We’re All Rescue Dogs
So we got a dog. That in and of itself is not a remarkable or shocking statement.
Unless you know me.
I am a planner. I have been curating a list of acceptable dog breeds on my “Possible Pups” Pinterest board for six years. We were thinking of spring so that we could do potty breaks in temperatures that didn’t rival Antarctica. I was thinking small breed. The more that the dog looked like an actual stuffed teddy bear the better. Bonus points if it had mini or munchkin in the name.
Alas, Babette (Betty), the rescue poodle was not what I had envisioned or planned. She was not pictured on my Pinterest. She is not in anyway mini or munchkin. And we brought her into our home during the Polar Freaking Vortex.
This girl comes with some baggage and trauma. She clings. Her weirdly human-esque eyes seem to reflect my own anxieties, and it unnerves. She also stress poops whenever we leave her alone. So there’s that.
But the whole thing has me thinking that when left to my own devices, I often exhibit rescue dog behaviors (bowel movements excluded, thank you v. much).
I may not have to be sitting directly on top of someone to feel safe, but I will cling to people or things for comfort. I can become untethered and tossed about. Insecure and destructive. Internal pacing and external numbing. No amount of freedom and love seems to erase past traumas.
See, we’ve been rescued. Betty has been rescued. God rescued the Israelites in the OT. My salvation in Jesus Christ has rescued me. We have been delivered. Set free. We are no longer slaves. We have a Jehovah-Jireh-a God who provides manna and quail and water. We have a God who physically came to guide us in the form of fire and cloud and baby and Spirit. We don’t need to flinch at the waves of the sea because we have a God who will calm it and part it and call us to have faith to walk with Him.
We don’t have to wander aimlessly or chew the furniture or stress poop in the desert. Metaphorically speaking, of course.
When we feel alone, we aren’t. When the path seems winding and scary, God remains sovereign. When past tragedy haunts and seems more comfortable and familiar than the uncertainty of starting over fresh, God is patient. He plays the long game. He will bring our good and His glory even if it looks weird or wrong or impossible. Even if it takes longer than necessary.
I have trauma in my past. Stuff has happened to me. Hard, scarring, sad–Sarah Mclachlan playing in the background–stuff. I know I am not alone in that. I’m not sure anyone can make it to the end without experiencing some sort of trauma at one point or another.
For me and my personality type (#enneagram1), that trauma has led to anger–specifically resentment. It manifests as a hyperactive, manic need to do what is right and good and just–according to me and my value system. Anything else is unacceptable…even when that something else is God’s perfect plan. It becomes too easy to revisit the suffering and wander back to bondage. To chafe against the rescuer who saved me. To doubt the goodness of God when the wilderness/Promised Land seems scary and new and wrong.
I’m sure our dog, Betty, has missed her crappy old life at times this week. My kids are loud and weird and spazzy. I get it. I’ve been there.
But I want to learn to accept God’s good. I want to acclimate to joy instead of hunkering down in old hurts. My heart’s desire is to be secure in Egypt and the wilderness and the Promised Land. To be hopeful wherever God has me despite the circumstance. To be thankful for detours and false starts and what seem like disappointments because they aren’t a mistake or an accident. To acknowledge our Savior and be filled with peace. Full stop.
Betty will get there because despite it all we love her just as she is. She never has to go back to a cramped cage in a smoky, old trailer. She has been purchased and no amount of anxiety induced pooping will change that. We will take care of her and indulge her clinginess. We won’t take it personally when she flinches at our touch. We know where she has been and where she comes from. We understand. We will be patient and kind and gentle even in discipline and redirection.
Just like God with us. I am blessed to be one of His twitchy, anxious rescue kids (if only they made this bumper sticker, amirite?! No? Okay.). I am not a Pinterest worthy, designer pup. I have a back story and idiosyncrasies. And I have been chosen and adopted and loved anyway.
Betty and I are in this together. Moving on from the past and relearning trust. Focusing on the rescuer instead of what we’ve been rescued from.