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Baby Steps

Practicing taking it a step at a time and finding humor in the midst of house training a puppy. That’s Zoey our 3 month old Matese/poodle (Maltipoo) puppy pictured above. When I awake at night and it is dark and I am tired I get afraid that I have made a mistake getting another dog. She will never be house trained. There is probably a better living situation for her than with us. It’s daunting how quickly that fearful thinking can take over especially as night and when I am tired.

Today I was reminded of the 1991 comedy with Richard Dreyfuss and Bill Murray “What about Bob?”. It is “baby steps” that help the character Bob, played by Bill Murray, make changes. He doesn’t overcome all his fears at once. He takes “baby steps”. There are some good laughs as things get turned upside down in this movie and the patient seems to be better at adapting to life by using “baby steps” than the therapist who wrote the book.

In week 3 of our Weight Loss preaching series we are asking God to help us let go of the weight of fear and scarcity and have it replaced with joy and gratitude. Zoey is such a joy. I am grateful for what a sweet little puppy she is and how she and our older dog get along. Taking a deep breath, I remember she is still young and house-training takes time. Fear and scarcity can be so subtle and seductive.

Fear can compel to make rash decisions (just give the puppy away to a better home). Fear can create brutal judgments of ourselves and others ( how stupid to think getting a puppy so close to Christmas and in the winter is a good idea). Partnered with scarcity (there just isn’t enough time to work with Zoey on all of this) they can isolate and separate us from one another and what is really happening in the here and now ( I am tired, it’s late, she’s a puppy). Humor can help. Slowing down and asking for perspective also helps.

This morning I took the time to just watch the two dogs playing. The joy of a deep belly laugh lightens the darkness of fear and scarcity. Sharing our fears with others and asking for perspective lightens the burden. A reality check of the a situation and the other factors at play helps with the shift. Talking to real people about real things helps. Practicing gratitude in the midst of fear and scarcity makes the situation different.

Today I am taking “baby steps” about puppy training but I also want to be open to God guiding and directing me in my fears and scarcity around finances, getting things done at work and home, being a parent and a friend. In all of these places fear and scarcity can get their sharp claws stuck. To give God thanks and practice gratitude - the bills I get to pay are connected to the to have the services I have received, the goods I have gotten to us, and the house in which I live. This helps with the shift.

The baby step of gratitude for food to make for breakfast, the sun shining and remembering a funny movie turns the fear and scarcity upside down, a baby step at a time. In December when we practiced the ABC’s of gratitude I felt a shift. Even as there was lots of extra work and things going on at home and a new puppy I felt lighter. Fear and scarcity didn’t weigh me down. Judgment which is so heavy was replaced by connection as others shared their gratitude.

As I finish writing this Zoey sleeps peacefully in her kennel. All is well and all will be well. Today I am going to take some baby steps and get back on my radar the connection that happens when I give God thanks in all situations, open to how God is alive and at work in even the smallest of ways. We get to hear the first “sign” in John’s gospel this weekend (John 2:1-11) in worship when Jesus changes water into wine. It is abundant. Even as there was fear that the wine was running out, there was plenty- even the best wine at the end. Join me in practicing gratitude in whatever circumstance you find yourself today trusting God is with us in all times and in all places.

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