I have something in common with Taylor Swift.
Yes, we were both born in Pennsylvania, but that’s not it. We both got a lot of mileage out of “shaking it off.” Long before her catchy tune rose to the top of the charts, I used the phrase to encourage others to keep moving forward.
I recently got word of a former church attendee’s death. His widow texted that he came back to church and heard me tell a story that changed how he lived his daily life.
Here is the story.
Farmer Joe has an old dog. One day the old dog falls into farmer Joe’s well. After assessing the situation, Joe sympathizes with the dog but decides that neither the dog nor the well is worth the trouble of saving. A better idea hits him like a flash of lightning. He’s going to fill the well with dirt and bury the dog. Problem solved. Life will be easier without them around. He orders truckload of dirt to be dumped into the hole.
The dump truck backs up to the well. It lifts its back and dirt starts slowly pouring out, the old dog is hysterical. As the dirt is hitting his back, he does what comes naturally. Every time dirt lands on his back, he shakes it off and steps up. Blow after blow of dirt on his back. Shake it off and step up, shake it off and step up, shake it off and step up!
The blows get less painful the higher up he goes. It is not long before the dog, battered and dust covered, steps triumphantly over the wall of the well. He is out of well staring at Farmer Joe.
The simple yet powerful lesson: When others throw dirt on us, we shake it off and step up.
We use the junk they throw our way to our advantage.
We don’t play the victim card, even if we have every reason to play it.
We don’t ask why they are throwing dirt on us.
Instead, we choose to use it for our growth and self-improvement.
When life doesn’t go our way, we have a choice to let it bury us or let it bless us.
Shake it off, and step up.