Learning through Life

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Hampshire, United Kingdom
I love how our day-to-day life can teach us lessons to help us understand our past, challenge our today, and inspire our future. We can learn through experiences, situations, conversations, songs, books, nature ... the list is endless! Live with eyes ready to see, ears ready to hear and a heart ready to be touched.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

The one with the soggy dog

Today has been an amazing day for me; a day shared with God. No agenda set, at least, not by me. I had a lazy morning in God's presence (are we ever not?) and made my way to Wittering for a walk along the beach. Wittering is a special place for me and I couldn't wait to hear what God would say to me whilst we walked.

God, it's over to you ...

I walked down the stones and onto the sand. The tide was out, the sun shone, and the breeze was surprisingly warm for October.  Hands in pockets, ipod playing Rend Collective into one ear, I set off.

I tried to empty my mind, to lay aside my thoughts, to allow God space to speak.

I failed. Well, sort of ...

You see, something had grabbed my attention on the walk to the beach and I just couldn't shake it. I tried, I tried really hard, but still it dominated the emptiness that I had so sincerely promised God.  'God, I'm sorry, I really want you to speak to me ...'  I tried to clear my head; it was no good. Not even my prayer of repentance had worked! My head still fought with the image. It was nothing exciting, nothing spectacular, and certainly nothing I imagined God would speak through. And yet, with each step along the beach the image seemed to become clearer, larger, louder.

Could God already be speaking? Could he have jumped ahead of schedule and started the revelation before we even got to the beach? Could he? Well, I guess as he is God, then anything is possible!!

What had I seen?

That's it.

Nothing else, just this sign outside a cafe. Not exactly profound is it? I don't even like dogs (sorry!) so why was I wasting my head space on this?

But I gave God a chance, maybe he saw something different.

'All dogs welcome' - in a cafe? And, soggy ones? Really? And they think this promotes their service?  Ew ... no thank you! I would pass right on by.

But, what about the (soggy) dog owners? I guess this might solicit a different response from them. A cup of tea with *insert dog name* allowed in instead of being tied up outside? Yes please!

And there I recognised the voice of God. Not audibly, just a prompting to allow him to take my thoughts to a new place, and a new level of understanding.

The owners of the cafe took a risk. The 'Dogs Welcome' board would have sent potential customers away. I am proof of that. And yet, this didn't stop them from placing it on the pavement. Why? Because they knew that it would stand out to others. The proprietors chose to appeal to a certain group of people. They understood the risk, and knew what they were doing.

Was this about dogs?

No. It was about making a choice, taking a risk, and acknowledging that you can't please all people all of the time.

Be clear about who God wants you to reach (serve, teach, encourage, bless...) and aim your service (passion, time, energy) towards them. Don't water it down in order to please others. Know your potential customers (clients, congregation, friends, students ....) and do all you can to provide something that will enhance, develop and change their lives. 

Know who you lead, why you lead them, and where you are leading them to!

Leave those that may walk on by for someone else; there will be another cafe down the road for them.

And now for the rest of the walk ...


  1. Amazing how God teaches us through even the tiniest things - and not when we expect it. Love that this happened before you reached the beach: As a Christian, I often resemble a soggy dog - but He still welcomes me.

    1. Thanks Emma :) Yes, I think the fact that God didn't feel he had to stick to my schedule was one of the best things about it!! Thanks for the read and comment :)


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