This is Lily. I'm borrowing her this week. I mean, her owners think I'm dog-sitting and house-sitting, which is true, but those terms make it seem like Lily is work. She isn't. This yellow lab/husky mix is pure fun. She makes me laugh. She makes me play. She makes me feel energetic and childlike. And until we met just days ago, I hadn't realized how much I needed all those things.
Now, as I sit here with a borrowed dog at my feet in a house I don't normally call my own, I realize that sometimes humans need a change of pace. And, it seems, some humans need that change more often than others. I think I fall in the needy category. I so easily get stuck in ruts -- in my mind, in my daily habits, in my conversations, in my pursuit of God.
Mind rut: I dwell on the same joys or sorrows of my past and fret about the same unknowns of my future. One might think, upon traveling through the ruts of my mind, that I've only lived a few years of wild ups and downs. In truth, I've lived 27 years of everyday food and drink and human interaction. Yes, those years have been laced with moments of pain and elation, but mostly they've been simply living. And that is good! Living is good, and I would be better off to do more of my living and thinking in the right now.
Habit rut: I get up, put on long pajama pants and a sweatshirt, eat breakfast, check my email, shower, do some work, eat lunch, work some more, take a walk, eat dinner, watch a movie or read a book, go to bed. Maybe tomorrow I'll watch the sun rise. And maybe the next day I won't check my email. The day after that I'll call a friend at midnight and ask her to eat breakfast with me right then. And some time I'll skip the walk and roll down a hill instead. I am realizing that changes don't have to be dramatic. Just a small shake-up will do. (If I have dreads the next time you see me, you'll know I decided to "shake it up" and not shower for a while =>).
Conversation rut: I feel a need to tell everyone I converse with that I am looking for a journalism job because that will convey that I am put together and in control. Nevermind it isn't quite true. Nevermind the fact I spent hours in prayer and felt God leading me to stay put while I edit my novel and work to get it published. Why am I so afraid to say that in conversation? Do I fear it doesn't sound grown-up enough? And, more importantly, why am I so concerned with appearing the way I think people want me to appear? Why is anyone? Have we forgotten the beauty of vulnerability and the adventure of being real? Aren't those the things that make for truly enjoyable conversation?
God rut: The God rut is a treacherous one. It forms quickly, goes deep, and feels so right I hardly realize I'm stuck in it. I read my devotional, pray my prayer, go to church, sing a song. Those are good things; I realize that. I also realize they are safe things when done inside my rut. It is easy to read the devotional or the Bible without thinking about it. It becomes harder when I admit I don't understand or *gasp* like what I'm reading. It is hard when my prayers are messy...especially when God answers in a "messy" way, which, if I'm honest, is any way contrary to what I thought should be the answer. When I'm not in my God rut, I sometimes don't want to go to church. It's too scary. There's a lot of pressure there to be, well, happily rutted. It becomes awkward when I'm kind of messed up, and I'm praying messy prayers, and pondering messy, unsafe thoughts about God. Still, I'd rather pursue God while running across the dusty, wide open plains -- fully realizing I may stumble on scraggly sagebrush -- than love Him inside a rut. What's fun about that? Following God should be an adventure. And I, for one, am ready to go...as long as Lily the Borrowed Dog goes with me and makes me laugh along the way.