I know this well because we had an iguana. His name was Al.
Al was my son, Mark’s, pet. Living in a house with five sisters, we figured he’d appreciate a manly pet, something that had no semblance of fru-fru surrounding it.
There was nothing remotely sweet about this pet. He was named Al by our youngest daughter because she was convinced he was an alligator.
I had my suspicions.
Al was cute when he was little. It was the fascination with a new pet that is a universal response of kids everywhere. We could hold him, let him climb up our arms. Uniquely reptillian features.
But as he grew, he became less easy to hold. Less fun to play with. He grew claws that weren’t people friendly. He’d nip at the hand that fed him.
And the final straw was the day he climbed to the top of my head. And peed. Volumes.
By this time, he was about three feet long. And growing. So I determined I’d figure out how to help him develop a more sensitive side.
I went back to the pet store where I purchased him. The owner had a large glass enclosure where he housed two huge iguanas. They had to be five feet long. No predators. Lots of food.
So I asked the owner what I could do to help my iguana be friendlier. Kinder. Gentler. Trained.
“Ma’m, iguanas have a tiny brain. Ever’ day’s a new day to an iguana. They don’t remember you one day to the next.”
Owning a pet that is untrainable is rather like having a child that you won’t discipline.
Not a good idea.
Al didn’t last long after that. But I did learn a great lesson from him.
Al was exactly what he was created to be. He didn’t try to be something he wasn’t. He didn’t have delusions about how important or necessary he was. And he didn’t hold on to perceived slights or unintended hurts. He didn’t have anxious thoughts that could paralyze him for no reason.
He just went about being an iguana.
I have no desire to be an iguana, nor do I desire to ever have a reptile as a pet again.
But I would love to have the capacity to put away anxious thoughts. To not listen to those lying tapes that play in my head. To not allow my perception of others or how I think they see me to keep me from focusing on who I really am.
A child of the King. A daughter of the Creator God. Made in His image.
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139:23-24
God alone knows the full extent of my thoughts. My stress. What overwhelms me. But rather than a pea-sized brain, He’s graciously given us the ability to think about Him, to connect with Him.
To free our minds from the bondage of this world to the hope that is Him.
Maybe Al had it right all along.
What are you allowing to hide in your mind that holds you back from His truth about you?
*Iguana picture courtesy of true-wildlife.blogspot.com