what we learn from a dog in the driver's seat

©Joy Dunlap  https://joydunlap.com

The dog was in the driver’s seat.

Behind the steering wheel, her furry face turned from the right to the left.  Instead of looking forward most of the time, she kept glancing out the side window which had been powered down partway.

Mere minutes before, the dog’s master, adopter and friend had left the car, keeping the window down far enough for her to get her head through, but not enough to get out of the car.  Maybe.

I’ve seen this happen before.

After the owner gets out of the car, the beloved fur-friend jumps into the driver’s seat.

Perhaps she’s looking for the one who adopted her.  Could be she’s trying to get close to the scent of the one who takes care of her.  Possibly she wants to be in the last place occupied by the one who loves her.

But, maybe just maybe, she wants to try out the driver’s seat.

Dogs look cute and comical behind the wheel of a parked car as their paws slide the steering wheel from side to side and they peer out the windows.

Yet we know they weren’t intended to actually drive. Sure, playful pups may move in toy cars on stage during talent shows, but that’s an act.

When we slide into the driver’s seat, it’s often not because we’re trying to be close to God, it’s because we’re trying to take over the driving.

Our desire to try to control where we’re going, the speed to get there, and the ability to take detours and stops along the way tempts us to pull out into the traffic of the world on our own power and use our own directions.

That driver’s seat is comfortable until we get lost, run out of gas, or crash.  Sadly, that is usually the time when we finally decide it’s a good idea to turn over the wheel.  To leave the driving to God.

Maybe that’s why seeing the dog in the driver’s seat made me smile – and think about what she was doing.

Seek the Scent

That loyal one got as close as she could to the scent of her guide and friend by hopping in the seat where he had been.

Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.  Ephesians 5:1-2 NIV

Obey the Commands

Of course, the sweet-faced canine would have enjoyed joining her loving owner where he went, but she obeyed the command and did the job she was instructed to do.

This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome.  1 John 5:2-3 NIV

Stand Guard

As a member of the family, the dog stood tall and kept a lookout over her adoptive father’s possessions.

Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. 1 Corinthians 13:16 NIV

Be Diligent

The pretty pooch could have curled up and napped in the front seat, but she didn’t.

We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, so that what you hope for may be fully realized. We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.  Hebrews 6:11-12 NIV

Expect the Return

She trusted that the one who loved her would also be true to his word and return.

And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.  John 14:3 NIV

Experience and Share Delight

That precious pup turned her head and smiled at us as she waited.  Content with where she was and whose she was, she brightened the days of those of us who encountered her.

I was filled with delight day after day, rejoicing always in his presence, rejoicing in his whole world and delighting in mankind. Proverbs 8:30-31 NIV

  • When was a time you drove a vehicle when you shouldn’t – or wish you hadn’t?
  • In what ways do you find it difficult to let God stay in the driver’s seat in your life?
  • What delights you about God?
  • If you jumped into the space where you last felt closest to God, where would that be and why?

This is what the Lord says— your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.”  Isaiah 48:17 NIV


Life is Better When It’s Full – Joy-full, Thank-full, Purpose-full and Friend-full! ™


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