The Prodigal Pup & My Perfectionism

You would think that upon moving to SoCal, one might come into a new set of hobbies. Maybe surfing or shell collecting or urban farming or something of that sort. However, my new hobby seems to be chasing our prodigal pup throughout San Diego. Yes, that is right, walking with a squeaky toy in hand and two eager children from neighbor’s yard neighbor’s yard looking for our disobedient puppy, Mater. It doesn’t help that we have a minor breach in our fence, live backed up to canyon, and have a dog with insatiable desires for adventure and attention. Needless to say, there is never a dull moment in our new home. Mater has ended up at a local pet hospital and most recently at the animal shelter of San Diego. Who knew that prodigal pups were charged impound fees and such? We did get a wee discount since this was his first run-in with county law. Mug shot and everything. We toyed with the idea of giving him away, but the microchip device keeps linking him back to us (and we have two kids who cry at the thought of not having their best buddy).

The combination of animal chasing, parenting, and making friends coupled with my intrinsic desire to be perfect is a perfect storm. Daily I am faced with my limitations, my lack of patiene, my short fuse when my plans get interrupted. Thankfully, these realizations save me daily as they force me to look to a perfect, limitless, endlessly patient God. As I was lamenting my poor attitdue towards the DMV, the runaway dog, and the bickering boys, the Lord graciously allowed my heart and mind to be drawn to 1 Peter 3. In this chapter, Peter is continuing to show practical examples of how the gospel of Christ affects life on a day to day basis.Having addressed those who struggled at work, he addresses the wives in their particular struggles and how the gospel transforms them. He puts their struggles in the context of broader history, reminding them that their historical heroines struggled with unfavorable circumstances like imperfect marriages, far-from-perfect children, huge moves to undisclosed locations to name a few. Peter seems to be saying that these women, whom he calls “the holy women” of “former times,” were far from perfect. When I think holy, I think perfect, chaste,controlled, calm when chasing persistently prodigal pups and grumpy children. But Peter defines holy very differently. He writes, “the holy women, who hoped in God…”. So for him, the least common denominator of holy women, what it all boiled down to, the essential element of holy women, was their HOPE IN GOD, not their perfectly ordered private worlds, not their sweet and ever-obedient children or controlled and contained puppies.

Oh, how that one divinely-inspired and timely-read phrase lifted my soul. Hoping in God in the midst of endless interruptions and energized children and a very limited capacity is something I can do. In fact, I find that often it is all I can do.

So bring on the DMV tomorrow and a conflict over a rare (or “ware” as we call it in joseph-speak) Lego piece, because the goal is not perfection, but a persistent need to HOPE IN GOD, not my perfection or lack thereof.

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