So, it was a typical day… arrived home after a meeting with a client, went to the kitchen to grab a bottle of water… wait, what was that?
It looked like a little bug… oh well, I thought, no big deal – probably an ‘age spot’ in my eyesight (!). But then I glanced down and saw another scurrying ‘spot’, and I knew… immediately I knew that something had invaded my house. As I continued to look around the kitchen, I lifted the cutting board and to my (unpleasant) surprise, I saw about 10 little baby ‘nymph’ bugs… ugh, ugh, ugh! Can I say it once more… ugh!! The frantic ‘me’ began scrubbing immediately… out came the Lysol wipes, and every square inch of my kitchen got the vengeance of my anxiety. Out came my phone to call the exterminator. In came the resources to eliminate my ‘infestation’. So, all’s well… but is it?
I tell you that story not to confess to you my bad housekeeping skills… actually, you’d typically find my kitchen very clean and tidy… I’m a bit of a clean freak…
So, I asked the exterminator how I got these bugs, and he said they come into your home on someone or something… it has nothing to do with how ‘clean’ you are. Interesting, I thought… and after the cleaning frenzy abated, I began to ponder how that might carry over into other areas of my life… or our lives? Here’s what I learned…
How easy is it for negativity to slip into my mind? I’m not even aware, but then I realize that I’ve not said nearly as many kind things as I should, and complaining seemed a more natural response to most situations.
How often do I allow what others think or do to affect my actions, instead of taking the time to ponder and plan based on my own values, beliefs or goals?
How often do I ‘lose track’ of how I am responding, caring, working, serving… you name it… until I see a little crisis which brings me up short and causes me to pause and say, wait, how did that happen?
Those are simply three examples of how easy it is for us to allow things (or words, or actions, or thoughts… the list is endless) into our life which turn us from the solid path of our life journey and create ‘messes’ in our lives. It can happen to anyone. It can thrive for a period of time before we’re even aware.
So, what do we do? Do we simply keep walking and live with the negative? I guess I could have (well, not really!) just left the kitchen and thought, ‘oh well, we have a few bugs in the kitchen’. Not the right answer! Or do we begin to immediately start to eliminate this ‘negative’ from our lives? Do we try to find the source? (FYI, my grocery store was not especially happy about my call to learn about their bug control!) Do we seek help from others to identify ‘negative’ things and use their expertise to eliminate? Clearly, these are just questions to trigger our thought processes… they certainly have done that for me.
An interesting continuance of my originally bug story… I simply cannot walk into the kitchen any longer without glancing around, without opening doors, without looking under things… I am still needing to convince myself that my ‘negative’ has been eliminated. Am I that conscientious about those ‘negatives’ in my personal life? Do I keep guard to assure that they don’t continue to live in me?
We cannot live independently… or as a complete recluse in total isolation. My life lesson is to covenant to be true to myself, to my faith, to my values… and be on guard to keep those ‘negative’ things from entering my sphere of who I am.
Ancient King Solomon wrote, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” I’m guarding my heart (and my kitchen!)… how about you?