Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Ant Spray

Philippians 2:14-16a
"Do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life..."

Grumbling (or complaint), and the attitude behind it, can be hard not to catch. My newly four-year-old has been struggling with a whiney attitude this past year, and I have noticed my own attitude grow increasingly difficult to control. I'll give you an example. 

This morning found me washing the dishes, strainer, and counters in the wake of an ant invasion. Little black bodies littered my counters amid plates, cups, and silverware, telltale signs of where my husband had sprayed. Where were my thoughts? Making a mental list of all the things to complain about:

  • chronic back pain only dulled by the meds made worse by standing to wash the dishes;
  • whiney and disobedient son;
  • recognition of handling said whining poorly;
  • no dishwasher to take care of these dishes;
  • ant spray all over my kitchen;
  • ant spray too near my breast pump accessories (rewash - can't let that near the baby);
  • having to drain and refill the dishwater to try to keep the ant spray from building up on the washed dishes;
  • not pumping enough breast milk lately... get the idea. I was not exercising God's joy. Later in the day, I realized my error of looking for what to complain about rather than be thankful for. 

Begin internal dialogue:

"Okay, what should I be thankful for?"

"What annoyed you the most today?"

"The most? Well doing the dishes was the hardest part of my day because it took so long and my back hurting from it, and the ant spray precipitated that. So let's say ant spray."

"Then start there. How can you be thankful for this particular instance of ant spray?"

"Well, the Lord uses trials to make me more like Christ, so I can be thankful that He used the ant spray to continue working on that front."

"Mhmm. Would you rather still have ants swarming your kitchen?"

"Yeah, no. No ants is a good thing."

"Right, what else?"

"Well... He used this instance to point out that I haven't been pursuing thankfulness as much as I thought I was lately."

"Yeah, that's a good one!"

I smiled. I really was thankful for ant spray - this particular instance - and I hadn't even had to work that hard for it. I just had to turn my full intentions toward it, and let the truths I knew about God do the rest. 

I praise the Lord and thank Him for ant spray. Especially that He used it to show me where my heart and thoughts have been lately. It is even His grace that He opened my eyes to this before I sank into depression, which is inevitably where the road of complaint leads.  Now I have renewed my resolve (and intentionality) to pursue a thankful heart. Praise the Lord for His gentle reminders.