Don’t Get in Your Own Way

Dogs interfere with their own progress on a regular basis. When I go to let Wiggles out of her crate, she routinely puts her paw on the door and holds it in place, not meaning to, just trying to help. She doesn’t realize that she is thwarting her own desire by getting too involved.

When I stand back and the crate door is unlatched, she stares at me as though I am keeping her in. All she has to do is let go of the door and it glides open.

Another routine block to progress is when I try to open a regular door and find bulldogs congregating around my ankles like cement blocks on four legs. The door won’t open. My legs can’t move except vertically. The dogs stare, wondering why the line for the bathroom is so long when the delay is caused by their own eager barrel bodies pressing against the door.

Unwittingly, they blockade themselves from the very object of their desires, and then they look at me with pitiful eyes that ask, “Why are you against us?” When they do budge enough for the door to be wedged open, they tumble through it like a cluster of clowns spilling out of a clown car at the circus.

When to take a step, when to make a move, when to speak, when to stay silent – we face these decisions every day. We rush forward when we should wait. We put our hands and mouths into situations that were never our business. We try too hard and throw stumbling blocks in our own paths.

Fear of losing out drives us to desperation. Overwhelming desire urges us to press and grab for what we think we absolutely must have right now.

In the Bible, James 4:2-3 speaks about our “lusts” (more modern word “desires”) and the problems we cause ourselves by pursuing them the wrong way. “Ye lust, and have not: ye kill and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.”

 Dogs’ desires are pretty obvious: food, water, shelter, exercise, affection, structure, safety, all basics. Human desires extend beyond the basics and our abilities to pursue our desires exceed what dogs can do for themselves. And that’s where we can get tripped up. There is a whole lot that we can pursue for ourselves flat out. We just have to be careful what the object of our pursuit is and that we don’t fall over our own feet.


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