Collateral Damage

Lily in the sun

When Lily first joined our family, walking her was positively ghastly. She dove hard after nearly every single car that drove by, and it took every ounce of strength to keep her on the sidewalk and moving forward.

But we have been working hard with on her leash skills, and she’s made amazing progress. So much progress, in fact, I had nearly forgotten about those crazy lunges after moving cars.

I was given a reminder this past weekend.

It was a beautiful day and Lily was walking like a champ. A squirrel darted past us as soon as we walked out the door, but she left it alone after a quick look its way. We walked by the two Chihuahuas next door without so much as a sideways glance. We even passed a small boy on a bike, which still tends to be a challenge for her to resist.

Perhaps resisting all those smaller temptations had used up her willpower, because Lily let loose when the USPS truck quickly pulled up to the mailbox next us. She. Went. Nuts.

And the next thing I knew, Lily dove at the truck, knocked me off balance, and I was down on the sidewalk. The result: torn jeans and a badly skinned knee.

Lily didn’t intend to knock me over. I was simply collateral damage. She lashed out and I was hurt as a result.

Unfortunately, I’ve been creating some collateral damage of my own lately.

Due to some unfortunate circumstances in my life, I have been turning into ANGRY GIRL. You know, the one who’s perpetually scowling and snaps at you for no good reason. I hate that girl.

The fact is, sometimes circumstances stink. Sometimes they’re downright rotten. But I have a choice in how I respond to those circumstances, and it hasn’t been pretty lately.

Jesus tells us we will be known by the LOVE we share. Even in yucky circumstances. Even to people we feel have wronged us. Even when the very last thing we feel is sharing love.

It is required of us to LOVE others. Everyone. Always. No matter what. That is my testimony and that’s the only way that people will know I love Jesus. Not by the cross around my neck. Not by the music I listen to. And not by the Bible verses I can spout. By the LOVE I show to those around me. Every. Single. Day.

I am far from perfect. I am a work in progress. And that’s okay. But I’m praying that I can stop allowing my testimony to be collateral damage and I can start being an example of the love I’ve been shown by my God.

And if any of you see ANGRY GIRL, do me a favor, and tell her she needs to take a hike.

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