Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Pest Control

This summer, all was quiet on the eastern front of our yard.  Or so it seemed.  I naively thought we had emerged triumphant in our perennial war with chipmunks. Complacency reigned.

Last summer, after catching 23 furry little brown creatures, I stopped counting.  I even stopped baiting the trap.  And still they came, sometimes three or four a day.  Once, two even jumped in the trap at the same time.

Every last one of them won a free all-expenses-paid vacation to the forest preserve about three miles away, across a four lane busy road and across a river.  Rarely did I run an errand that the occupied trap wasn't  along for the ride, waiting to drop off my traveling companion in a convenient wooded area, far from our home, hoping that it was distant enough to outwit a chipmunk's internal GPS.

And still they thrived, burrowing under our patio, undermining its foundation, the stones wobbly and sinking fast.

This summer, there was no sign of foul play nor the woodland critters, until last weekend.  One sprinted boldly across our patio.  We baited the trap, and within the past three days, well, make that seven lucky winners as of 6.30 this morning.

"But they are so CUTE," said my five year old niece who was staying with us.

But cute rodents are still rodents.  And it is their innocent looks that allows them to move so freely among us, causing damage and instability to our foundations.  Cute little beasts are not so cute anymore after facing the  reality of their labors, wreaking underground havoc.

The same goes for the foundations of our hearts.  Beware of  feeling victorious over your foes, whatever they may be.  If there is one foe, there is a clan.  Beware of thinking that justifiable feelings and malicious musings cause no damage.  You know them,  rodents with names like Jealousy, Despair, Fear, Complaining, well-fed Worry, and the all-popular Self family headed by Pity and Pride who can always justify their family history with you.  And beware of the smooth-talking Temptation cousins.  Just when you think temptations are gone, yet another Oreo cookie (in some form) crosses your path.

Know your pests.  Do not let them dig their tunnels into your thoughts and dwell there. No good will come of it, no matter how innocent and cute.  Relocate them FAR away and watch diligently for the rest of their kin. "You are not welcome here."  For every relocation, replace that furry creature with an intentional thought and action of kindness, goodness, faithfulness, integrity, and compassion to fill up their holes.  Claim a Bible verse for each one.  Ready and waiting.  When that old anxiety creeps back in, whack it with prayer and replace with a praise.  Do not surrender to the paralyzing panic of  "What am I going to do???" but replace it with "LORD, my eyes are on You.  Show me how to navigate this." 

Let God USE the chipmunks in your life to bring you closer to Him.
And let Him do something stronger in you.

Rebuke the beasts
that dwell among the reeds.

               Psalm 68.30

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