Embracing Small Dog Syndrome



Anyone who knows me knows Hank, my Snorkie pup. It’s kind of amazing that it has taken this long for Hank to appear in a blog! Hank is sensitive, way too smart, playful, and energetic. He is a dog that knows what he wants and knows how to communicate it. And of course, he’s adorable! However, Hank has small dog syndrome. He is a 14 lbs fluff ball on the outside. But he is 100 lbs of fierce guard dog on the inside. He believes he can take on anything and everyone. He has very little fear. In his mind, he owns the whole neighborhood and everyone needs his permission to pass in front of our house or through his yard. Similar to Hank, we might look like lambs on the outside, but we have the power of the living God on the inside. I wonder how often God longs for us to act with the belief and knowledge of that truth.

Recently I’ve been struck by how we don’t typically see ourselves the way God sees us. For that matter, I don’t know that we typically see ourselves the way others see us! So often we underestimate ourselves, and worst of all, we underestimate what God wants to do through us. God’s desire is to use us, despite of and BECAUSE of our weaknesses, to bring glory to God and His kingdom. Paul says, “[God] said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong (2 Corinthians 12: 9-10).” God is not embarrassed or ashamed of our weaknesses. No, He delights in them and uses them for His purposes. He longs for us to step out in faith so that he can finish in His strength the tasks that cannot possibly be finished in our own.

In Deuteronomy, God speaks through Moses to give a message to Joshua and the rest of the spies being sent in to scout the Promised Land. He says, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you, he will never leave you nor forsake you (Deuteronomy 31:6).” That message still applies to us today. We can be strong and courageous, like Hank watching over the neighborhood, because we know that God goes with us, will never leave us, and will never forsake us. When we live out that truth and remember our true identity is found in Christ, we can live with great courage, be amazingly bold, and demonstrate unshakable faith. We might feel like “small dogs” but because of our identity in Christ and the power of God within us, we need to live like German shepherds.




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