Your Church +Portland


Look in the Right Direction


While my daughter, Cassie, is in Bible school some 2,000 miles away, I took on the responsibility of keeping her little dog, Mandy. If you’re guessing that I want a pat on my back for taking care of the family dog, well you’d be guessing right.

Mandy has been in the family for the past 6 years, but to be honest, I always treated the mutt like it was only Cassie’s – probably because Cassie (and all her prayers) is the only thing that twisted my arm in getting it in the first place. She’s a really cute dog, I was just never one to get attached to it.

I am happy to announce that the dog has been living with me since Christmas, and it has gained at least 5 pounds and has developed quite the personality. Who said being overweight doesn’t add personality?! 
For the first time this past week Mandy finally learned how to bark. Nine years of no barking and she now found her favorite pastime. She now barks at me when she wants to eat, go to the bathroom, jump in my lap, bug me, wake me up in the morning – and the list goes on!

The other day she tried her new barking skills out on another dog, which got me laughing so hard I couldn’t breathe. The fact that her bark sounds something similar to squeezing a fat canary isn’t what had me laughing so hard. It was watching her put her whole body into her bark. With every squawk, Mandy’s little body would do this sort of half-leap into the air while her belly and tail would shake in the opposite direction. I don’t think there’s anything I’ve ever seen quite like it! Even the other dog stared at Mandy in disbelief. It was hilarious.
Needless to say the crazy mutt has become a little buddy of mine – even though she still bites me every other day. I think I’m still a long way off from calling Mandy a man’s best friend, but compared to some of the friends I’ve had, she’s a keeper!

Yes, it gets pretty bad when I resort to writing my blog about a dog. But for me, there’s a lesson learned from that crazy mutt. Sometimes with all the twists and turns life brings, you find yourself doing things or being in places that you scratch your head wondering how you managed to get there.
The longer you stay indifferent towards your situation, or think you’re better than what you’re in the middle of, the harder it is to go forward. The less thankful you become. And, the more miserable you become. 
Soon, you will find yourself complaining about it. Anytime you find yourself complaining about the same thing more than once, you’ll find yourself magnifying a problem that isn’t as big as you make it to be – no matter how big it actually is.

To be honest, I think complaining can actually be fun. Especially if you’re good at embellishing a story. But after a while, you’ll find that no matter how much your friends listen, the problem remains yours at the end of the day. Even the best of friends eventually get tired of hearing us complain.

I have found that no matter how much prayer we give it, nothing in life or in heaven moves on our behalf until we adjust our attitude. No matter how painful it might be, the adjustment can only come when we decide to stop psychoanalyzing our past, accept our plight and ask ourselves, ‘where to from here?’ 
The shocking reality is that many times, the mountain standing in our way isn’t really in our way – we’re probably looking in the wrong direction. 
As with Mandy, it wasn’t until I accepted the fact she was all my responsibility, could I begin to appreciate her, love her, laugh at her and enjoy this journey. Sort of like life isn’t it?   

That’s what I like about Your Church +Hillsboro. You can come be yourself, find a friend with a listening ear and walk away encouraged. It’s more than a sermon and better than a religious ritual. To quote a movie line, when it comes to Your Church you don’t need friends…you’ve got family.

Pastor Shian

Pastor ShianComment