I used to watch a show called “The Dog Whisperer” about a man named Cesar Millan and his ability to communicate and understand dogs. Generally someone who was having trouble with their dog or dogs would call him to come and help them in a last ditch effort to bring peace to their home.
Most of the shows Caesar would work with the dogs but in reality it was the owners who needed the training. They had to be shown how to treat a dog as if they are a dog rather than a person. It seems we tend to forget our pets aren’t people and we need someone to remind us. The first step in solving a problem is recognizing there is a problem right? As is the case most of the time the solution starts with identity. The owner has to identify the dog is a dog and they operate as a dog and not a person. By the way this really isn’t about dogs it’s about us. We need to see how we are meant to operate too.
Dogs are wired to live in packs. Let me share a quote from Cesar himself he says, “Dogs need to know their pack leader is clearly setting the rules, boundaries and limitations for their life both inside and outside the house. Anger, aggression, or abuse toward the dog will not establish you as pack leader; and angry, aggressive leader is not in control. Calm-assertive energy and daily, consistent leadership behavior will make enforcing the rules easier. If a dog doesn’t trust its owner to be a strong, stable pack leader, it becomes unclear about its correct role within the pack. A dog that is confused about who is in charge is actually concerned about the ability of the pack to survive, so it attempts to fill in the missing leadership elements, often erratically. This can cause aggression, anxiety, fear,obsessions, or phobias – what I call “issues.”
Notice how these “issues” of aggression, anxiety, fear, obsessions, phobias and so on are not in the pack leader they are in the dog, a dog that is confused as to who is in charge mind you. This serves as a perfect example of how we are when we aren’t trusting our pack leader-Jesus Christ. When we find ourselves in drama or chaos maybe we need to check with the pack-leader. Could it be all the dogs (we and the people around us) that are trying to be the head when only Jesus is the head of the church. Could this be what’s causing our troubles?
In Romans 7 the Apostle Paul spells out for us what it looks like when someone attempts to find stability, victory and rest apart from their pack leader. He said, “The thing I want to do I don’t do and the thing I don’t want to do I keep doing!” Sounds like anxiety to me. The good news is he finally comes to the pack leader and says, “Who will deliver me from the body of this death? Our one and only true pack leader has been there all along, “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” If we are at odds with ourselves more than likely we’ll be at odds with others.
Jesus, our pack leader, said, “Come to me all who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest.” Once we have our fill of anxiety, drama, agitation, distress and sorrow we may start to trust our pack leader but until then we continue to live as if we are in charge. God and life won’t let us live as if we’re in charge for long, without some amount of discomfort, which is for our good. It may take a significant amount of stress to break us from our false sense of independence. Usually it’s only then we learn to trust the pack leader rather than ourselves.