The gentle leader

There’s a new buzz word in the Conrad home as of a week ago.  Our four-legged, furry family member was in need of a new type of training.  You see, over the past few weeks, our dear canine one has been gaining strength, and with this strength he is gaining greater independence, and even tolerance.  On our walks, he would become so easily distracted by the immediate need to gratify his curiously and even his desire to “meet and greet” other furry ones, that he pulled hard enough to continually choke himself, even to the point of gagging.  Thus, entering our new word…

The Gentle Leader

It’s an amazing invention, really.  I was told that dogs don’t like the way it pulls them.  Definitely evidenced as to how he has tried to “paw” off the contraption.  In fact, he still does, but has resigned himself to the fact that his efforts are in vain.  It must be worth it to him to obey his mater’s guidance and direction, because he does.  Really.  He no longer tugs, walks to the same pace, and responds the first time to redirection and even praise.  Time spent walking is peaceful and enjoyable, both for the dog and his master. 

I assumed that this would take some adjustment time, yet I noticed a drastic difference from the first time it was used.  With a slight tug and a verbal command, the dog responds.  What’s more noticeable to me is not only the first time obedience, but the clear command understanding.  By his response, he comprehends my guidance.  He responds to his set boundaries, he is safe, he hears more praise than correction.  Instead of impeding disaster, whether an approaching car, another approaching dog, or the distraction of a blowing leaf, he receives consistent feedback and he experiences freedom his boundaries.

My question for you is this:  Do you recognize your Master’s voice?  Do you comprehend His commands?  Do you see them as ones of restriction or ones of gentle leading?  As you start to veer off course either in priorities, perspective, or in your words and attitudes, who gently lends correction and guides you back on the right path?  Is it a family member, a close friend, a neighbor?  How do you respond?  Often times, I find pride impedes my ability to hear and “see”.

Would you consider your Lord to be the gentle leader in your life?  As people, we fluctuate, we’re fickle, we have a hard time being consistent.  Do you, like me, have cravings for something constant in this tolerance-for-all society in which we live?  I have found God’s word to be a rock of solid truth in my life.  It gives me the boundaries I so desperate desire.  God tells me to acknowledge Him in all my ways, and He will make my path straight (Proverbs 3:6)  I trust that.  From one who’s choked myself many times in my stubborn pursuit of self-dependence and arrogance, I now recognize gentle leading and am more than happy to redirect (most of the time :))  Why?  Because in His sheepfold, I now have freedom.  It has always been given, I now have received it. It’s changed my life.  You?

Psalm 23

 1 The Lord is my shepherd. He gives me everything I need.
    2 He lets me lie down in fields of green grass.
   He leads me beside quiet waters.
    3 He gives me new strength.
   He guides me in the right paths
      for the honor of his name.

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