When It’s Time to Back Away

by Carol


I didn’t really want a dog.

I’m not a pet person. But something about the floppy ears and the big brown eyes even melted this always-sanitize-after-petting girl. Don’t buy me an “I love my Lab” t-shirt yet, but I will admit I strongly like my dog – most of the time.

My husband recently installed an underground electric fence. Our poor pooch, Comet, gets a little jolt any time she comes near the gates of our wooden fence. That Houdini of a dog has escaped the backyard more times than I can count and once was caught by animal control. So we had to do something to keep her safe.

We didn’t want her getting hit by a car or bit by a wolf. In our backyard, we have a three-story playhouse where Comet loves to climb to the top and spy on the neighbor’s dog. In the corner are giant bushes and trees where she can tromp and look for birds to chase. There is plenty room to run and stretch her legs. Our yard is a virtual playground for dogs.

Even though we tried to keep her in the fence where life was safe and easy, Comet insisted on digging out.

So we laid an “invisible” fence. The first day we turned on the electric fence, Comet ran towards the line and learned quickly she made a wrong choice. I heard a sad and scared howling yelp come from our sweet puppy. Two more times I heard that same cry as she learned her boundaries. It broke my heart.

The same way it breaks God’s when I push the boundaries He’s set for me.

Our Heavenly Father, knowing what is best, gives us some limits – set forth in His Word. God’s parameters aren’t meant to confine, but to give freedom. Everything we need is provided. He is only trying to protect us from harm.

So, why do we insist on digging?

As I looked out the window today, I noticed Comet walk up to the invisible fence line and stop a few feet short. Staring for a while, she must have been considering her options. Then she turned and walked away.

I never thought I’d say this, but I’m learning something from my dog. There’s a time to eat. A time to chase balls. A time to lay in the sun. And there’s a time to back away from the fence.

What do you need to back away from today?

I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out your precepts. Psalm 119:45 NIV

Email Author    |    Website About Carol

Carol is a sassy southern mama who loves Jesus and isn’t afraid to shout it. Ask her why she loves the Lord and be prepared to sit a spell. Carol encourages women to live out Matthew 25:40 by serving the "least of these." Learn more about becoming the Everyday Missionary at her blog Sheep to the Right or connect with her on Twitter.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Dawn January 17, 2013 at 12:50 am

Aw! Love this- I love my dog and ya know…they eventually steal your heart and teach lots of those lessons! Great post! Thanks. Smiling and if I had a tail it would be wagging approval!


2 Carol Hatcher January 17, 2013 at 9:03 am

Thanks Dawn! I “ruff” your comment. 😉


3 Susie Klein January 17, 2013 at 1:55 pm

Great post and perfect message. Your dog will probably be providing more lessons and blogging material than you know. That awful yelp is heartbreaking I know. We did something similar with our pooch and it was a tough few days, but the lesson was learned.
Too bad we humans are much more stubborn!


4 Carol January 17, 2013 at 4:10 pm

Thank you Susie. Between three kids and a dog, I have enough writing material for a lifetime. That’s for sure! I’m happy to report that Comet has learned her limits and hasn’t been shocked in a while. You are so right – too bad we can’t learn that quick!


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