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-- © GodSpeak International 2005 --
-- Do not republish without written permission from <copyright@godspeak.org> --

Author: Teresa Seputis <ts@godspeak.net>

Prayer-School Course #31

Thoughts From Teresa

By Teresa Seputis

Lesson 22
Clockwise or Counter-Clockwise?

Are you a clockwise dog or a count-clockwise dog?

That may seem like a strange question, so let me elaborate and give some background. I have two dogs, and each has it's own unique personality. We also have this indoor pool that we started building back when I still worked as a software engineer (and still made lots of money). It took a long time to construct this, so we've only had it a couple of years. (We replaced part of our back yard with a large add-on room that has a swimming pool in it. It has cement instead of a floor, and there is a small space between the pool and all of the walls. The net effect is that it is like having a sidewalk all the way around the indoor pool. We also have a cement dog-run for our dogs, and the only way to get to the dog run is by going through the room with the indoor pool.

One week it rained every day and the more active of my two dogs was going stir crazy. He was just like your typical kid who wants to go outside and play but can't because it is raining out. He had to go potty, so I took him through the pool room to the dog run. My stir-crazy dog suddenly started to run laps around the pool, and he happened to run in a counter clockwise direction. It must have felt really good for him to run after being cooped up in the house all week, because he was barking happily and wagging his tail and running his little heart out. He ran about eight laps before he stopped for breath. It was quite a sight to watch and I laughed and laughed as my little "racer" did his "laps" around the swimming-pool "track."

Later that day, he had to go out again for more "doggie business" and he did the same thing again. This quickly became a habit with him. He loves to run laps around the pool, and always in a counter-clockwise direction. If I clapped my hands and encouraged him on, I could get him to do up to 30 or 40 laps, which was a nice little "workout" for him. He is the sort of high-energy dog who needs his workouts.

My other dog is not high energy at all. In fact, my husband teasingly calls him our "Yellow Dog" after the lazy dog in a Chevy Chase movie. The dog in that movie dog was so lazy that all it would do was lay by the fireplace and sleep. One time its tail caught on fire and the dog could not even be bothered to get up and move it's tail out of the fire. Chevy Chase had to use the fireplace prongs to take the dog's tail out of the fireplace and pour a glass of water on the burning tail. And the dog just sort of slept through the whole thing.

My dog is not as lazy as the original "Yellow Dog", but he definitely is not a high energy dog. One rainy day he came in from the dog run with muddy wet feet and I decided to walk him the "long way" around the pool to clean off his feet before we hit the carpet. That happened to be in a clockwise direction around the pool. It seemed to work well, so I did it the rest of that rainy week. When it stopped raining, I tried to take him the normal way back to the house, but the "long way" had already become a habit with him. Now he always goes clockwise around the pool when he comes in from the dog run.

I had tried to get the active dog to go with us around the pool that rainy day, but he was already "trained" to run laps the other direction. He got almost one third of way around the pool with us, then stopped and began to whine. He was used to counter-clockwise and I guess clockwise just did not feel right to him. He turned around and ran three laps full speed around the pool his usual direction while we walked the remaining way around the pool in the other direction.

I soon realized that I had one dog who would only walk around the pool in a clockwise direction and the other dog who would only run around the pool in a counter-clockwise direction. Dogs are creatures of habit and sometimes they acquire their habits with amazing speed.

I spent the next several weeks trying to see if I could get either dog to switch direction so they could both go the same way. My efforts were completely unsuccessful. If we went the clockwise direction, the high energy dog would make it about 1/4 to 1/3 of the way with us sort of whimpering and whining. The he would turn around and run around the pool several times in his preferred direction, wagging his tail and barking loudly. If I tried to go in the counter-clockwise direction, my lethargic dog would not even start with me. He would just sit there with a woe-bygone look on his face and maybe he would let out a whimper or two. No amount of coaxing could budge him. Then he would finally get up and walk slowly and purposely around the pool in his preferred direction.

I finally gave up and accepted the situation. I had a clockwise dog and a counter-clockwise one -- and there was no chance that either was going to change. It sort of became a family joke. But mostly we got used to it and did not think about it much.

Once day I was bringing the dogs in from the dog run when the Lord asked me a question. One dog was slowly walking back the "long way" around the pool (clockwise) and the other dog was running laps in the opposite direction. I just walked the shortest way back (counter-clockwise) to the family room, watching the dogs and laughing at them.

Suddenly God asked me, "Teresa, which are you? Are you a clockwise dog or a counter-clockwise one?"

My first response was "huh?" That seemed like a strange question because I was not a dog at all. So the Lord dropped some understanding of what He meant into my spirit. He was talking about the habits we build in our relationship with Him. He happens to meet us in a certain way one time, and we begin to look for that as His pattern of how He wants to interact with us. We can become fixed in our ways with the Lord as quickly as my dogs became fixed in what direction they wanted to go around the swimming pool.

I hadn't answered yet, so the Lord repeated the question. "Teresa, which are you? Are you a clockwise dog or a counter-clockwise one?"

I came up with what I thought was a clever answer, "Lord, which would You like me to be?"

Again His answer surprised me. "Neither."


"Teresa, I don't want you getting into one type of habit or another with your relationship with Me or in serving Me. Instead, I want you to watch Me and follow Me and go the direction that I am going."

Isn't that basically what Jesus said He did in John 5:19? "Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner." And He said something similar in John 12:49 when He said, "For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak."

God doesn't want us to become creatures of habit in our relationship with Him. He doesn't want routine and ritual to replace seeing Him and hearing what He is saying to us. God wants us to seek Him, for if we seek Him we will surely find Him, as per 1 Chronicles 28:9. God wants us to look to Him each day for fresh direction and fresh revelation of Him. He wants to reveal Himself to is, because he loves us. Jesus said in John 5:20, "For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself does..."

God loves us in the same way and He wants to show us what He is doing so that we might do it with Him. That requires constant fresh revelation of what the Father is doing at the moment. We don't want to hear once and then stick stubbornly to what we heard -- we want to be in a living and breathing relationship with God where He is constantly speaking to us. What would have happened if Abraham only listened to God's initial direction to sacrifice Isaac and did not listen when God communicated His change of direction? The genealogies would have read quite a bit different, wouldn't they?

God does not want us to fall into some sort of habit or routine with Him. He wants to speak to us fresh each day, to show us what He is doing, to lead and to guide us. God is not looking for clockwise dogs and He is not looking for counter-clockwise ones. Instead, He is looking for dear children who are in a love-relationship with Him, and who watch Him and follow Him.

It is all too easy to fall into a routine or ritual in our walk with God, just like it was for each of my dogs to learn to prefer one direction around the pool over the other. The way to keep from falling into that rut or routine or habit is to keep our relationship with God alive and dynamic. We need to come into His presence each day, to seek Him, to ask Him to show us what He is doing that day. Once we know what our Father is doing, then we can ask Him to empower us to do it with Him.

So let's work hard to keep from falling into a habit or pattern in our walk with God -- be it clockwise or counter-clockwise. Instead, it's purposely fix our eyes on the Father and watch and follow Him!

-- © GodSpeak International 2005 --
-- Do not republish without written permission from copyright@godspeak.org --

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