“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13
One of the beautiful, albeit hard and convicting, lessons I have learned through caring for a large number of rescued dogs through the years, especially when it comes to the special needs and seniors in my care, is how to be much more sensitive to people and their needs. If the truth be told, I have not wanted to continue caring for my big crew of what now are all special needs and senior rescued dogs, in several years. I burned out, so to speak, long ago. What with being responsible for them 24-7 with little to no human help, coupled with my work as an evangelist and author as my highest work priority, and not having been able to go away in over six years because of the dogs, I have cried, sobbed, pleaded, begged, prayed, yelled, raged, cursed, then repented, etc., to convince God that I NEED HELP, that I NEED A BREAK, and THAT I CAN’T DO THIS ANYMORE. Instead of giving me the break I have desperately wanted, God has used all this to refine me and transform me into the woman of God He created me to be. Like when it comes to sensitivity to people.
With all the dogs, and all their very pronounced needs, and almost no help, I have had to learn to keep my ears and eyes constantly WIDE OPEN for any sign whatsoever of medical needs, emergencies, medication needs, infections, sickness, disease, tumors, weight gain or loss, fights, cries, barks, signs of dying, breathing problems, snake bites, everything imaginable. I have then had to learn to act quickly and wisely in response, not to mention lovingly, mercifully, calmly, and patiently, areas in which I still have a very long way to go! God has fine-tuned my hearing, eyesight, and heart through all this whereby I have become hypersensitive to others’ needs rather than being 100% self-consumed as I once was.
I believe Christ’s command to love others is NOT just about giving and serving. But it’s about so learning to lay down our own lives, ways, wishes, and wants, that instead of being consumed with ourselves, our ears, eyes, and hearts are ever wide open. To whom? To what? To the Holy Spirit’s leading, to God’s Word, to His love and mercy, to the needs of those with whom we cross paths each day, and to how the Lord would lead us to reach out and express Christ’s love to help meet the needs of others. After decades of selfishness, I heard my beloved Mom one day thank me for my thoughtfulness. I had learned to love, bless, and honor her without needing to be asked because God has taught me to love others by being vigilant in thinking of and being a blessing to others in His name. We shouldn’t need to be asked by others to see their needs and love them; loving others is a command, and sensitivity should go without saying.