Lessons on Loyalty, from the Pup.

I learn many lessons from our mini-golden-doodle, “Mr. Darcy.”  The golden-retriever side of him is a loyal and comforting presence. The poodle side is a quick learner and anti-shedder. The “mini” aspect makes him just the right size for an active yet travel-friendly lifestyle.

God couldn’t have blessed us with a better dog.

Recently, I have been training Darcy on the etiquette of “stay.”

When I walk out the front door, he tends to rush ahead of me. He slithers out the door like a reptile before I get a foot out. This, of course, leads to a little bit of frustration and disappointment.

pup waiting

But lately, the eager pup has been curbing his enthusiasm in favor of loyalty. He walks behind me when I approach the door. When I open it, he sits.

Even if I hold the door wide open, he waits patiently for my invitation to “come.”

I feel so respected by this loyal gesture. I used to think that “loyalty” meant a person or pup would follow me anywhere. Now I am grasping the follow detail of that definition.

Before, Darcy wanted to go anywhere I was. But his readiness resembled mannerless contempt.

Now, his willingness paired with patience is a true picture of loyalty.

My Impatience:

I wish I had part golden-retreaver and a hint of poodle in my gene mixture. Mr. Darcy’s patience is a lesson I have yet to learn.

I tend to rush ahead in my relationship with God. He “opens the door” (aren’t we all too familiar with that statement?) and I rush through it. I forget to wait patiently for the invitation. Just because God has given me a glimpse of the journey ahead, doesn’t mean He is asking me to take the lead.

A verse in Psalms describes this well:

Psalm 123:2 Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maidservant to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to The Lord our God, until He is gracious to us.

My dog has re-phrased it for me slightly:

loyal puppy

I am so eager to be a part of Jesus’ work in the world. But my willingness prompts me to run ahead, take control, and “make it happen.” I don’t doubt Jesus wants me to be a part of His work. But He is asking for patience in my loyalty… to trust Him.

pup in bedUnfortunately, then I tend to swing to the extreme opposite: lazy and apathetic of God’s kingdom. Kicking back in my own little world, pursuing my own empire. Like the tired puppy I often find snuggled in our bed sheets when I get home.

Will I ever get a grasp on ready and waiting? How can I be faithful in the little things, yet always available to jump at the Holy Spirit’s invitation for something greater?

In a world of many distractions, I will fight hard to keep my eyes on The Lord, not just the exciting world through the “open door.”

Hopefully my pup will keep being a great example.

Are you struggling to wait for God’s invitation?

Join me in memorizing a verse or two on the subject. Which one is your favorite? Comment below or by clicking the “speech bubble” next to the title above.

Isaiah 40:31
But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

Psalm 27:13-14
I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living! Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!

James 5:7-8 
Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.

Proverbs 3:5-6 
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

Psalm 33:20-22 
Our soul waits for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. For our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name. Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us, even as we hope in you.

2 Peter 3:9
The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

Isaiah 30:18
Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him.

James 5:11 
Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.

Romans 5:3-4 
More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,

Psalm 130:5-6 
I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning.

Lamentations 3:25
The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.