Teddy is our beautiful Shetland sheepdog. He has been a part of our family for 12 years now. Our son inherited Teddy when he was just a puppy of 9 months old from a friend, and by default we inherited him when our son got married and left the nest. It’s a good thing, as I’ve grown quite a fondness for this furry companion.
While you could never tell by looking at him and as I’ve made reference to above, Teddy’s closing in on 13 years of age. His advanced years have slowed him down quite a bit. On most days, you will find him sleeping on the tile floor in our bathroom, entryway or kitchen – typically smack dab in the center of where you need to walk. He can’t hear a thing so asking him to get out of the way is a futile endeavor. I’d think it was selective listening given my experience with teenagers, but he doesn’t come when I call him for dinner or to take a walk either so I guess his deafness is legitimate.
We live in a tri-level house with lots of stairs. Teddy wants to be wherever the people are so up and down the stairs he goes multiple times a day, in spite of the difficulty he has navigating them.
Over the past couple of months, I noticed he would sometimes collapse as he tried to make his way up the stairs. Occasionally he would even need my assistance in order for him make it to the top. Poor guy. I even noticed he didn’t seem to want to stand on his front paws. He would constantly be shifting back and forth from one foot to the other.
Recently, I took a trip to the veterinarian for a follow-up appointment for him regarding some medication he was taking. During the examination, the doctor discovered a hard piece of tape stuck in between the pads of Teddy’s foot. She pulled it out declaring “Well, maybe that’s the problem.” I felt terrible. I had no idea this object was wedged in there. Amazingly, he hasn’t collapsed on the stairs since the tape was removed and he’s not shifty on his front paws anymore. He even trotted a little bit when I took him for a walk around the block.
This tiny foreign object was hindering him from doing the simplest things. It caused me to reflect on my own life and ask the Lord, “What is hindering me? What is in my life that doesn’t belong?”
Lately, it’s been a lot of worry and fear. I have been carrying something that is not mine to carry and just like the vet took that small piece of tape out of Teddy’s paw, the Lord has taken the worry and fear that I’ve given to him and it has allowed me to be freer, walk a little lighter and sleep a lot more soundly.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.” Heb. 12:1
We’re not required to run anybody else’s race – only the race God has set before us. I pray that we would have eyes to see the things that are slowing us down in our marathon, and that we would willingly give those hindrances to God for a faster, freer, more productive outcome!