Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips.

Psalm 141:3


When we moved our little pesky donkey to the pasture with the longhorns, we knew it would be better for everyone. Not only would the miniature horses stop getting blamed for their reactive behavior to his chronic pestering, but the newborn longhorn, his mama and the other lady longhorn in the back pasture would have an extra layer of protection from coyotes and bobcats.

Donkey’s are known for their protective nature. God created them to be a kind of security alarm system.  When their big ears are alerted to a potential risk such as an unknown animal approaching, birds of prey swooping in too close, or even their owner approaching without a treat in hand for said donkey, the fluffy creature will begin braying at the top of his lungs. This kindly alerts anyone within a 10 mile radius that suspicious activity (or maybe the wind changing directions)  is underfoot. Even if you are inside enjoying your favorite T.V. show or entertaining dinner guests, you will be able to hear your alarm-system-of-choice diligently at work. No batteries required (or available to remove to get the thing to shut up).

All seemed at peace (with a disclaimer regarding the occasional braying) on the cow and donkey home front. We all came to realize; however, that this little donkey seemed exceptionally needy.

Emotionally he craved being right next to the cows at all times.  If he got too close, they would simply swing their exceptionally long horns in his direction as a warning.

Needy Noble focused his unmet longings to be close by someone at all times toward the one-week-old calf.  Finding it convenient that the calf only had tiny hard nubs from where his longhorns would one day grow, the fuzzy grey beast crowded the calf’s personal space most of the time.

We would look out the window of our house and see the donkey and calf running in circles together. How fun to see them getting along and playing so nicely, or so we thought.

After a week or two of this, a good friend of ours, who comes to visit the mini horses from time to time, asked me what was wrong with the new little calf’s back.  He was laying down and did not look well.

Being quite concerned about what our friend, could be referring to, I zipped out of our house to assess the situation.

After seeing a huge pink and red raw sore on the back of the calf’s neck and several other minor sore spots, I knew the vet must be called. This looked so odd and peculiar, not like a rash, or infection, but not like anything else I could think of either. I wondered if it was a failed attack from a coyote or dog.

“There is just no stinkin’ way this could be an attack,” I thought out loud. “I mean that donkey is on that calf like sauce on ribs.” I wouldn’t think a predator of any kind could get near him.

When the vet came out he said it definitely looked like bite marks. He added that is was indeed odd looking because there were no holes in the bite, where an animal’s incisors, or fangs would have been.


And, that’s the exact moment when I knew what happened.   

When the young calf would tire and lay down from all the “playing,” he did with the donkey, Needy Noble was drawn in even more.  He just couldn’t leave the calf alone, often he would appear to be licking the calf or trying to get him up to play more.

“Hey Doc, could these sores be bites from a pesky donkey?” I said in tone that seemed annoyed and incredulous. The vet’s eyebrows raised in concern as he stood up from treating the calf. “Absolutely,” he replied.

That’s when I told the vet about the donkey’s previous naughty behavior of pulling the hair out of my horses manes and tails.

“When a donkey develops a habit out of this needy behavior, there ain’t much you can do to fix it. Looks like it is time to find Donkey a new home.”

It is in moments like these when God moves in my heart in regard to both his animal and human creatures.

I thought how we had moved Noble from one group of animals to another in order to have him in a place where he could be useful and enjoy life. Sadly, he was so needy that he tossed aside his useful skills and chose to live instead in unbridled emotional flaws.  Thus, he was pushed along from pasture to pasture in hopes that the new environment would be able to alleviate or tolerate his excessive need for friendship.

Sometimes human creatures struggle similarly.  We allow our weaknesses and insecurities to overcome our self control to the point that it affects others negatively.  If we find ourselves, or someone we love being shuffled around from job position to job position or from friend group to friend group, we have two choices.

We can either blame others for pushing us away all the time, and become bitter, or we can take an honest inventory of why there is a pattern of people pushing us away.

Here is the bad news, both options are painful. Here is the good news, if we choose the second option there is healing and fellowship after the pain.

Poor needy Noble, is stuck in option one, because he is an ass. We, on the other hand, are created in the image of God.  If we are lacking in self control, we can gain access to it in abundance, because we have access to God. He gives self control to use successfully on a daily basis, if we ask him for it.

Do you know someone who gets shuffled around because of a lack of self control brought on by powerful emotional needs?  Click on the link and find out more about how to gain self control.