Livn’ a Dog’s Life

Livn’ a Dog’s Life

I normally start my mornings with a cup of coffee and reading the Bible. I follow that with more coffee and some intimate time writing in my journal. When I started keeping a journal, I was so concerned with doing it right, that I missed the point. When I realized that God appreciates my honesty more than my flesh-driven need for His approval, I started telling the truth.  I am sure that my unguarded honesty pleases Him exceedingly more than anything else I have to give.

When the essence of my “innards” is in black and white, it is difficult to deny the truth of my character.  And sometimes that truth can be painfully offensive to me!  But, it holds me accountable for who I am.  I cannot blame others, argue with the truth, or deny what issues need to be addressed when the honesty comes from my heart. Honesty is essential to my growth and my intimate relationship with God. He shows me the hidden things I couldn’t see on my own.  #nabbed

Looking through my journal today, I became aware that struggle is an ongoing theme in my writing.  Hmmmph.  That isn’t good.  I looked at the issues of my life and it became clear that I easily give myself permission to live in a place of conflict when answers are not apparent (ouch).  But I was gripped with one, often repeated phrase – “Why God, do I struggle??  It seems that the real struggle in my life, is struggle itself. It is time to find the answer to my question.

I wonder how it is that a battle which has already been won through the love of the Cross, can so quickly morph into a struggle that leads to a never ending sense of defeat. Not exactly what I hope for, or what God intends. And why is it so easy to fall into a struggle between the past and the life-changing truth of the cross?  I feel like I did in grade school when simple math was the most complicated thing on earth to me. It surely can’t be that hard…but I am stuck in confusion.

When the new life I found in Christ begins to struggle to  breathe, it feels like the dead in me, rises to its feet.   “It feels”, “it seems”, “it appears to me” suddenly has all the power in the world over truth.  How many of you have said, “I know I was healed, but it doesn’t FEEL like it”. See what I mean?

All that confusion leaves me feeling like a Christian zombie – full of the spirit…but living like the walking dead! I don’t know about you…but I need to start living like I am made for more.


I am not a woman who adores complicated messages that require a dictionary, thesaurus, and concordance to understand what God wants for me and from me. I love when it’s simple.  I am visual and God knows that about me. I love, love, love the simple truth that speaks for itself through parables. I am thoroughly convinced that Jesus spoke in parables just for me (and people like me). A parable’s undeniable picture pushes me to find truth without argument, and apply it to my life.

So today, God kept it simple by using my dog to explain my state of “stuck-ness”. This is the parable of Brogan, the 50 pound lap dog.

Brogan is driven by her need for love. She will do just about anything to be loved and touched, BUT the greatest desire of her tail-wagging life, is to be seated next to, or on top of my husband. His touch and constant attention makes her life complete. He is her true master.

A few months ago, my husband and I had errands to run. And though we often bring Brogan with us, that day we left her behind with our son, who is her favorite playmate. But be clear, she prefers my husband and we all know it.

At the end of our errands, we entered the house, girding ourselves for the typically rigorous and physical assault of her love. Her greeting always proves to be more of an aerobic workout than a display of affection. Wonderful and exhausting at once.

To our surprise, she remained seated at our son’s feet, wiggling and whining in tremendous doggy despair; screeching loud yelps as though tortured by her restraint.

When I asked our son to let her go, he laughed and shrugged his shoulders. He assured us that she was not being restrained at all – at least not by physical force – yet she begged to be released.

It was the gentle stroking of a two-inch spot on the back of her neck that controlled and kept her where she did not want to be. Believing her restraint was inescapable, she became the source of her own torture – begging and whining to be set free, when she wasn’t held captive at all.  It was a struggle for freedom when bondage did not exist. Once the stroking stopped, she ran to my husband with a full-on body slam.

Ohhhhh, man!!! (slapping self on forehead) I feel like the truth just slapped me in the noggin and said, “Snap out of it!” There is no valuable argument against this brilliant picture of the struggle to possess what is already owned. She was convinced she couldn’t have what she longed to have – when it was hers to take all along. She just didn’t understand the truth.


By stroking a two-inch spot at the center of our understanding the enemy can convince us that healing isn’t ours, and he has won without any effort at all. When we don’t know, seek, or accept the truth, the struggle seems real.

