Living where we do, we see a lot of deer. I mean a lot. Like to the point where it’s almost blasé to see them. They’re more common than squirrels.
Enter Scout. It’s always been our dream that our dog could run freely in the yard without an unsightly fence to keep her in. We installed an invisible fence and trained her to stay within the boundaries.
The problem is, she’s a smart pup. She knows when she’s not wearing that big ugly collar. Typically she’s still content to stay in the yard, but when she sees deer, all bets are off. She’ll come back later muddy, tired, and happy.
Enter the “deervangelist,” one of our neighbors. He loves the deer seemingly more than anything. One of his three lots is devoted to their comfort and feeding. When we first arrived in the neighborhood, he came over and gave us an earful about how we need to do our part to protect the deer. He even showed us a photo album of them. In some pictures they were eating food out of his mouth. Can I get a collective “ew”?
So my stage is set. Last week, Scout bolted and found her way to the deervangelist’s empty lot where the deer had retreated for safety. Within a few minutes, I got another visit from my neighbor telling me that I need to do a better job of keeping my dog in our yard, as well as another offer to see the pictures. I declined.
The next day, she was off again. This time, while I waited for another visit, it was my neighbor to the north (the one I have only ever heard yelling) who called for me to get my #$%& dog out of his yard. Thankfully she came back on her own.
And that was when my heart sank a little into shame. Why? It took me awhile to understand it myself, but it all goes back to what drives me. If you read my last post about houses, you know that I like success. I like performing well. The dog/deer combination made it challenging for me to do that. In fact, they were (in my mind) making me look like a failure. I had been called out twice in two days as someone incompetent in restraining her pet.
The upside of this is the fact that God helped me see it. Oftentimes we sink into shame and we don’t recognize it or acknowledge it. In my experience, when that happens, it can make me more likely to interpret the rest of my day through the same lens. Instead, I was able to do a little self-talk about the whole situation that helped me let it go. I’m thankful that I’ve been growing in seeing what drives my heart and how to respond with grace.
A dog and some deer. You never know what God will use.
On the lookout for
deer opportunities to shape mama’s heart.