Even if you don’t have a dog, you need to walk your dog.
Like a lot of dog owners, I walk my dog (almost) every day. It’s routine, but some important things happen when I walk my dog (that have nothing to do with my dog).
My brain speed is the converse of my dog’s speed
When I walk my dog, usually at night, my dog has been stuck in the house all day and wants to get going. For me it’s the opposite: I’ve been going all day and don’t want to do anything. He starts off fast, tugging on the leash. This is annoying, but it does provide the benefit of lurching my mind awake. By the time my dog does his business in someone’s yard I’ve shed the day’s hassle and hustle and my brain starts to speed up as he starts to slow down.
I do some of my best thinking when I walk my dog. Thinking on family, ministry, calling, writing, nonprofit work, and more. By the time my dog’s tuckered out, I’m usually fired up about something.
I get some great ideas
Consequently, I come up with a lot of ideas. Things to write, decision points, ministry strategy, nonprofit objectives, long term goals, and reminders of people I need to re-connect with. Some people do their best thinking in the shower…I think I might do mine when I walk my dog. My next career shift, book idea, non-profit strategy advancement — probably going to be born out of walking my dog.
I get some bad ideas
On the flip side, I think of some real dumb stuff. My brain gets so busy I out kick my coverage, so to speak. I brainstorm blogs that by the time I sit down to write go absolutely nowhere (perhaps this one fits that bill). Dreams that are unrealistic. Decisions regarding ministry or our nonprofit work that we aren’t really ready for. I get ahead of myself. The good news is, I’ll walk again tomorrow, and these ideas can be discarded.
I get some peace and quiet
Okay, this isn’t always true. Sometimes I listen to classic country really loudly on Pandora. But sometimes I leave the earbuds at home and just walk. I stroll around my kids’ school and pray. It’s a good break, because my life is pretty noisy. Since I live in southeast Texas, I can usually bank on a temperate, pleasant evening. Some days, during the hectic seasons in life, it’s my favorite time of day.
The exercise is a plus, but that’s not why I go for a walk. I simply enjoy the solitude.
Walk your dog.
All that to say…you need to walk your dog. Even if you don’t have a dog. Get a dog and then walk it. Or find a dog-walking equivalent. Create some space in your life to think and have some peace and quiet. Take a drive. Walk yourself. Turn off the satellite radio during your commute. Daydream. Pray. Come up with some dumb ideas. Stumble upon some good ones. Brainstorm. Do something to get your mind flipping around in your skull. Get excited about something.
I wonder sometimes if all the great moments in history started when someone walked their dog. At what moment did Martin Luther King Jr. decide it was time to speak up? When did women’s suffrage really begin to grow into a movement? Maybe before the Pilgrims were the Pilgrims, some guy just walked his dog down the dirt paths of his village and started dreaming of a better life someplace new. My dog walking habit hasn’t produced anything of that importance, but maybe yours will.
Walk your dog to the glory of God, and see what happens.