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How To Level Up When it Matters Most…Part 2 (What Happened to Louie?)

Last month we talked about part one on how to level up when it matters most. The first thing we discussed is that consulting with God must be your top priority. That means you are not going to move forward in any decision concerning people, places, or things until you have had an up-close and intimate conversation with God first. Second, we talked about only pivoting if it aligns with your purpose. We are no longer going to pivot based on good ideas or influence. Instead, we are only going to make a change, turn, adjustment, and/or a transitional shift if it aligns with your God-given identity. Third, we discussed disciplining your lifestyle in such a way that you have respect for patience and time. It is necessary that you not only set healthy boundaries, but also look at patience not with the muscle of frustration, but with the mindset of endurance.

As we shift to part two on how to level up when it matters most, you may want to get some popcorn ready, or your favorite snack because this is truly a story like no other. I tell people if you want to hear a good story, just call me. I promise you; I can pull a plethora of life experiences and provide you a moment of laughter, tears, and shock as well as wisdom and life lessons. Most of you who know something about me are aware that I am a dog lover. I grew up with a fur baby named Tiger. He was full of spunk, stubbornness, and personality. Later in life, I also had a horse of a fur baby named Jase. He was an old English sheepdog. He was beautiful and big at the same time. It has been a while since I have had a dog in my life and most recently, I said to myself, “I want a dog.” I was having some conversations with friends and one of the re-occurring questions they asked was, “Carenda, are you really ready for a dog?” They went on to say, “You have a busy lifestyle. You are on the go a lot. You like to travel. Is this a good time for you to have a dog?” Oh, I said to them, “Absolutely, this is a great time for me to welcome a new fur baby into my humble abode. Yes, I’m ready.” As you may recognize, I did not take my own advice in part one to consult with God first. All I knew, I was determined on getting a dog. The search began on Pet Finder. Let me tell you, they make it so easy for you. All you need to do is put in your location, what you are looking for, and they will filter those results and before you know it an abundance of sweet doggy pictures are in front of you.

For a while I did not really see a doggy that pricked my heart, until I saw Louie. Oh, my goodness, I looked at those ears and those eyes, and I said, “He is my new fur baby.” I started the long process of filling out the application, completing a self-assessment, and submitting references all to prepare Louie for his new home. I even went so far to pre-order items, such as toys and treats off Amazon before I even did a meet and greet with Louie. Once I received my congratulations email that I had been approved to adopt Louie, I responded to the rescuer immediately with excitement ready to set a date to meet Louie, and bring him home. After the date was set, the time finally came to take this one-hour drive to South Carolina to meet Louie. I was on the phone talking to my friends and just sharing how anxious and excited I was.

Once I arrived the staff was very friendly, they greeted me with a smile, and they told me to wait a few minutes, and they would bring Louie out to meet me. I kept looking around the corner, my eyes were fixated on the door waiting for it to open. When they brought Louie out, I said, “Oh my goodness, look at Louie!” He was very shy initially and it took several minutes before he warmed up to me. His ears were cute and adorable. He had lots of fluffy soft hair, and who could not love those eyes. However, I was not 100% sure if I wanted to take Louie home. I videoed with a friend and said, “Do you think he is cute? Does he look big?” I started questioning myself and was beginning to feel a little hesitant. The staff came over told me some stories about Louie, talked to me about his temperament on how well he does with people and other dogs, and they even said, “We will give you a bag of dog food, give you a harness and leash, and we will even bathe and groom him if you would like to take him home.” Oh, the deal was sweet, and I said, “Wow! You will do all of that? Yes, I will take Louie home.”

The drive home with Louie was an experience to say the least. Initially he just looked at me and everything seemed to be fine. Then he began to whine and cry loudly. Before I knew it, my sweet new fur baby Louie, had threw up all over the seats of my car. The hour ride home ended up being almost two. I remember pulling over a few times trying to calm him down, find some napkins and towels to save the quality of my seats, and praying to God that we got home safely. Once getting Louie home I was exhausted. I was hangry. I was tired, and to be completely honest I did not want to be bothered. I had to now get him in the house, reclean him and my car seats. I still needed to eat and so did he, and I still needed to walk him. It was at that exact moment when reality started to sit in. I just remember feeling this burden come over me.

That morning I got up and Louie did good in his crate that night, but he was excited to get out of that crate. He was jumping, ready to take a walk and to play, and I was ready to relax, watch TV and lay back down. When we came back from the walk, I will never forget it. I remember Louie looking at me, and I’m looking at Louie and I said to myself, “I am not ready for a dog.” I called one of my girlfriends and I said, “I have something to tell you, and I just need you to listen.” I went on to say, “I was so excited talking about getting a dog. I could not stop talking about Louie, but now that I’m home with Louie and the reality of the responsibility has set in, I know I am not ready, and I need more time.”

My friend said to me, “Well, what are you going to do?” I said, “I’m getting ready to get dressed and I’m going to take Louie back.” I do not know if Louie knew something was up or not, but I know he just had this look in his eyes, that appeared to be sad. Louie got carsick again bad, but this time I was prepared. When I pulled up to the gate the staff looked at me, and the first thing they said was, “What happened? What did Louie do wrong?” My immediate response to them was, “It’s not Louie, it’s me. I thought I was ready for a dog, but I am not.” They graciously understood. I handed Louie back over to them, and as I drove off, I prayed that he would find a new forever home, but I also felt a sense of relief and freedom. As hard as it was, I knew I made the right decision.

I think Louie was in my life for a total of twelve to fifteen hours. I said all of that to say sometimes you think you are ready for something, but you need more time. Sometimes it is not until you experience what you thought you were ready for, only to find out that you are not. Sometimes you can want what you want for various reasons, but it may not be profitable or beneficial in that season of your life. (See 1 Corinthians 10:23) I do believe one day there will be another Louie, but I knew very quickly I was out of season for what I thought I was ready for. When it is time to level up when it matters most, you must be honest with yourself. If you find yourself in a situation where you thought you were ready for something and you are not, you must confront it. Do not hold on to something or someone out of guilt, remorse, or what others say, or do not say. It’s okay if you need more time to prepare yourself for your next level. It’s okay to admit that you made a mistake. It’s okay to put your pride and ego aside and do what you know is right. Please remember this, no matter how sweet the deal is, if you decide to commit to something that you are not ready for it will not be a blessing, it will be a burden! Continue to level up when it matters most!

Min. Carenda Deonne


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