Do you ever feel like your sanctification is on parade for other people’s entertainment?
Mornings like the one I had today have caused me to consider its possibility.
In order for my story to have any meaning, you must understand three important facts:
1. We own three dogs…three very badly behaved dogs. They don’t listen when they are called. They run away when you attempt to ‘capture’ them. They bark at everything and everyone. They possess absolutely no common sense.
2. On Thursday, our pool cleaner comes to service the pool. He usually leaves the gate to the front yard open while he is here. Our dogs hate the pool cleaner. Hate. When dogs become possessed by hate, they become even worse behaved. Today is Thursday.
3. We live on a quiet street. Very little traffic, EXCEPT for school mornings between the hours of 7:30 to 8:30. During this hour, affluent parents–the kind that you might find pictures of in magazines–drive through our neighborhood to drop off their children at a small private school. You get the picture, right?
So, with those facts in place, the story begins with me enjoying my last cup of coffee, in bed, still snuggled in my pajamas, clinging to my last string of peace and calm. Then I hear it; the unmistakable bark of the dogs cornering our poor pool guy. The last time this happened, one dog was so overcome with panic he ran into the pool and yes, I had to jump in for the rescue. At this point, I’m figuring said pool guy is setting up the tripod for his camcorder so he can capture the circus and share it with the world on YouTube.
There’s no time to put on clothes, so I grab the first jacket I can find as I run downstairs for the dramatic rescue. By the time I reach the patio, the dogs are in a full force attack.
I call their name. No response. I call again. The pool guy looks at me and his face says everything, “Oh my goodness, what is this woman wearing???!!!” Then the dog with the fastest legs and the least intelligence looks at me, possibly scared by my attire he makes a bee-line for the open gate.
I’ve no choice but to pursue him. As I reach the front yard, what I have feared my whole life comes upon me: I am back in 7th Grade, sitting in a class of Vogue-ready peers and I am in my pajamas–not the beautiful, Ritz-Carlton variety, but the ratty, worn, unflattering, you-should-have-ditched-them-years-ago-but-you-love-them-too-much kind.
As the dog dodges in and out of luxury cars driven by perfect people, I chase him wondering, “Just how tall is my rooster tail? Will it cause an eclipse?” “Are my underwear darker than my pajama bottoms? Oh my gosh, what underwear AM I wearing?” “How much is this jacket actually covering?” “I don’t need shoes. I took a redneck class on how to go barefoot and be beautiful. The chipped nail polish is part of the appeal.” “Oh, fabulous. Fancy meeting you here, long lost friend. Yes, let’s do catch up over coffee. I’ll be dressed in a hour.” “Oh no, I don’t need any help. You all just sit there in your cars enjoying the show. Can I bring you some popcorn to increase your viewing pleasure?” “Please take note of my car in the driveway. I didn’t park it in the garage so that you could all take note of me in the weeks to come as I drive around. Remember this moment. Relive its joy!”
And in one moment, I come face to face with how much pride still resides in my heart. I am ashamed of how much I value my image. Mind you, not the image of God in me that has gone completely unmarred by this event. No, I’m undone by the image of man which I so tightly manage with composure and ill-fated attempts at perfection.
…and I’m wishing I didn’t own dogs. But then who knows what God would have to use to humble me.
How about you? What brings you face to face with where you are resisting God’s work in your life? Not sure? My dogs are for rent.