Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Barking Stance

It is always funny for me to see my brothers dog, Molly, attempt to “speak.” She is a very smart and trainable Bichon Frise, she knows what she is supposed to do. She assumes a barking stance. She forms her face into a barking expression. Then she opens and closes her jaws. She looks like she is barking, but it takes a while for any sound to come out. When it finally does, it is not nearly as loud as the sound she makes when she is really barking. I think this happens because dogs usually bark instinctually as a reaction to something, so it is hard for her to re-create such an experience deliberately.
Even for humans it seems there are a few things in life which cannot be obtained by actively seeking to obtain them. One might be sleep. If you are trying to go to sleep, it often will not happen. It seems like you have to simply put yourself in a sleeping posture, then sleep comes. 
Several studies have found that happiness may be a similar process. Participants who listened to music in order to make themselves happy were less happy than those who just listened to it . Similarly, another study found that individuals who value happiness more, were actually less happy.
In Matthew 7:7-12, Jesus seems to be telling his followers two separate (seemingly contradictory) things. First he tells them to seek and they will find. Then he tells them that God is like their father, who will give them good things. It seems a little contradictory because if I find something myself, why do I have to depend on God giving me something? 
Although it seems contradictory, it fits with some of my life’s endeavors. Sometimes everything appears to be in order, yet something does not work, the reason for the failure is illusive. The opposite also occurs, where all signs point to failure, then success is the outcome. 

I think the reality of the situation is that we are supposed to use the resources God has given us to “ask, seek, and knock.” However, we also have to realize that our receiving good things or being successful is not entirely related to our efforts. May be we are a little like Molly, trying to act out the bark. We have to keep trying, trusting God that he will produce the sound.

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