Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Life is Better with Shoes

I don’t entertain that often, but when I do, I’m usually a nervous wreck. I just so want everything to go well, for the food to be delicious and for nothing embarrassing to happen. Because, for those of you who know me, it usually does when I’m involved.

I remember one night when I invited a friend over for a casual dinner. There was nothing special, just an easy dinner and some time to chat and catch up. It seemed simple enough to pull off. I planned a dinner menu, something I could make ahead and then cook just before my friend arrived. I love those make-ahead dinners. They save time and stress, plus you’re not chained to the stove when your guests arrive. You can actually join in on the conversation and enjoy the evening like everyone else. It was a brilliant plan.

I forgot to mention that I have a golden retriever named Indiana (Indy). He’s three years old now and more mature, but at the time of my dinner party he was only a year old and still sowing his wild oats. He was a busy puppy, very curious and into just about everything. He needed 24-hour supervision and even then, he could quickly get into trouble.  I decided to let Indy stay out of his kennel during my dinner, my first mistake. My friend, Leslie loves dogs and didn’t mind him being around. He had been behaving pretty well that day so I thought he wouldn’t be a problem. I didn’t know how long the dinner and chatting would last so I didn’t want him locked up all that evening.

Well everything seemed to be going well. Leslie arrived and we had some appetizers on the front porch. Indy was lying down beside me and behaving like a perfect angel. As we moved inside for dinner I decided to let Indy stay with us. He moved under the dining room table and spread out to take a nap. I was happy to see him going to sleep. That meant I wouldn’t have to keep such a close eye on him and we could eat in peace.

When we sat down at the table to eat, I apologized to Leslie for Indy spreading out under the table. “No problem,” she said. “I’ll just pet him with my feet while he sleeps.”

We had a great dinner and continued to sit and talk after we finished eating. I served dessert and there wasn’t the slightest peep from Indy. I commented on what a good boy he was being. Leslie had slipped off her shoes and was rubbing his back with her feet as we talked. It was a very relaxing evening.

As the evening came to a close Leslie said she needed to be getting home. She seemed to be frantically searching under the table for something. Robbie was helping her. I was busy clearing away the dirty dishes to the kitchen when suddenly, Robbie stood up with what appeared to be a black leather bow. I burst out laughing thinking Indy must have chewed up something belonging to Robbie earlier and left it under the table. But as I was laughing I could see neither Robbie nor Leslie was smiling. I quickly stopped laughing. Something was definitely wrong.

“That’s all that’s left of Leslie’s shoes,” announced Robbie.

Leslie slowly shook her head, confirming they were indeed her shoes.

“What about the other shoe,” I asked, swallowing hard.

Robbie looked once more under the table. “That’s it,” she said, holding up the small black bow. “Indy completely destroyed them. This bow is all that’s left.”

“What?” I said. I couldn’t believe my eyes. He had been so quiet during dinner, not a sound. How could it be?

It turns out that when Leslie slipped off her shoes and started rubbing Indy’s back with her bare feet, Indy proceeded to eat both of her shoes. What a great night he had. He was getting a wonderful back rub and had two shoes to chew on in the process. It was every puppy’s dream.

I was mortified. What do you say? “Sorry, my dog ate your shoes. You’ll have to go home barefoot.” I wanted to kill Indy and then hide in my bedroom for the rest of my life. I considered selling my home, leaving my church, moving to another country and dying my hair black. But I just had to face the music. There was nowhere to hide.

Leslie was such a good sport. She actually started laughing and found the whole thing hilarious while I hung my head in shame. Robbie quickly ran to her room and brought back several pairs of shoes for Leslie to try on so she wouldn’t have to go home with naked feet. Leslie insisted she was fine, but finally chose a pair of shoes to wear home. I also wrote her a check to cover the cost of her shoes and insisted she take it. It was the least I could do.

After Leslie left I lectured Indy for quite a while, but he didn’t seem to care. He looked very calm and serene. After all, he had gotten a great back rub and enjoyed a tasty pair of shoes at the same time. He saw no problem with the situation. In his eyes I’m sure he saw it as a very productive and relaxing evening.

In our spiritual walk we can’t afford to relax and slip off our armor, even for a second. The enemy is crouching like a thief and he is waiting for the right moment when we let down our guard, take off our armor and allow him a foothold in our life. He doesn’t even need a big foothold, just a small space to squeeze into. He’ll make you think it’s no big deal. He will make you believe that just because you let your side down just for a little while it won’t make a difference in your walk, but believe me, every inch you give the thief turns into a giant crater before you realize it.
“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.” 1 Corinthians 16:13 (NIV)

Never let down your guard. While you’re thinking all is well, the enemy will be destroying your life, bit by bit. God has a plan for your life and he will see it through if you keep your eyes on him. Don’t allow the enemy to nibble at your feet or you’ll be left holding the bits and pieces of your destroyed life.

Don’t worry. I didn’t kill Indy. He’s still around and he’s my best friend. But when I have dinner guests he goes upstairs. I like my guests to leave with their shoes still on their feet.

 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10 (NIV)

Trusting the enemy will leave you holding just the chewed up bow from your shoes. Keep up your guard. God is fighting right along side of you.