Our pets...they are a source of unconditional love and forgiveness. And, I have found that my sweet little "fur baby", Bailey, (pictured)...has taught me some wonderful life lessons. Today I'm going to share with you five life lessons Bailey has taught me:
1. Unconditional Love- This is probably the most important lesson that I can learn from Bailey. He loves me unconditionally. Through his eyes I am perfect. He does not care what I look like...if I have created the best blog post, the prettiest blog, created the most "pins", obtained the most followers, etc. He doesn't care if I stayed in my pajamas all day (I could go on and on with imperfections, but you get my point :)...all he wants is my unconditional love in return.
There is a great biblical truth to this. This is exactly the same kind of love that my Father in Heaven displayed by sending Jesus to this earth to atone for my sins. He loves you and me unconditionally. I can and will "mess up"...eventhough I am a Christian, I am still a sinner...however, if I continue to walk in the light, I can feel safe and secure in my eternal Home.
"But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us." 1 John 1: 7-8
2. Making Right Choices and Consequences- Bailey is not the perfect dog...he does things that gets him into trouble. He will get into trash (most common and worst offense); will not ask to go outside and instead find another place to use restroom in house (quite frustrating but rare); pull stuffing out of toys...okay...let's just say he is NOT PERFECT!!! But, neither am I!!! You know what...when he does these acts...he knows that he has not made a good decision. Now, I know that since I don't exactly know how animals think, I don't know if he knows BEFORE or AFTER he "does the deed"...but, regardless...HE KNOWS!!! How do I know...afterwards, when the "spoils" of his bad decision are left for us to clean up...all we have to do is ask him "did you get in trash", etc. (whatever he did wrong)...and, normally he self punishes by going and hiding under our bed (sometimes for up to an hour or longer)...NO KIDDING!!!
We, as individuals, also have consequences for not making the "right choices". Sometimes they are immediate within this lifetime...I don't have to list them. And, sometimes, it is hard when you see people around you making what are considered "wrong choices", but not reaping "wrong choices" consequences. But, Bailey reminds me that a divine inheritance will be awaiting me for faithfulness and for making "right choices" here on earth. I might not always reap the benefits of "right choices" here on earth...but, I have been promised an eternal Home in Heaven by following God's commandments.
"That you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness." Ephesians 4: 22-24
3. Forgive and Forget- After Bailey gets in trouble and punishes himself, he will come out with his tail between his legs and slowly come over to see if he is "forgiven". Of course we will say "it's okay"...and all is "forgotten"...the slate has been wiped clean in his eyes!!! He is back to loving and cuddling again...all is well in his world. (Insert mental picture of tail going 100 miles an hour...he can't hide his excitement...EVER!!!)
This is a HUGE lesson for me, and I don't think I'm alone. Most people have heard the statement..."I'll forgive them...but I won't forget it." Although it may be hard to "forget" the wrong...the ONLY person truly being hurt by holding onto a grudge is the one continuing to hold onto it. Forgiving and forgetting, like Bailey does (and as scripture directs) is a such a big lesson that I plan to go into more detail in another blog post of it's own...for now....I will say...Bailey is AWESOME at forgiving and forgetting. Me...I'm still working on it! I have to say I have improved leaps and bounds. I pray about this, and when I struggle...I give to Him.
"Be kind and loving to each other, and forgive each other just as God forgave you in Christ." Ephesians 4: 32
4. Dealing with Illness- As my title of my blog suggests, and if you have read/followed some or most of my blog...you would be aware that I am a "survivor" of a chronic illness...Bailey has been "surviving" with me every step of the way. In fact, he has been fighting a seizure disorder for several years now. This may seem silly to some...but, studies have shown that pets can improve your chronic pain symptoms, due to various factors. Some...due to factors listed in the paragraphs above. But, I can state that Bailey is VERY perceptive when I have a day that is "worse" than others. He can provide distraction from the pain (sometimes) due to funny things he might do or simple caretaking tasks he might need; he can increase mood due to increased cuddling (very perceptive); or increase my heart health (studies show the simple act of petting my dog increases heart health) or just general overall health on other days....just to name a few. When Bailey himself suffers from seizures...this simply breaks my heart.
A life lesson that I can take from this (don't laugh...maybe a little bit of a stretch) is that regardless of my circumstances (or yours)...we can all be an encouragement to others. That is my primary goal of this blog...is to encourage others!!! I hope I am! I strive to live my daily life as an encouragement to others...just as Bailey daily "encourages" me to keep on "fighting the good fight". (FYI-I have other "encouragers" too...but, since this post is about my "Bailey Bug"...I'm focusing on him...just wanted to say he is not the ONLY one...my other encouragers are GREAT, and I truly appreciate EACH and EVERY one!!!)
"May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word." 2 Thessalonians 2: 16-17
5. Trust- Bailey trusts my husband and I wholeheartedly to take care of his basic needs, to not hurt him, to return home when we leave the house, etc. He trusts us...but, let someone else come into the equation, come to the door and ring the doorbell, etc...different story!!! Now, he is very friendly...but, protective! Bailey TRUST that we will meet his needs!
In the same respect, I should TRUST that God will meet my basic needs as well. Much can be written on this topic as well...so for now, I will say...I "trust" that God will meet my needs and as long as I continue to "walk in the light"...I TRUST that I shall dwell with Him in Heaven.
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3: 5-6
So...there you have it...five life lessons that I have learned from my precious "fur baby" Bailey Bug....the cutest, sweetest, loveliest little dog in the world!!! I hope you have enjoyed the list and have found some inspiration/encouragement from my little "fur baby" as well. I can think of more lessons...but maybe I will save that for another date/post...hope you all have a wonderful, blessed week.
Which of these life lessons did you find the most encouraging? Do you have an encouraging "fur baby"? What life lessons have you learned from your "fur baby"? I would love to hear what you have to say...