My granddog knows many commands, and he tries to listen and respond well. But sometimes he gets too excited or distracted.
I spent about a half hour with him recently to break up his long day at home by himself. It was a gorgeous day, so I knew he’d enjoy some outside time. I decided to try to wear him out a bit with a game of fetch. Before I threw the ball each time, I’d tell him to sit, speak, whisper, or lie down. He started to anticipate what I might say. He knew something was coming but wasn’t sure what. He was starting to get tired. And he’d just try anything to hopefully respond to the right command.
He’d go through all the possibilities until his action triggered a “good, boy,” and I’d throw the ball.
We do the same at times. We work through all the possibilities we consider might work in order to get the response we want instead of slowing down, paying attention, listening, and responding more accurately.
We might get the response we’re looking for sometimes, but why expend all that extra energy? Why not take the time to assess what God wants us to do? In fact, God is much less concerned about us triggering a specific affirmation than actually paying attention and listening. God wants us to connect with him, and that takes eye contact, time, and humility.
Otherwise, we’re just running through a bunch of possibilities trying to behave instead of trusting him to guide each step along the way.