This post was written as a journal entry in June 2018 and was revised in June 2020.
Last night I was exhausted. I still fought sleep, though. I felt like I was seven years old, and my teenage sisters were laughing with their friends while I listened from my bed, sleepless from intense fomo. I feel like that when I’m on the “other” side of the world, knowing the people closest to me are going about their days while I’ve already had mine.
On top of fomo, the most annoying bug on the planet–the “midnight mosquito,” if you will–was getting on my last nerve. Four times, a tiny, yet ridiculously loud, mosquito buzzed RIGHT inside my ear, jarring me from toss-and-turn-half-sleep to wide-awake-attack-mode. Three times, I stomped out of bed, savagely turned on the light, looked around for the bug that was making me lose my cool, and…couldn’t see it. If I can’t see it, it must be gone, I thought. So I huffed and puffed and didn’t blow my house down, but I did lie back down. But then it happened again. And again, and…again. The fourth time, I remembered that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results, so I kept the light on and waited. I waited and watched, determined not to give up this time until that thing was dead.
This morning, I was reading on my porch–actually, it’s just the laundry room, but it’s got screened windows on all sides, so it functions as a porch for me–and I saw a huge wasp-looking bug tiptoeing around on the ground. The door to my bedroom was open, and I was NOT about to let another bug roam around in there like the night before. I had learned my lesson, or so I thought. With very little hesitation, I squashed it, and two ants came quickly to investigate. I knew the second they left the massive carcass that they were going back to ask their ant-friends for help to bring it back home. Still, out of laziness, I left it smushed on the ground.
Of all the things in the world He could’ve used, God taught me a lot through these two bugs. Just like I was with that pesky mosquito, we may be aware and even annoyed that the enemy is trying to trip us up, but we may pretend he’s not bothering us if we can’t figure out how to stop him. And even if we know how to stop him, just like I was with that dead wasp, we may be too lazy to take action.
We know to be on the lookout for the enemy of our souls since he prowls around like a lion, searching for someone to destroy (1 Peter 5:8), but how many times do we turn off the light and try to go back to sleep too soon if our attempts to fight him fail? This is why we have got to go to God for help (Hebrews 4:16), fully convinced that He will be faithful to give us wisdom when we ask (James 1:5-6). When we feel overwhelmed, ill-equipped, and defeated–better yet, before we ever get to this point–we can remind ourselves that God has created a way of escape from the trap into which we’ve fallen (1 Corinthians 10:13). We can choose to humble ourselves and ask Him to give us grace to show us what exactly that escape route is.
And once He’s shown us how to get out, why would we ignore His advice? We can’t keep leaving dead wasps on our porches, knowing good and well they need to be picked up. We’ve got to follow through completely with what God has wisely instructed us to do; otherwise, we’ll easily become ensnared again, just like the Israelites when they didn’t destroy the nations that God commanded them to (Psalm 106:34-39).
So why shouldn’t I have left the dead wasp on my porch? An hour after I killed it, I came back to find the dead body absolutely swarming with ants. The two scouts had evidently reported back to the colony, and an entire army had invaded the laundry room and made a trail right through my clean clothes that were drying in the sun. Not only did I have to figure out how to get these bugs out of this space, but I had to pick them out of my clothes, one by one. And even then, when I left my apartment later, my ankle was itching like fire right under my sock-line…ant bites.
May we not become passive in our pursuit of holiness. May we resist the enemy, be firm in our faith, and look to God as He leads us out of darkness (1 Peter 5:9).
And may we be blessed with fewer midnight mosquitos…and even fewer ant bites.