(The five most exciting words your dog will ever hear.)
We tried a new path recently in our neighborhood. As anyone knows, taking a new path is an adventure. You never know what you will encounter.
Mud. We encountered lots and lots of mud.
Our greatest mud pits are often our greatest opportunity for growth. And the mud is everywhere. It is on my jeans, my shoes, and of course…. the dog. But the dog loved it. He loved getting messy because he knew getting messy was part of the process.
The spiritual life is messy. Quite frankly, anything worth a hoot is messy. Friendship is messy. Marriage is messy. Parenting is messy. To see anything beautiful and awesome, we have to venture through the mess. Our towns were not built in one day. Our churches have not survived because of countless board meetings. Our families do not thrive because of the Kodak moments we post on Facebook at Thanksgiving and Christmas. Our marriages were not completed because we had a storybook wedding.
Walking the dog daily has opened my eyes to several things I would miss while sitting at home.
We only see as much around us as we are open to. If you walk a dog, they see everything! My dog loves to stare at squirrels and anything that moves within a 5 mile radius. In our spiritual journey, we need to be aware of who is in our lives. We need to be aware of our influence on others as well as their influence on us. What path are you blazing?
We are very comfortable people. We like to do the same thing all the time and you know what the definition of insanity is: doing the same thing over and over and. To grow spiritually or in any capacity, we must be open to new ways of experiencing God and others. Jesus never told his disciples to just park their butts in the Temple; He told them to go OUT!
The hardest part is showing up. Our daily dog walks might bring about something that we are not prepared for. What if it rains? What if I lose track of time and am late to work? What if we encounter Sasquatch doing yoga in the field? We live in a world of “what-ifs” and many media outlets thrive on fear-based news reporting. The hardest part about the spiritual life---is showing up and being vulnerable.
An open heart and mind are a dangerous tool for God in changing the world.