If you’re on Instagram, you’ve probably noticed the proliferation of cat and dog photos. That’s okay, since it’s a subject obviously near and dear to the owner’s heart. I even wrote a children’s book about my dog—ready for this??—in Swedish, for my Swedish granddaughter.
(Sidebar—Yes, I’m trying to learn Swedish, such a beautiful language. I use my vocabulary words, plus a few others to fill in the blanks, to write primary-style stories along the lines of “See Jane. See Jane run.” Because that’s about the level of my Swedish. So why not write about my dog, along with photos?)
One of the wonderful things about dogs, we are told, is that they live in the now. There’s no worrying about tomorrow or fretting over yesterday. For them, it’s a total embracing of present tense, in every encounter, every situation.
I need to pay attention to that. For example:
“The Lord is my Shepherd…”
…is present tense, in every situation, every encounter, every time. But the next line does speak of the future:
“I shall not want.”
Let’s be real—I want a lot of things. I want all of my family to know and serve Jesus. I want my driveway and walkway to be re-paved so nobody turns an ankle walking up to my back door, (including me!) I want Bob and I to be productive in our eminent retirement.
And the list goes on…but I’m sure you have yours also.
However, because the Lord is my very present-tense Shepherd, my future-tense is also secure. Like my dog, I can live fully in today rather than wasting precious emotional energy fretting about all the tomorrows.
Granted, that takes faith, which presupposes a grounded relationship. And any quality relationship takes mental discipline—so,…what am I choosing to dwell on? (Selah.)
Like most, my mind seems to more easily default to what I want, rather than what I have. I’m not just talking about a grateful heart here, which naturally is very important to a productive state of mind. Beyond that, it’s about taking a practical inventory of the Heavenly resources available to me, most of which I’m barely aware of:
“…and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,…”
Which is followed up in a few verses later by:
“Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,…”
“Now”, as in right now, present tense. Not when I get the rest of my act together; by contrast, it’s because of this truth that I can get my act together, since it’s not just my act anymore—it’s God’s. That includes what I (think I) want and what I (think I) need.
In my current situation, my dog has no problem running to the door over the crooked pavement. Pretty good analogy, that. Until the sidewalk is fixed, (as well as the other things in my life), I’ll tread wisely, and trust God to keep my feet steady.
(P.S. For some good reading, check out Joyce Meyer’s Battlefield of the Mind.)
Ephesians 1:6,19 Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.