My twins are absolutely terrified of ‘stinky’ bugs. No exaggeration. I’m sure it has nothing at all to do with those times when they were just learning to crawl and unknowingly picked one of the little lovelies up and popped it in their mouths. Crunch. Yum. <Gag>.
Or there was that time I boiled one in our pot of morning oats. Oh, that was something we’re not likely to forget anytime soon.
Now you might imagine my little guys seeing a stinky bug and running the other direction. You would be totally under-imagining this whole thing.
Let me give you a for example. Yesterday afternoon they were playing a game nobody else understood and it involved shimmying through that narrow space between the couch and the wall. Giggles ensued and it was a grand time for all. Or at least for those two. Until the stinky bug came on the scene, that is.
We all knew the exact moment it happened. In fact, I’m pretty sure the neighbors two blocks away knew the exact moment it happened. There was shrieking and flailing and stomping and tears and one of them very nearly passed out from holding his breath. I kid you not.
Now, I’m going to let you in on a little secret. I’d rather you not tell anyone because it will shatter my reputation. Either that, or it’ll validate it. Okay, here goes…
We all laughed. It was terrible and horrible and heartbreaking and yet every last one of us struggled not to let them see us snicker. It wasn’t because we didn’t care. And it wasn’t because we don’t love them beyond reason or that we don’t truly desire their happiness. It was because it was so ridiculous and we all knew it even if they didn’t.
Stinky bugs are gross. They’re dreadful little monsters who make their home where they’re not wanted. They make me gag and they provoke my husband into doing the most adorable dance when he thinks one may be crawling on him and can think of nothing but getting it off. Even so, it’s kind of silly to put all your energy into fearing something that really isn’t out to hurt you.
And yet, isn’t that exactly what most of us do? Even those of us older than two?
We worry about not having enough money and how we’re going to make more.
We worry about not having a decent car and what we’re going to do if it dies on us.
We worry about what’s going to happen if they outlaw homeschooling.
We worry about our kids making a scene in church and causing people to think less of us.
We worry about not being skinny enough or pretty enough or smart enough.
We worry we’re not doing our Bible study right.
We worry our prayers are eloquent enough.
We worry the food in the pantry won’t last until payday.
We worry the neighbor is annoyed by our kids playing in the yard using their outside voices.
We worry we’ll lose someone we love and be left with that hole.
I could go on and on and never exhaust this list. We fear things that haven’t happened. Things that likely won’t happen.
Yes, any or all of these things could happen. But fearing the could happens only steals our joy from all the is happening moments in life. And how ridiculous is that?
It’s seriously ridiculous and I know first hand because I’m the queen of senseless, wasteful worry and fear. I taught my little boys to fear with such voracity. They just took their lesson and applied it to stinky bugs.
But now I hear His voice, gently but firmly, instructing me to give them a new lesson. One that involves trust and rest and peace and hope. One that leaves no room for worry because it remembers any pain we experience here in this life, no matter how deep, can not hurt us for long. We have an eternity stretched out endlessly before us and these beautiful, terrible, amazing and heartbreaking days are only a blip on the radar.
Don’t let stinky bugs steal your joy in the here and now.