"Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me." Psalm 51:10

Monday, November 15, 2010

Pesky Pests!

Bugs and I have a hate-hate relationship.  I do not appreciate them, and I am pretty sure when they see me, they send out messages far and wide to all their buggy friends to scoot fast and furious to the nearest hiding place.  No, I love bugs about as much as my teenager loves mornings.  And I am definitely not one who returns the little creatures to their habitats.  Instead, I am a bug squisher.  While my youngest daughter is a friend to worms, frogs and fireflies, I prefer to maintain a long distance.

So, when I encountered a miniscule black dot of a bug in my kitchen a few months ago, I was not pleased.  I’ve experienced ant issues before and trust me, this was not an ant.  It moved about as fast as my daughter, Maddie does to practice the piano.  Nope, not quick at all—which made it much easier for me to obliterate it right away.  No worries, however, because every time I noticed one of these tiny things, I simply smashed it.  One less critter crawling on my kitchen counter. 

The itty bitty irritants and I established a semi-happy co-existence until the day I found a few of them residing in my Bisquick mix.  “Ummm, kids,” I called.  “I guess we better have eggs instead pancakes today.”  My curiosity began to grow as the bugs seemed to multiply, and I found myself becoming quite the serial bug killer.  One evening I threw some rice in the rice cooker for dinner, poured in the required amount of water, started to push the button to begin the cooking when I noticed a plethora of black specks rise to the top of the cooker.  Oh my goodness!  Bugs in my rice of all things!  After immediately tossing the rice out, I determined that it was time for action…it was time for—Google!

I typed “kitchen pests” into my computer and let Google do the searching.  Incidentally, this is not something one should do either directly before or after eating because of the nausea that may occur while viewing all sorts of disgusting creatures that apparently can invade one’s kitchen.  Sometimes ignorance is bliss.  Suffice it to say that the information I read caused me to tear my kitchen apart, top to bottom.

These nasty little creatures called “pantry beetles” are no more than 1/8 inch long and enjoy feasting on foods such as cereal, flour, dry pasta and dry pet food.  Fortunately, their presence in one’s home does not reflect on the quality of the housekeeper.  For this, I was greatly relieved!  More disturbing is that these insects are usually brought home from the store in an infested package of food.  At this point, they are in the larval stage which means, of course, that they aren’t noticeable.  The female beetles lay up to 90 eggs in the food and the larvae emerge and feed on the food until the point that they become fully mature adult beetles.  At some point, the beetles end up on the kitchen counter moving towards the light.  Because they are away from their food source, they begin to die—much sooner than they may like when they encounter my finger!

After going through all of my cupboards, I found a couple of opened muffin mixes that were replete with pantry beetles.  My stomach churning, I purged them along with many food items that were either outdated or not sufficiently sealed in airtight containers.  I wiped down every cupboard until every sign of these annoyances was eliminated. 

Here’s what I learned about these pantry beetles from this annoying field trip experience.  One is that bugs feed and multiply in the dark.  Secondly, once they expose themselves to the light, they begin to die because they have nothing to eat.  And finally, unless you find the food source and eliminate it, the bugs will continue to be a problem.

Our thought lives are very similar to my frustrating bug problem.  We all have secrets that we don’t want anyone else to know about.  Perhaps it’s a habit we are ashamed about or maybe an addiction we are hiding.  We think we can handle it on our own and can keep it under control.  However, just like the bugs that fed and multiplied in the dark, so do our ugly thoughts and habits.  We can try squishing a thought or even pretend it’s not that big of a deal and ignore it as I tried to do with the pesky little bugs, but unless we attack the source and purge it, the problem can grow until it’s completely out of control.  Unhealthy thoughts and secrets, like bugs, will continue to grow unless they are dealt with and can eventually lead to total destruction.  It’s only through exposing ourselves to the Light of Jesus that we can be free from the obsessive thoughts, the bad habits and the addictions that entrap us.  We need to be honest with ourselves and God, realizing that there is nothing about us He doesn’t already know.  “Can anyone hide in secret places so that I cannot see him?” declares the Lord.  “Do not I fill heaven and earth?” declares the Lord. 

If you need to get clean before God with your secrets, confess them to Him and perhaps even a trusted friend or counselor.  Make Psalm 139:23 part of your daily prayer life:  “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.  See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”  Allow Him to get rid of your bug problem!

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