Years ago, my sons and I decided to get a four-legged friend for our family. This was a big step for a single mom on a fixed income, but the boys were old enough to manage responsibility and they adored dogs. I knew the timing was right. We invested a lot of energy into choosing the perfect Labrador breeder and spent a pretty penny for our little girl. ‘Zoe’ was beautiful, sweet, and the perfect addition. We adopted her, first and foremost, to be a part of our family, but we also had every intention of breeding her at least once.
Before picking our puppy, we checked out her parents thoroughly. We learned the only responsible way to breed was if we could improve the breed, so we made sure Zoe came from an exceptional line with the best chance of having an even temperament and healthy hips. We were, if nothing else, thorough.
When Zoe turned 2, we had her hips x-rayed, praying this was nothing more than a formality. Much to our surprise and dismay, the results were poor and our veterinarian recommended against breeding. We were devastated. She was ours and she was staying, but our dream of having puppies from her was instantly dashed.
I asked the Dr. what I had done wrong.
He said, “Nothing.”
It didn’t feel that way.
The Dr. kindly explained numbers, statistics, and percentages, all of which sounded like Charlie Brown’s “Wah Wa Wa Wa Wahhhhh”.
But then he said something that grabbed my attention through the haze I was feeling and made all the sense in the world. He said, “Sherry, it’s like this. You did everything right. You researched and did your due diligence, dotted every ‘i’ and crossed every ‘t’. You picked up your sweet puppy and then, of no fault of your own, you got rear-ended on the way home.”
Wow. Such profound wisdom. Really. I got rear-ended on the way home.
I have often thought about the Dr.’s sage advice and have applied his rationale to many different situations.
We can plan and prepare to our heart’s content and guess what? There are NO guarantees that things will work out as we expect. Absolutely none.
So does that mean that we’re off the hook for trying? Nope.
God calls us to try; to always do our best. You see, it’s not the end result which matters most, but the effort, integrity, determination, and fortitude we put forth along the way.
- If your child received a ‘C’ in English but you knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that he did his level best, would you be proud? Absolutely!
- If you went to great pains preparing a delicious meal and unbeknownst to you, one of the ingredients was rotten or sour, would you quit cooking forever? Of course not.
- How about with relationships? Let’s say you are the ‘best’ friend you know how to be. You show love, concern, grace, and kindness, but for some reason, it’s just not enough. The recipient of your intended goodwill just doesn’t see it as such. Would you throw the towel in and become a nasty, hardhearted person to everyone? I should hope not!
The point is no matter how hard you try, there are no assurances that things will work out the way you anticipate. Your measure of success should be in your heart and in your effort, not simply in the outcome.
There’s a saying, “The best laid plans…” Yeah, well, we all know how that one ends.
In my younger years, I was the queen of “second place is the first loser.” I was all about the end result. Nothing mattered but achieving the pinnacle of success. Unfortunately, misguided and destructive. Today, while I still don’t believe everyone always deserves a trophy, and it’s perfectly okay to keep score in T-Ball games (Okay, old habits die hard! Cut me SOME slack…), I do believe we should pay a whole lot more attention to the joy, quality, and integrity of the journey, not simply the worldly goal.
Are there times that no matter how well you ‘drive’, you’re going to end up getting rear-ended? Sure. But when that happens, brush your knees off, get up, and try, try, try again. Do it with heart, with love, and with integrity. Don’t get discouraged, don’t give up, and most of all, have faith that eventually, one way or the other, your well-intentioned efforts will pay off! Consider God’s desire and the blessings He has in store for you!
From Colossians 3:23-24 we are told, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”
Blessings to you on your journey!
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