Healing happened at the Cross. It is complete and cannot be undone.  No one becomes unhealed.  The ongoing struggle to FEEL healed begins with at that two-inch spot; your emotion-filled memories of hurt, lies about self-worth and thoughts of failure, need for perfection, and approval-driven performance. Complete truth is difficult to find when we are driven by feelings.  *yuck*

(and cannot always be believed)

When we allow the power of the past to hold our attention, the enemy doesn’t have to work to hold us in the stuck position – we stay there willingly through the power of our emotions and understanding.  When that happens, my friends, we are the author of the struggle…and I am offended by that truth!

Like Brogan, we beg to be free from captivity when the chains have been broken.  Nothing holds us prisoner to the past more than our emotions!!!

When Brogan accepted her captivity, she exchanged her greatest desire for second best, and so do we. We cannot afford to give emotions that sort of power in our lives. We have to understand the truth.

How??? It is time to develop a battle plan. Over the next few weeks I’m are going to talk about battling for victory. We need to fight right, understand and pick up our tools of battle.

Today we will talk about only three of the many strategic weapons or points of battle in the war against struggle. These first weapons are all about self-positioning and attitude in battle. WE HAVE TO LEARN TO FIGHT RIGHT.


“Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.”  Luke 10:19 (NASB)

We, my friends, are not Switzerland. We must be active participants in the battles. You and I are not pawns in a game between Satan and God as we wait for the outcome. This isn’t a game at all.  The time for begging is for a treat is done, and we must be committed to be more than a play by play announcer of our struggles. We have authority to fight and win…


Lack of participation leads to destruction and ultimate defeat. Take some responsibility in how your life plays out.


“For the flesh craves what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary the flesh. They are opposed to one another, so that you do not do what you want.” Galatians 5:17 (BSB)

Hear me…If the battle has morphed into an arduous and exhausting struggle that goes on…and on…and on, take a good hard look at who your Captain is. You might be living aligned on the wrong side of the fence.  Or worse, living your life, straddled on the rail…working hard to remain uncommitted to battle. If that is the case, review the point I made above, get off the fence, and take a stand!

A misalignment ignites a never ending struggle between flesh and spirit. The healed, spirit-filled heart has to be willing to challenge the selfish needs and opinions of the soul. When we fight through soul-certain opinion, we give Satan permission to use our understanding against us.  We become somewhat of silent partner in our own destruction. That makes me shudder (excuse me while I hyperventilate).


Here is the truth. The battle will be won when we realize that there is a new boss in town, and it ain’t “ME”. When the Spirit is not deliberately in charge, the struggle is real, and the battle is lost, and all that is left is a constantly repeated cycle of struggle.

When a lifetime of control is taken away, our soul (mind, will, and emotions) can look a bit a toddler who has had his emotionally-dependent pacifier taken away for the first time. He wants it back, and he wants it back now!!

It is time to do away with the emotional dependence. Ditch that “paci” and learn to fight right.

WARNING: There will be tantrums.  That soul has been steering your heart for years and doesn’t like losing control of who you are, how you act, and what you believe about you. Fits will happen. Victory comes with an obedient soul.


“You will know the truth and the truth will make you free.” 
John 8:32 (NLV)

I want to encourage you to start a journal. Be bold and start writing to God with brutal honesty. Honesty without the need to be perfect, brings change to our hearts.  Put yourself in a position to see the undeniable truth…be willing to be offended by the things that need to change IN OURSELVES. I am not talking about self-debasing judgement here.  We need to see an honest reflection of who we are and compare it to the truth of the Word of God, to be able to grow.


I look forward to our next cup of coffee together.   I would love to hear from you. Know that your wisdom is something I cherish.  Feel free to make comments below; share encouraging words, and scriptures – keeping in mind that this blog is meant to be a positive place – real, and raw, and honest. You can write me privately at the email address below.

“Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.”  Ephesians 4:29 (NLT)

Until next week, let’s make a decision to fight right!  If you want to change the way you live your life, you have to show up for battle, Align yourself with the Spirit that lives in you, and deny the powerful pull to respond to your understanding.

You are made for more than struggle!

I love you all,
Lori Beth

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