God Wants You to Do You, Not Anyone Else

Chocolate dachshund lying on patio block

Dachshunds are clever, stubborn, and not for everyone because they’re as opinionated as they are cuddly. Diva the Dachshund came with a balanced, friendly personality. We met her when she was 5 weeks old, visiting her twice a week for the next month. 

At 9 weeks, she joined the pack in our barn. A few months later, our almost 17-year-old Aussie passed away, leaving an unanticipated leadership void. His balanced, calm spirit had determined the spirit of the pack. Once his influence was gone, things changed quickly, including Diva.


The Power of Influence

Diva spent her first three years with Lexi, an autistic yellow-lab-mix dog who modeled fear and anxiety because she couldn’t process the world around her. Most folks who visited the barn never saw her because she hid under my husband’s office desk when strangers invaded her world.

Lexi couldn’t manage the transition when we moved away from the barn she’d lived in since we got her as a puppy. She was in constant terror of both the indoors and the outdoors.

Diva became an only dog with no canine role model.

Like Lexi, Diva couldn’t manage her emotions outside when she saw a person or dog, even if they were a block away. Her shrill screeches brought neighbors out of their houses to see what dog was in such deep distress. 

“Nothing to see here. Just my unbalanced dachshund.”


The Journey of Transformation

We quit trying to walk outdoors until I could figure out how to build a new foundation of trust and security with Diva. Her public personality couldn’t change until her private relationship with me changed.

We’re now two years in to our ‘return Diva to her original personality’ training. The best teachers know the most ways to teach the same thing. Success remains elusive unless the method matches the student. I know endless ways to rehabilitate special needs horses, but this was my first attempt to rehabilitate a dachshund. 


3 Elements of Relationship Success

Success with any relationship comes down to three things.

  1. Treat the critter (person) as a unique personality.
  2. The level of commitment determines the level of success.
  3. It takes as long as it takes. 

Until I figured this out, Diva and I did the failure dance of one step forward and two steps back.

In simplest terms, I’m relating to Diva, not ‘dogs’ or even dachshunds. I have to let Diva be Diva, care enough to do the work, and leave my ego at the door. Two years into the program, Diva now loves romping with her dog friends and walks like a sane animal (most of the time.) 

Oh yes, here’s another truth: if you don’t maintain the right thing, the wrong thing comes back easier than spring showers run off a duck’s back.


The Extent of Jesus’s Commitment to You

God created man in His image, sinless and blessed. That lasted all the way to Genesis 3, when mankind lost its spiritual balance, placing our own wisdom over that of God himself.

Jesus is far more committed to a relationship with you than I am with Diva. But, if we’re not under His spiritual influence, we suffer under the broken spirit of fallen man. 

God treats each of us as unique personalities. Just because He does one thing with someone else doesn’t mean He’ll take the same approach with you. Jesus understands you far more than I will ever know Diva or even myself.


Everything Really is Personal

Dogs are dogs in the same way people are people, but they don’t all learn or react in the same way as others of their species. Each one has their own strengths, weaknesses, motivators, and emotions.

We learn wonderful things from faithful role models and wrong things from those who aren’t. Life experiences shape and twist the spirit and personality we’re born with, but restoration is not only possible, but it’s God’s plan. 

Such transformation, however, is always deeply personal.

Jesus’s commitment to you led to Calvary. He wants to redeem your spirit, offer intimate relationship, and shape you into the YOU version of the delightful spirit He gave Adam.


You’re Unique For A Reason

There’s an eternal reason why God created only one of you. He doesn’t do repeats and do-overs. He loves YOU for YOU, not simply because you’re part of His creation or even because you’re human. You are special.

So don’t compare and don’t despair.

Just do you. 

You know my sitting down and my rising up;
You understand my thought afar off.
You comprehend my path and my lying down,
And are acquainted with all my ways.

Psalm 138:2-4

Related Post:

woman with lighted book sitting with letters swirling around

Does your spouse (child, friend) really know you? Does he or she know what makes your heart sing, choose gifts that affirm your quirky personality, and scrupulously avoid doing the one thing that irritates your last nerve?  When it comes to your most important relationship, are you sure you understand how God wants you to know Him?

Read more…

Lynn Baber

Lynn Baber

Lynn is a best-selling author, retired World and National Champion horse breeder and trainer, former business consultant, motivational speaker, and serial entrepreneur. She continues to equip and encourage Christ-followers to enjoy lives of bold, border-free faith.

Lynn Baber

Lynn Baber

Lynn Baber is a best-selling author, retired World and National Champion horse breeder and trainer, former business consultant, motivational speaker, and serial entrepreneur. She continues to equip and encourage Christ-followers to enjoy lives of bold, border-free faith.

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