She’s a gentle giant. Liquid gold eyes watch us as we move about the house, each of our steps marked in time by the “thwap” of tail on hardwood flooring. Spread across the couch, she seems still — lazy even — but the moment we near the front door she springs to life with the energy of a puppy and the gait of a small horse.
“I don’t want to keep this dog.”
These words have crossed my mind and lips multiple times this week: when she dragged me down the street at 6:30 am, when we tucked away every bit of food normally stored on countertops, when she licked a couch cushion to the point of saturation… And yet, she’s a gem. A peaceful spirit. A lapdog inside a 70+ lb body.
And I do want to keep her. But to keep her, and love her well, some things are going to have to change.
During the day, when I’m at work in the church and community, I’m all about change. It’s my bread and butter, something I love and embrace more often than not. Heck, it’s even the field of study for my Doctor of Ministry program: Transformational Leadership for Women in Ministry.
Yet, when I head home at the end of a long day, change is the last thing I want to think about. Instead, it is comfort and routine that call my name. I want something I can count on, something dependable, something that is the same. For all that talk of transformation, at the end of the day I’m no different from the folks who want everything to remain unchanged in our life together as church. I crave the comfort of continuity, just in different parts of my life.
But we have to change. I have to change.
Some of those things I’ve come to count on when I head home simply aren’t healthy. They may have been at one time, but it turns out that my needs changed when I wasn’t looking…and my mode of being morphed into something unhelpful. Comfort turned into clutter, rest became inactivity, and something’s got to give. It’s time. This enormous pup, with her zeal for long walks and open space, may be the very one who can break me out of the rut I’ve mistaken for stability.
Our life together as church is no different. Over time, our patterns become unhealthy. Instead of being informed and moved by the Holy Spirit, we become predictable. Instead of striving for the Kin-dom of God, we rest on fading laurels. Instead of being alive and energetic, our comfy ways of being turn into lethargy, and something’s got to give. It’s time.
Sometimes, in order to keep faith (or to keep a dog named Faith), things can no longer remain the same…and that’s a very good thing.