As I prayed for wisdom and peace to train Barnabas so he'll realize he's safe and loved, I had to laugh. It's all too much like the blind leading the blind. Yes, I've come a long way with my anxiety issues, but seeing Barnabas' behavior over the past several days has made me realize I still have a long way to go. His anxiety is making me anxious. Please don't misunderstand. He's a wonderful, loving dog who wants to please, but like most animals from the shelter, he has a few trust and anxiety issues. Or perhaps it would be better to say he has anxiety issues that stem from a lack of trust. He hasn't been with us long enough to understand that we'll take good care of him. He doesn't know yet that we have his best interest at heart when we correct him or try to train him in the way he needs to behave. He doesn't understand yet that our love for him doesn't depend on his behavior. And so, he's skittish. Leery. Suspicious. Yet hopeful.
As I examine his behavior and the reasons behind it, I can only nod in understanding. Been there, done that. Just like Barnabas, my anxiety issues stem from a lack of trust. It's taken me a while to understand that my Master will take good care of me. It's sometimes difficult for me to remember that He has my best interest at heart, even when He has to correct me or train me in the way I should go. Sometimes I forget my Master's love for me isn't dependent on my behavior. And so, I'm anxious. Too afraid to trust in what I should already know.
Fortunately, my Master is patient and kind, and He will never give up on me. No matter how trying it may be. No matter how much time it takes. His love for me is so great that He will continue to work with me and on me until I know and understand, without a doubt, how much He loves me. Likewise, I will do the same with Barnabas. It may cost some time, lack of sleep, and a few tears (both his and mine), but I know we'll get through this because our love holds true. And when we're done, that sweet mutt of mine will know, without a doubt, how much we love him!
Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ: - Philippians 1:6