
Funny, there isn’t much difference between me and my dogs in this. I fixate. I imagine-loop how awesome it would be. I start thinking about chasing. (How many freaking commercials do we NEED for online dating? REALLY?) I read stupid romance novels (That just make me feel worse. I HATE window shopping), which brings around the does-anyone-see-me-reading-this-trash behaviors.
The warning signs are all there. I am living in my head, and my Master wants me to make a wiser choice. (I am not saying that pursuing a marriage relationship is wrong, at all. Just that God and I have had this talk, and IF it comes around for me, it can’t be because I chased after it or forced my will for a relationship into reality. I will play the hand He gave me, until He gives me another one. I tend to be pushy, so I get to be submit that natural make-it-happen-ness in this area also. I can’t pursue the earthly relationships as a priority over my heavenly one. ) And this applies, I believe to all of us, in all of those things that we want to do, but shouldn’t. James 4:17 says “For him who knows what is good, and does not do it, that to him is sin.” We all go through these stages, in one form or another, for the sins we are thinking about committing.
We fixate our eyes on the thing that we want. God wants us to fix our eyes on Him. Colossians 3:2 tells us to set our mind on the things above, not the earthly things.
I let my brain auto-loop how great I imagine it will be, I will feel, it will look, the praises (of me) will flow .. whatever it is. God tells us, when He is talking about living in the flesh and being at war in the spirit, to cast down our “vain imaginings” and anything that would be in conflict with Christ, and to take all of our thoughts captive in 2 Corinthians 10:5.
If I start feeling like I wouldn’t want to tell EVERYONE what I am doing, where my thoughts are, that I am being a jealous little snit in my heart by thinking (fill in the blank!), that is a HUGE warning sign that I am in the wrong place in my heart, my head and my soul. Do I want this on a billboard in Times Square? Then I probably need some prayer time and to check myself. Ecclesiastes 12:14 needs to be my go to verse here. Nothing I do, even the things in the secret of my home, or the secret of my heart, is secret from God. It is all subject to His judgment. The good news there is even the secret victories, the choices I make to be content, to submit my will to God’s, to pray for someone I don’t like, to tithe without complaining, things I might never tell another soul about … those are things done in secret, too, and God knows those things also. That is pretty cool.
When I start to feeling the nibblings of dissatisfaction with the many and amazing gifts I have rear up, I need to get back to my Master’s side and do something else. Something interactive, something that puts my eyes back on Him. I need to sing worship, or read my Bible. I need to phone a friend! Or take a walk and remind myself to see the beauty in the world He created. I need to spend time with someone He has put on my heart, or even do a chore that I know I have been putting off but needs done (everything you do with your hands be done to the glory of God). I am back to Phillipians 4:8 … taking the thoughts and things that do not honor God, and replacing them with the things that are pure,right, noble, praiseworthy, etc. I have to turn my mind in the right direction, by giving it the right directions!
And I need to know my limits, my boundaries, those things that are just not safe for me. If I struggle with gossip, I need to not put myself in a position to start “sharing news”. If I struggle with murder, sharp objects and people I am angry with shouldn’t be in the same room. (Joking, but you know?) I can’t ever be left alone with my strongest temptations. I need a friend willing to take a call, someone to be accountable to, and to be smart enough to not put myself in a situation where I might be my own worst enemy.
It is funny how God uses the daily things, the life things, to really reinforce the things He is teaching us. I think sometimes I see things clearer when I am able to see it play out in front of me, and I am so thankful that He does that for me so often. I am very much a relate it to something I know or give me a word picture kind of learner. His ways are timeless, and He will teach us if we are open to listening to what He is saying, and how He is saying it. Three brainless dogs, and some really smart chickens, and application for me, right in the middle of it.
God is good.