This past weekend my husband and I took our little puggle pup Amber for an adventure to a beautiful park with tons of gorgeous and fascinating cliffs, rocks, ledges, and more. Amber is about 18 pounds and full of energy. The combination of beagle determination and pug goofiness makes her a crazy ball of fun in any situation but is heightened when surrounded by new smells and exciting trails to explore.
While my husband and I were careful to watch exactly where we were going, little Amber was not so cautious. She ran up ahead as far as her leash would allow her to. She pranced around and jumped from rock to rock without a care, occasionally glancing back at us as if to say “Come on!” She was happy as could be without a care in the world. She couldn’t see the path ahead through all the rocks, but she trusted that we were right there behind her, holding onto her leash and ready to stop her from going too far ahead or too close to the edge.
At one particularly adventurous moment, she took a leap onto a large slanted rock to the side of our intended path, much too steep for her to climb up. She started to slide back down and my husband quickly picked her up, placing her back on the ground in the direction we had been heading. Still she wasn’t scared or cautious as we came to the rocks again. Her tail was wagging in its curly pug fashion as she happily continued along.
As Amber proved to be quite the trooper on our hike, she also knew when it was time for a rest. The discovery of a small babbling stream through the rocks caused her to slow her step and take a few moments to drink up and cool off. The sight of a little toad hopping along the path made her stop in her tracks to see just what this new creature was up to. The lush green grass that grew in clusters along the trail provided more opportunities for breaks as Amber paused to munch on a blade here and there. Despite her adventurous spirit, even Amber knew when to take a break and just relax. She knew when to stop and enjoy the treasures she found.
As I carefully watched her to make sure she would be safe, it occurred to me that this is how I should be on my own adventure through life. To go through life enjoying all the things we have been given and willing to try new adventures without fear. To be able to feel the tug of the Holy Spirit guiding me even when I can’t quite see the path ahead. To go forward knowing that if I start to wander in the wrong direction, to get too close to the edge, to attempt a climb too steep and dangerous, God will be there the whole time to gently pull me back to safety and help me find my way again. And in the midst of it all, to be able to stop, rest, and enjoy the blessings that surround me.
I wish I could see the exact plan all laid out ahead of me with little signs telling me which way to go, what decisions to make, and so on. But I can’t. The best I can do is pray for guidance and keep going forward with my full trust in God. When I feel myself beginning to stress over which way to go next or worrying over what might be ahead in life, I am going to take a cue from my pup and keep moving forward with the plans God has for me, stopping to rest and listen to His voice, and continuing on my journey with faith, hope, and excitement at the wonders God has in store.