She was so small.
I found Daisy on Craigslist when she was 6 weeks old. She was the smallest in the litter, and the only female left. While her brothers and sisters swarmed the community food bowl, she shyly stood to the side. On the drive home, she sat in my lap, shivering and snuggling against me. She is no longer shy, but she still snuggles with me each day.
I’m not 100% sure of her exact mix. I know there’s German Shepherd in there. And some type of Labrador. The vet has suggested Husky as a possibility because Daisy sheds in handfuls, which is not typical of labs or German shepherds. (When Daisy sheds, she SHEDS. You’d think three dogs lived with me rather than one).
I can see the characteristics of each of these breeds in Daisy’s appearance and personality. Her coloring and face shape show the German shepherd in her. Her friendliness and playfulness show the lab. Her intelligence and loyalty – German shepherd. Her eagerness to please – lab.
One trait I have always loved about Daisy, though, is her ears. When she was a puppy, they were very floppy. I always hoped that they would stay floppy, rather than the pointy ears that german shepherds typically have. What happened is even better, though. They are not completely floppy, and they don’t really stand up either. Mostly, they go straight out to the side, somewhere in between floppy and pointy. I just love it. As if she wasn’t unique enough already, there’s one more thing that makes my sweet girl perfectly distinct.
I love looking at pictures from when Daisy was a puppy and remembering how small and cute she was. She’s still cute – but not nearly as small. When she was a puppy, she used to hide under the bed when she got scared. I still remember the last time she tried to get under the bed. She got stuck halfway, with her tail sticking out. And she panicked. I calmed her down enough to get her out from under the bed, and she never tried to get under there again. Daisy had no idea how big she had gotten. These days, she has to be more creative when she hides from the big scary noises outside. Most of the time, she hides in the bathroom. She even got in the shower with me once. While she was with my parents this summer, she got really creative and somehow wedged herself behind my tv stand. They were looking all over the house for her.
Here’s my point – We are not always good at seeing ourselves accurately. Growth – change, good or bad – tends to happen so slowly that we don’t really recognize it. We can easily get frustrated thinking we aren’t making any progress. We can just as easily get complacent, thinking we are doing okay when we aren’t. We don’t notice when we’ve started down a path that will have bad outcomes, when we’ve grown beyond our current situation, or even when we are steadily, but slowly, growing into a healthier person. We need community – strong, wise, Christ-centered – community to help us see ourselves with accuracy.
Are you steadily growing? The process may feel slow, but you know that you are getting stronger and healthier with each day? Celebrate! Saturate yourself with Truth and take the next step with confidence.
Do you feel stuck? You know you’ve outgrown where you are, but don’t know where to go next? Evaluate where you were a year ago. Decide where you want to be a year from now. Make a realistic yet ambitious plan to reach that goal.
Are you on a path that you don’t want to be on? Ask yourself the hard questions (and give honest answers) about how you got there. Redirect yourself by making changes, and determine to follow-through.
Regardless of where you are, though, find community to journey with you. Like-minded, wise, and reliable people who will encourage you and challenge you. Who you can also encourage and challenge. Leave me a comment below. I’d love to be part of your community. And I invite all of you to be part of mine.
The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.
Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.
Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.