I have this weird dream I’d like to confess. I love dogs and after having to give away our dog a few years ago, I’d eventually love to own another. But, because of all the downsides of dog ownership, like actually having to care for the dog, I’m not pushing to purchase one anytime soon. But, I have this dream. I’m pulling in my driveway and a dog randomly walks up to me, kind of like God is specifically sending me a dog. I take it home and it turns out to be the best dog ever! It loves my kids, loves everybody, never barks, always potties outside, is smart, and is just flat-out the best dog I could have ever dreamed of. I don’t really want to go get a dog on my own, but I’m secretly waiting for God to send me this dream dog. There, I said it- don’t judge.
Here’s the strange thing, I’ve found 3 dogs in the last 2 years. Twice I’ve come home and there was a random dog in my yard. I immediately thought- could this be the dog God is sending me? Could this be my perfect dream dog? Both dogs were a little weird looking, but I was willing to give God the benefit of the doubt if, in fact, they were the dog. But, alas, both dogs had semi-grateful owners to whom they were returned.
About a year ago, I found another dog, but it was quite a different scenario. My kids and I drove in our driveway and there in our backyard was this cute little white terrier. It watched us pull in, almost like it had been there waiting. Of course I immediately wondered, “Could this be the dog?” My 3 kids and I got out and I told them to stay back. I began to softly say, “Hey little guy, come here.” It stared at me with its beady little eyes and began barking aggressively. As it inched towards us I quickly told my kids to get in the house while I continued my dog-helping endeavor. I threw the dog a marshmallow or two in hopes of winning its favor. It ignored my gift assuming it was poison and decided it was time to attack. I ran inside for safety. As soon as I entered the house I realized two things. First, I needed to be somewhere within the hour and second, Kujo the terrier was definitely not the dog from God.
I considered sneaking out the back, but the dog was on to me. As soon as I opened the back door it would run toward the door barking. I contemplated opening the door and punting the dog, or attempting to knock it out by whacking it with the door, but couldn’t bring myself to harm little Kujo. So, I called the police. It was awkward as the operator asked me to describe the dog, assuming it was some big, rottweiler-type beast. I had to explain to her that it was actually a small, white, fluffy terrier. But, it seemed very upset and was presently focusing all its inner angst towards ending my life with its tiny teeth. Soon the police officer arrived and saved our lives from the angry little animal and I arrived where I needed to be on time.
Why do I hold on to this silly dream that God will swoop down and magically send me the perfect dog? If I really wanted a dog, why not just go buy one? And why do I even make my potential dog ownership somehow God’s responsibility?
This idea goes beyond dogs in my life. You see fairy tales don’t only reside in Disney movies, they also live in my heart and influence my hopes for God. I often spiritualize inaction by talking about waiting on God, but that’s not the truth. Sometimes I’m afraid or just don’t want responsibility for my future. I want God to magically bring me a basket of blessings. And as I’m presently pursuing potential employment, I’d much rather God send someone a dream or speak from a burning bush, informing them to find and hire me, than I would actively seek one on my own. Is that too much to ask?
What about you? What weird dreams do you have for God? What are you waiting for Him to magically do in your life? Are you waiting for a sign that you should end the relationship, or go back to school, or follow your ambition, or start a church, or leave your job? If you’re a church planter, are you waiting for God to magically send you money and people? Is there something you believe you should do, but you’re waiting for your fairy-tale sign from God to come?
Maybe, instead of waiting, you just need to go do what you know you need to do. Maybe you’re just putting off what God has already told you to do. What if what you really need to do is stop blaming God and start doing what you already know you need to? Ask that person out. Apply to the job. Ask for the promotion. Say no. Say yes. Take that risk. In a conference last week one speaker asked the question, “What would you do if you could do anything and there was no risk of failure?” There’s a good chance you already know what you need to do, you’re just afraid to fail. Go do that thing.
As for me, I am not going to buy a dog. My neighbors and local police can keep little Kujo, and all the other potential Kujos for now. When the time comes to get another dog, I won’t expect God to send one down the street. Instead, I’ll ask His help as I look for one like a normal person. Lesson learned.