My German Shepherd, Lily, is the happiest playing in a doggie park. She loves them so much that when I utter the words doggie park, she’ll run to the door leading to my garage, waiting expectantly to be transported to a canine’s version of heaven on earth. Knowing those two words trigger her, I’ve developed the habit of saying LP (for La Paws) and CB (for Central Bark) so there is no disappointment if we aren’t headed for one.
Once in the park, Lily runs, romps and plays with all her canine friends, but she has this sweet habit. About every ten minutes, she’ll stop what she is doing and come back to me no matter where I am in the park. She doesn’t stay long. She holds my gaze for a second, then scampers off for a new doggie adventure. However, in that brief moment, I feel she’s telling me, “Just checking in. I know you’re here with me, but I’m just checking in.”
While I’m told this is part of the breed’s characteristic sense of loyalty, my dog is modeling for me what I should be doing with God. I want to walk with God. I want to journey through my days in tender, thoughtful conversation with Him. I want to be aware of His divine presence always mindful He is walking with me; that when I pray, He hears me. And when I’m scared or overwhelmed, He protects me.
It is far too easy to get seduced by the busyness of the day. The singular focus required to accomplish my tasks takes over and the hours slip by without me checking in. I forget that my life, my very happiness, is held together by Him. My deepest desire is to become like Lily, to stop what I am doing and take the time to say, “God, I know You are here. I’m holding my hand out to you. I want to walk with You. I’m just checking in.”
One thing I’ve learned is that I can’t do life alone. Inviting God into my life if even for brief moments throughout the day moves me from trying to proof my worth to Him to accepting His profound love for me. It is a lesson I need to learn over and over again. More conversation with God creates a holy strength in me. It allows me to do His work, to fulfill His purpose for me. We are called to love, to shower others with that love and I can’t do that unless I connect with God to be renewed by His strength and grace.
So I’m trying to develop the habit of circling back to God throughout my day. When I do, even in tiny moments of prayer, my life is transformed by Him. In an instant, I am grounded with the reality of His love for me because through these holy encounters I see the work of God around me. In those prayers, I show my trust and love for Him; the gratitude I feel for His grace. Life no longer wears me out so much. Because when I invite Him into my life, He answers with love, connection and communion with Him.