Yes, that’s me. And my brother. And my dog, Bogie. So you can see, there was a time that dogs didn’t strike fear into my heart. One defining day changed the course of my affection towards dogs, forever. Well, maybe not forever. We’ll see.
It was time to leave for Grandma’s house, and my mom sent me next door to retrieve my dad so we could leave. I buoyantly skipped over to my dad, taking the shortest route possible. Unfortunately for me, the route was right through the chained up neighbor’s dogs path. I’m not sure when things started to go wrong; but, apparently, the dog felt offended that I had innocently wandered into his territory. Coming up from behind, he seemed to take joy in munching on my legs and caboose.
While my surface wounds healed quite well, I don’t think I ever fully recovered from that incident. But, does that really have to be the end of the story? The big dog hurt me and now I’m scared of dogs forever. Period.
I surely hope not. Who wants to be defined by the circumstances of my life?
So, as I’m sitting this afternoon on my friend’s porch alone, except for their Shepherd mix, I’m consciously deciding how much I want to be free of the shackles of fear. It’s not the first time I’ve gone through this scenario. Overcoming fear isn’t a one time choice. It’s continuing to make the right choice time and time again. Scripture is replete with references to fear. Is. 41:10 gives clear instructions on with to do with fear. “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
Avoiding the uncomfortable situations isn’t the answer. Neither is sitting and fretting about the size of the dog’s teeth when I’m in an uncomfortable situation. God clearly says, “Do not fear.” Then He gives reasons why.
- He is with me. How amazing is that? My creator, who knows every kink about me, is with me?!
- He is my God. He is God. He has the ability to help.
- He promises strength and help. He wants to help me!
- He will hold me with his righteous right hand. He is comforting and protecting me.
All that is well and good in my head, but it doesn’t become reality in my heart until I choose to believe He is God and will protect me. I choose to not listen to my emotions; but I reach out and say, “Nice doggie, nice doggie” and confidently pet the said dog. When, every fiber in my body really just wants to walk backwards away from the dog to safety. Safety being anywhere the dog isn’t.
So, maybe that day in the dog’s path won’t change my life forever. Actually, I know it won’t. “Nice doggie, nice doggie.”