Of Dogs and Humans

Recently watching Cesar Millan, infamous “dog whisperer,” brought to mind the simplicity of resolving those fearful, gnarled things within ourselves. Receiving chaotic emotional cues from their owners, fearful, anxious canines remain confused, even aggressive, and uncontrolled until their pack leaders, their masters, overcome their own fears and anxieties in order to lead their dogs into relaxed “calm surrender,” a term Mr. Millan used to describe a dog’s final release of anxiety.

I cannot help but see the parallels in human behavior while seeking to find inner peace in an anxious, frightful world. Though we consider ourselves the consummate masters of our lives, we are not. Things, people, situations beyond our command exert influence over us, and we must discern wisely: Where is our anxiety coming from? Who are we being asked to follow? Are we being manipulated, blindly led, or forced to submit? Though given various freedoms of choice (think short leash, long leash, longer leash, off leash) there are ultimately those who would rule us.

Love, respect, trust. Mr. Millan’s application of this simple formula has such incredible results. With patience he demonstrates how the biting, overpowering dog can be brought into “calm surrender” to a loving master who has overcome the fearful things, who infuses peace, builds respect, fosters trust by assuring the one following that, indeed, all is well. Fear and hyper-vigilance are transformed into peace as the anxious one’s attention is brought back repeatedly to his master’s calm, until finally the angst is given up.

Each day I must remind myself, “Who is my master?” Am I driven by fear? Am I trying to be my master, lost in subjectivity and limitations? Is another human orchestrating my thoughts and every move, dictating my life? Is my employer or the government of the country in which I live programming my decisions? Is a religious leader stirring up emotional responses rather than teaching truth of the personal love God has for us? Who or what is my master today? “Be still! Fear not!” These are words that my Master, Jesus, speaks to me to calm my soul, bidding I take my eyes off fearsome chaos and look at Him, tap into His calm, listen as He whispers to me, and leads me.

Love, respect, trust. We are each given opportunity to learn the truth of those three relational words. Someone or some thing is guiding our souls. May your master love you fully, be worthy of respect, and prove to be steadfastly trustworthy. One who will lead you through all the chaos of this world, freeing you from your prisons of fear with a firm and gentling hand, who knows the way through the mess, and can command with just a word, “Peace! Be still!” May we choose wisely whom we follow.

Mark 4:39 NKJV “39 Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm.”

John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

Psalms 46:10a “10 Be still, and know that I am God”

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