"Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.
The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak."
If you've read my book then you know about the work I've done helping Dominique Decoco with her reactions to other dogs. For the most part (four years later) she is a completely different dog. I can walk around our nearby park called Green Lake without a problem. However, when I walk around my neighborhood, she still tends to act up when we pass by the occasional dog.
I see this as the perfect opportunity to employ some of the techniques I've learned over the past year studying to become a dog trainer. One helpful command is called "watch me." This is when you teach a dog to stop what it's doing and look you in the eyes. You start by rewarding for just a momentary glance and work up to keeping your dog's gaze for longer and longer periods. Using a clicker and lots of treats, I started in a quiet non-distracting environment and slowly raised the criteria until I could get Coco's attention on a walk around the neighborhood using the watch me command.
Now, when I see a dog coming our way I begin the routine. "Coco, sit. Watch me." She instantly sits and looks up into my eyes as the other dog passes by. Instead of growling and lunging at what normally agitates her, she is now occupied by something better... looking at me! I say, "good girl," and give her a little treat from my pocket as we continue on our merry way.
What an example she sets for me as she demonstrates a beautiful scriptural directive. "Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory." (Colossians 3:2-4)
When I am tempted by sin—whether it be to worry about the future or to despair about what happened yesterday; when I read something on social media that raises my hackles and I want to make judgments or to envy... I hear the Lord say, "Vicki, watch Me. Fix your eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of your faith..." and it reminds me what to do instead. Turn my gaze upward and pray (with thanksgiving). My flesh may be weak, but the spirit is willing! God's Holy Spirit infused with my own—He will help me, teach me, lead me.
As I obey and keep my focus on the Savior, the temptation passes by as I continue walking "right here" by the Master's side.