It was a typical day with everyday activities. I had just finished my two-mile power walk/jog/flight with my 90-pound dog, Mitch. It was time for the cool-down stroll with my old, little beagle, Tippy. After all the many days of rain, she seemed a little stiff and sluggish, but nothing unusual. Determined not to wear her out with too much activity at once, I decided to cut down a side street, trimming our walk nearly in half.
We walked along, taking in the scenery and watching for traffic. The sound of yapping alerted us to two small dogs tied up in the yard we were about to pass. Tippy paused, assessing the danger to both me and herself. After being assured that the dogs couldn’t get us, she continued her walk, but stopped short when she spotted “it.” I had already seen the unusual sight and had turned around to witness Tippy’s reaction. Her entire body went rigid. Her ears sloped forward. Her eyes focused on the sight she just couldn’t figure out. There, in the yard with the two dogs, was a HUGE white duck. No pool. No cage. Nothing. Just a white duck waddling around the yard.
Unfortunately, Tippy hadn’t quite figured things out before the duck spotted her. The duck charged after her. I pulled on the leash, coaxing Tippy to follow me to safety. She’d walk three steps and then turn around to look at the duck. Walk three steps; turn around and look. Walk three steps; turn around and look. Obviously, the duck was gaining on us. I tried to use soothing words with Tippy, assuring her that I was going to take care of her. “Just follow me,” I pleaded. “I won’t let it get you, but you’ve got to keep walking.” She finally caught on and followed my directions. It wasn’t long before we were safely out of Daffy’s reach.
Many times in life, we’re sidetracked from our journey because we’re too busy looking back. Focusing on past mistakes. Second-guessing past decisions. Mourning wasted time or money. And often, waiting for all those things to finally catch up with us. And, like Tippy, instead of trusting the guidance of our Master, we feel the need to keep looking back. Unfortunately, each turn back only leads us closer to danger–the danger of losing our way and getting off track.
It’s time we stop looking back and instead listen to the gentle voice of our Savior as He whispers, “Just follow me. I won’t let it get you, but you’ve got to keep walking.” The choice is ours–follow the Shepherd or dodge the ducks!
Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 3:13-14
*This article is an excerpt from ‘Paws’itively Divine: Devotions for Dog Lovers and is posted in memory of Tippy, who passed away at the ripe, old age of 15 on Monday, 12-28-15. She will forever be loved and remembered!
What do you have to look forward to in the new year? What steps can you take to stop looking back?