I ticked off some ducks today, I didn’t just make them mad I seriously ticked them off. The pond was teaming with them, I have never seen so many ducks at that pond before, and they were none to happy see me and my 90 pound dog nipping at my heels to get in the water. There were some near window shattering squawks, wings flapping and flailing as my lone ranger Whitney fought to the finish with these Navy Seals of the duck world as to who owned what corner of the pond, in the end each party retreated to the furthest corners and as far away from each other as possible and agreed to disagree.
We are heading into a new series at church, the me I want to be, becoming the you God created you to be. I sat at the pond that afternoon, while Whitney was working out her differences with the ducks, reading the first chapter of the book, Learning Why God Made You, and I thought about my Whitney. God teaches some through their children, He teaches me through my dog. Whitney is a Chesapeake Bay Retriever, she is a water dog, a bird hunter, too bad for the ducks at the pond that afternoon, ha? It doesn’t matter the body of water, a pond, a river, a stream, the neighbors swimming pool, a bubble bath, if it is water she will find a way to get to it and doesn’t care who is occupying it at the time, she is more than willing to join in the fun. She has an oily, wavy, wiry type coat that some liken to a brillo pad that dries very quickly and keeps the water from touching her skin, even in the dead of winter she breaks through the ice to go for a swim and doesn’t feel a thing.
She is doing what she was made to do and she has been provided with everything she needs to do it. The coat that protects her from the elements, the strong sturdy frame that enables her to swim very long distances and break through the ice if necessary, ears that sit higher on her head so water doesn’t get in them, and even when it looks to the outside world that perhaps it is not such a good idea, like going for a swim in January, she is doing what she was meant to do and she has been equipped with what she needs to do it. Whitney doesn’t try to be anything else, she doesn’t try to be a yellow lab or black lab or golden retriever, Whitney just tries to be the best Chesapeake Bay Retriever she can be, and she is succeeding very well at it.
As humans can we say the same thing? I did not adopt a retriever hoping she would turn into a Dachshund, if I wanted a Dachshund I would have gotten one, and God doesn’t do that either. He doesn’t create us then hope we turn out to be like the girl that occupies the office next door and he doesn’t want us to try to be, if he wanted you to be like her he would have created you that way. He created you to be in this time and this place you are his handiwork created to do a good work that he has prepared in advance.
Whitney was created for the water that is the work she has been prepared for, that is where she is the best version of herself, so the water is where I take her, and although a walk is sufficient the water is where she shines. It hasn’t has always been like that, it took years of training. It was hard for her and even harder for me, although I always kept her in my sights I let her wander off and loose sight of me, she got herself into some predicaments and it wasn’t easy to stand back and not rush in as my tiny girl was yelping and crying for me to come rescue her, but eventually she learned that as long as she kept me in her sights she would always be safe, she had to learn to hear my voice and listen to my commands and as long she did that she would be safe. Sometimes I would have to go in a shake some things loose when I knew she wasn’t going to be able to free herself on her own but I still let her struggle to get out of whatever it was she got herself into. She has proven to me that she can be trusted off leash, but not without a lot of training. These days I can let her go far and be the dog was she meant to be and she is enjoying the freedom she gets when she obeys, but I am still always watching and I know she is keeping her eye on me. I test her every once in a while, I will go hide in the bushes and start counting to see how long it takes, I have never gotten past five before she is poking her head through the branches wagging her tail like she just won the ultimate prize in our game of hide and seek. Gosh, that story sounds familiar.
God also wants his children to be the best version of themselves not just be sufficient but to shine in the places that we were created to shine, and it is going to take some training to get there and when we mess with the bad stuff there are consequences. It is not to keep us from anything good, it is to protect us from the bad and steer us to the place where we can be our best, the place where we can shine, the place we were created for. He doesn’t want to change who he created you to be, he wants you to be the best version of the person he had in mind when he created you, to do the good works he has prepared in advance. Keep your eyes above, learn to hear his voice, obey his commands because that is the place where you will be safe and start to become the best version of yourself and taken to the place where you were meant to shine.
For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Disclaimer: there were no animals injured in the making of this story.
I have a fun song for you today, feeling so fly by Toby Mac