Saturday, November 23, 2013

I Want Some Attention Too!

Dogs are a lot like children. I remember when my children were young, if I did something for one, the other would want the same treatment. If I paid attention to one, it seemed like the other sensed it from any other part of the house and came running for equal attention. My dogs do that, especially Foxy (aka Psycho Dog). Lucy might put her head on my leg while I'm sitting on the couch and just look at me with those brown eyes, as if to say, "Please love on me." As soon as I say her name, or use my "doggie voice" I'll hear Foxy jump off her throne (aka, my side of the bed), and come running down the hall, mumbling (aka low growl). She'll run into the room and look around as if to say, "Where is she? Is she getting pets? Because if she is, I want some too!" 

We laugh, but don't we do the same thing? Someone at work gets a pat on the back for a "job well done" and we did the same thing last week and got no recognition. Someone at church gets asked to speak at an event and you know you could do that (and probably better!), but no one asked you. Maybe you still have these struggles in your own family (nothing sets us back in our growth and recovery like family! Somehow, we always slip back into our old roles). Maybe one family member is favored and always was, and you are just so tired of trying to compete for attention. Maybe it's your kids-other people's kids are getting chosen over yours. Maybe your neighbors invited everyone but you to their open house or other gathering. Sometimes, it's as simple as the person behind you in line who gets waited on before you and you want to say, "HEY! I was here first!" (Maybe you do say it!).

These things can throw us and we feel like we are back in grade school! The competition. The comparison. The need for attention. "Me first! Look at me! Pay attention to me! Pet me! Love on me! What about me, me, me?"

Paul told the Philippians to do nothing from rivalry, or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus (Phil 2:3-5). That's a really hard thing to do when we desire the attention ourselves. When we are passed over, it's hard for us to count that person who did get promoted or chosen as "significant", when we just want to punch them in the face. Oh, not just significant--but more significant! Yeah, right...yeah, no. 

The thing about my dogs that is different from people is that in order to establish my dominance, I need to push one out of the way when she butts in line. When I'm paying attention to Lucy, Foxy cannot decide that I should pet her (and vice versa!); I get to do that as the pack leader. But dogs don't have the depth of emotions that humans do..or the memory. When I admonish the interloper, she backs away obediently and waits until I call her over for a pet (and I always do...but in my time, not hers). 
Foxy reveling in the attention;
 Lucy patiently waiting

It may seem like God is pushing you out of the picture. It may seem like you've been forgotten or passed over. Perhaps it even seems like your Father has allowed injustice. But remember, your Father is also merciful, and it also may be that He is establishing His place as your Pack Leader by making you wait. He has not forgotten you. Stop comparing yourself because there will always be someone to compare yourself to, and it will be a never-ending cycle! Stop competing for attention. Stop striving for favor. There is no comparison. You are you and you have been given unique gifts and talents. God sees you waiting and will reward your obedience by lavishing His love on you. He will call you forth and raise you up in His time, not yours.

Blessings Along the Path,
Mary



Song of the Day:
In His Time

Video of the Day: a snippet of how and when a pack leader gives affection. See the parallel, but remember that God doesn't withhold affection from us like Cesar is suggesting we do with dogs; but note the part where the highest level of affection comes when the dog is in the lowest, most submissive state. This video is only about 3 minutes long.
Becoming a Pack Leader (Cesar Milan)



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