Several years ago, my daughter, Laurelle was discovering the joys and challenges of living in a much warmer climate than she had ever been used to here in sunny Alberta, Canada. She and her husband moved to go to seminary in Kentucky, and she was faced with stifling heat of 42 degrees celcius – in comparison to a warm day in Alberta of 32 degrees celcius. Alberta can get above 40 degrees but it’s certainly not the norm for this northern climate. Along with the temperature and humidity, Laurelle was also dealing with a variety of creepy crawlies and I’m not talking about my grandbaby, Jaxon 🙂 .
Laurelle has never been a fan of bugs in general. Alberta knows how to grow moths and mosquitoes! We get the occasional spider crawl up our walls here. Beetles and ants and grasshoppers abound, but the cold climate manages to decimate them pretty quickly once the first frost hits in late September. Still, I’ve known my girl to run screaming from a room if she discovered a moth flitting about. I think she exaggerates when she says they are as “big as bats”!
In Kentucky, I assume the climate brings out the bug beasts in a variety of shapes and sizes that Laurelle had never encountered before. I was on Facetime with her one day and had to laugh when in mid sentence she was suddenly screaming and running around the house having just seen a “spider-cricket” the size of a “horse” on a basement wall. Her gallant husband captured the bug in a plastic cup and then with an evil glint in his eye, crossed the street to his neighbours’ (the Whitford family who traveled from Cochrane to Kentucky to attend seminary there as well); then smirking with delight, my son-in-law unceremoniously placed the cup in their mailbox! It was the start of a host of practical jokes played out on each other that year!
When my daughter discovered another Kentucky bug in her basement she threatened to forsake ever going into the basement again to avoid dealing with those bugs there in her new home. Since the laundry machines were also in the basement, I think it was just another excuse to avoid doing the wash! 🙂
It got me thinking though about all the things that “bug” me (and I don’t mean the creepy crawlies either). Things that “bug” me enough so I don’t want to “stay the course” or I run screaming from the room so I don’t have to face it anymore. I have a long list of things that stress me out, that bug me so much I don’t function well while I’m having to deal with those “bugs”. Here are just a few:
1. People – yes, sometimes people bug me. What’s that saying? – “Hurt people hurt people!” It is hard to deal with unpleasant, hurt people. Anyone who has ever been in ministry is shouting giving me a “thumbs up” sign! But scripture is clear: “But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you.” Luke 6:27-31
2. Circumstances – whether you are healthy or not, financially stable or not, happy or not…sometimes circumstances will “bug” you to a point where you feel overwhelmed and depressed. Just ask any young Mom of a toddler, or parents of a rebellious teen, or a man who has lost his job, or a woman struggling with breast cancer. If you allow your circumstances to rob you of joy, you are allowing the enemy to gain a foothold in your life that may cause you to one day run screaming from the room trying to escape your circumstances. “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6
3. Unfulfilled Expectations – we all have them, I call them the “what ifs” in life. You’re bugged because life just didn’t turn out the way you thought it would. You’re either constantly looking back, wishing the past had been different, or you are looking forward, hoping the future will be better. You’re not living in the NOW and therefore not enjoying the blessings of each given day! “The Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy your needs in parched places, and make your bones strong, and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters never fail.” Isaiah 58:11
4. The Reflection in the Mirror – this is the toughest “bug” to let go of – dissatisfaction with oneself; not liking the person in the mirror. I am constantly shocked, when working with youth especially, how so many of them feel unworthy, unloved, ugly, and stupid. Certainly there are those that may be egotistical to a fault too, but the majority of people I know, (young and old) are dealing with bitterness, abandonment, unresolved hurt and conflict, sin and guilt that hampers them from becoming the beautifully created men and women that God intended them to be. Whenever I find myself being dissatisfied with my reflection in the mirror, I like to read Psalm 139 to remind myself how much God loves me “bugs” and all! “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139:14