I called my dog to go on a run with me. He can’t stop wiggling in excitement when he sees me grab my running shoes and pretty much sits on the laces as I try to tie them, as if he were saying, “here I am, don’t leave without me!”
We hit the road. He’s nearly perfectly leashed trained, but he still pulls a little bit when we start. Call it the Border Collie in him, he doesn’t like running beside me, its always out in front or if anyone else is on the trail, he is convinced he needs to be in front of them leading the herd!
Not too much time goes by before he falls into step and we have a nice run together.. for about a mile and a half, then he really slows down. I know he is more of a sprinter than a long distance dog, he’s got shorter legs, he’s only 22 pounds, so I run around the trail behind our house a couple of times and just drop him off if I want to go for longer.
On this particular day, I didn’t believe he was tired, but he was a little laggy. I stopped, and for no particular reason decided to unclip his leash and let him run. And RUN he did. His tail perked up into this near perfect arch over his back, ears erect as he bounded like a deer through the open field that the trail bordered. I was shocked. As I watched him, I couldn’t help but laugh audibly. He was hilarious and somewhat inspiring at the same time- you could see the joy as he darted this way and that, running how he had been designed to run: free.
That’s when it hit me: the leash. It inhibits. It holds back. Restricts. It creates a finite distance, and try as he may, he couldn’t overpower it, or overextend it. At some point, he just stopped trying. He had gotten use to its confines.
My chest grew heavy as I detected a parallel in my soul. This is what my past had done to me. I was leashed to it. Chained. There were times I tried to pull against it on my own, pushing back the lies and the memories in my head, but ultimately succumbing to the weight regret had birthed. I stopped trying to get free. Every once in a while I would start to think better of myself, but shame returned like the recurring part of a broken record, and in defeat I’d be reminded that no one would understand, no one would like me, and I wasn’t meant to do much with my life anyway. Longingly I would look back, the connection seemingly impenetrable, and resign all efforts.
Just like my dog couldn’t let himself off the leash, I believe to become fully unhooked we have to look to God for the rescue. Though the enemy holds tight, and tries to make us believe there is no escape, there is One who already has the victory, and a defeated foe holds no power. These leashes are fictitious limitation.
We can embrace truth and let God release us from our captivity to live free. We are made free when we let Jesus lead our lives, which in turn redeems our past and makes us brand new creations. And when we are brand new creations, the things of the past have no power for evil, but can be used for good. As we allow Him to lead us, our steps elongate, our cadence hits stride and we take off the way He has always intended us to. My dog was made to run and leap and bound over the fields- he’s just doing what he was made to do.
Get unclipped and do what you were made to do.
Galatians 5:1 It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.