Allowing Ourselves To Be Shaped

Henry and GraceHenry and Grace 

My daughter Sarah’s new puppy Henry has been with us for a little over two months now. We’re all adjusting to and enjoying this new member of the family. Henry embodies raw energy. Running, leaping, pouncing, chewing, and digging . . . he goes non-stop until he passes out on his dog bed.

Different

Our golden retriever Grace sits at the other end of the spectrum  . . . literally. She sits, reclines, and loves to be petted. She enjoys watching activity, not participating in it. As a result, Henry has rocked her world. He constantly tugs on her ears, pounces on top of her, and nips at her feet. She lets him, but I can tell that Henry is stretching Grace.

That can happen in life. People come into our lives and challenge us in all sorts of ways. Often, because they are different than us, they can annoy or aggravate us. The Amplified version of the Bible says, “Iron sharpens iron; so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend [to show rage or worthy purpose]” (Proverbs 27:17).

Determined

In other words, God allows these individuals to come into our lives. He determines ahead of time that it would happen. He intends to use these individuals to sharpen and shape us to be better and stronger witnesses for Him. We decide if we will allow that process to take place. We choose whether we will get angry and rant about that person (rage), or whether we will receive and submit to what the Lord is doing (His worthy purpose).

Joyce Meyer once said, “Difficult people in our lives are often the sandpaper the Lord is using to try to rub off our own rough edges.”

I am not talking about allowing abuse of any kind. I am talking about our reactions to and relationships with people who are different than us, individuals designed by God using a different mold than ours. Yes, even difficult people. (Sometimes, the lesson involves dealing with ungodly people in a godly way.)

Either way, the Lord orchestrates all the details of our lives, and His loving intent is to work everything together for good (Romans 8:28).

Deliberate

I saw something amazing today. Grace ran. Really ran. Fast. I took the dogs out in the backyard, expecting to see Grace sit while Henry ran, and then it happened. Grace took off like a flash. I don’t know who was more surprised—me or Henry. But the next thing I knew, Henry was bounding after Grace, and the two of them spent five glorious minutes chasing one another, dashing through foliage, leaping through bushes, and feeling the wind soaring past them.

We, too, can experience new and wonderful developments in our own lives if we are deliberate to pay attention to the people around us, and not just dismiss them because they are different. We can ask the Lord to open our eyes, ears, and hearts to His activity through others. Often, they shape us, and we shape them.

Grace is allowing herself to be influenced for good by Henry. She is experiencing a new zest for life. And Henry? He is learning that, sometimes, the best thing to do is slow down and snuggle up with a friend.

Grace and Henry sleeping

 Question: How has God stretched and shaped you through different people in your life? Comment at the link below.

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