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I remember as a child playing with friends one summer evening. One of boys owned a puppy dog, and even at a very young age the collie was obedient. 


We would plant two sticks upright at intervals in a field and then attach another stick or string as a crossbar, creating a circuit of ‘jumps’ for the dog. He was a good jumper; that is until we started to raise the bar. The puppy still ran the circuit but for any jump it considered to high it would simply run under the bar. Smart dog, some would say. 


Sometimes in life we want to set the bar for other people to jump. Our expectations can be high, sometimes higher than we could ever achieve ourselves. And when they don’t meet the standards or conditions we set or want from them we can end up disappointed or nurture a feeling of being let down. And that opens the door for other negative thoughts and feelings to enter the heart. 


I enjoyed the evening shared with my friends, and encouraging the dog to jump. It never crossed my mind at the time that the puppy had limitations and was still growing. I too was young and lacking in understanding and ability. 


Faith can be like that. We can be joyful encouraging each other in leaps of faith, sharing moments of faith, but all of us are still growing in faith and at different stages on our faith journey. Unreasonable demands on others and even oneself usually end up in disappointment and frustration. 


There is a prayer, a favourite of mine, which reminds me to accept the things I cannot change, to ask for courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.

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