Thursday, October 25, 2012

Living with Rabbits or How to Handle Irritation

Ziggy with his favorite chew toy.

My husband confessed the other day that he secretly snickers when I walk in the den and he hears, "RRRR.......RABBIT!!"  He knows the bunny has done something....chewed through a cord, eaten an important piece of paper, nibbled an art pencil, or knocked down the jar of food...and he has the nerve to find it amusing!

We have lived with a rabbit in the house going on 13 years now.  You'd think we would have ourselves trained by now.  We've owned two bunnies, Ziggy who lived for 11 years, and Sully who is almost 2.  These bunnies have been fun, engaging, charming little balls of PURE DESTRUCTION.  Both of them have eaten through computer and electrical cords, nibbled their way through piles of books, ripped open bags of rabbit food and hay (that were in cabinets they managed to open) as well as chewing their way through bedroom slippers, shoelaces, stuffed animals, and stripping wallpaper.
The rabbit ate my homework.!

WHY DO WE KEEP THE BUNNY?  Entertainment?  Fuzz Therapy?  It's not for the calming affect they have on me that's for sure.  I had an impulsive moment yesterday and bought blue nail polish.  I painted my fingers and then....I painted my toes.  As I was getting ready to write this I was standing in my bare feet in the den and I felt a nip and a nibble on my big toe.  The bunny was trying to eat the nail polish off my toe.   RRRR.....RABBIT!   I had to get up and put on slippers....which I hope he doesn't eat.

Scolding a bunny does not work.  Their expression never changes.  We've tried to rabbit proof things.  Cord covers, locks on cabinets, keep things off the floor, but occasionally something slips by the radar.  It's as challenging as having a toddler in the house. Interestingly this whole scenario reminded me of dealing with irritating people in our lives.  The person might be immediate family (not MY husband...), a relative, co-worker, or *gasp* church member, or just someone you meet while shopping, or dining - you know who I mean.    How do we handle the irritation?

There is only once when Jesus got irritated enough to yell. (Matthew 21:12-13) This was because the temple of His Father was being profaned.  But there were many times when the Pharisees were murmuring against him or trying to trip him up with sly questions.  Jesus, however, maintained his calm, answered respectfully, and showed love, even while on the cross, "Father, forgive them..." (Luke 23:34).

How do we follow Jesus' example?   Philippians 4:5 says, "let your moderation [gentleness] be known to all men."  Again we see gentleness mentioned here, "And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient" (2 Timothy 2:24).    But how can I achieve this level of kindness or gentleness?  How can we bite back bitterness or anger?

Some years ago I attended a workshop on puppet ministry.  Patty was the leader's name and she made a profound impact on my spiritual life by one simple statement.  She was telling us that in starting a ministry for the Lord we needed to be prepared for conflict.  She told us that when they started their puppet ministry, Growing Vines, a man from their church came and said he thought that it was a waste of time and money for such a foolish venture and did not see how silly puppets could tell the Gospel. There were many of us in the group that gasped audibly.  Then she said to us, "I am so glad I was 'prayed up,' or I would have answered in anger."  Prayed up.  Prayed up.

  "And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he [Jesus] went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed." (Mark 1:35) If Jesus, being God, still needed to take time to pray about his day, how much more do we need that solitary time to let God prepare us for our day?

The Growing Vines puppet ministry is still going strong.  And by the way, after seeing their first performance, the church member came up to Patty crying and apologized and said how wrong he was about the puppets.  

Have a blessed day - and get PRAYED UP!

P.S.  If you would like to see my favorite bunny book, Marshmallow, click here.
   And also - We keep the little irritating ball of fur because he is also one of God's creations that teaches me patience every day.  

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