As I sat on my little green carpet, doing quiet time this morning, I had an unexpected visitor. Now, I’m all for spontaneous drop-ins, but this one was certainly not welcome in my humble abode. Of every creature on God’s green earth, this is definitely in my bottom five, possibly number one or two. I can’t stand the way they wiggle into little spaces that I can’t fit. I can’t stand the way they “crunch” when you smoosh ’em. And the way their antennas do a happy dance as if to declare victory in claiming their space. Ugh. And you know how they can sort of fly, which is an advantage when you’re in battle with one?
Cockroaches. Yep- just the look of them is enough to get me running into another room. Oh wait….I did. The first time.
That’s right- I hightailed it to the living room at the sight of this grotesque creature. It seemed like a great idea. Before I left, I threw a towel on the roach (like that would solve everything) and grabbed my Bible, journal, and writing utensils. My comfy red chair was far away from Mr. Runaway Roach….
Only, I couldn’t stop thinking about him. I had visions of cockroaches crawling all over me in my sleep, and more visions of him and his buddies running around my room acting like they owned the place. Closing my Bible, I bravely tip-toed (is that an oxymoron?) back into my room.
I saw my striped towel draped near my book basket. This roach is going down, I thought. Looking in my closet, I decided the best thing to do was put on shoes so that I wouldn’t have contact with the roach whatsoever. I grabbed an old pair of tennis shoes and walked over to meet my opponent.
I wish someone could have started rolling a video. I jumped on top of the towel multiple times, throwing my arms around, and screaming inside (because I didn’t want to wake up my roommate). I even thought I heard that crackly sound you hear when you’re killing one of these beasts. It kinda grossed me out and made my stomach hurt, but I just kept stomping in hopes of victory. After a minute of jumping on every possible inch of the towel, I backed away to see if there was any movement.
I slowly lifted up the towel, thinking that if he was still alive, he could easily throw himself at me. I scanned the towel two or three times. No roach.
Then, I peered into my book basket, which was beside the towel. There he was. We’ll call him Mr. Runaway. At this point, I began taking pictures, because I knew I would want to prove this story to someone (aren’t you lucky?).
I wonder if he was laughing at my “victory” dance?
Anyway, I went through a few plans, but he clearly had an advantage. He was in a basket that would require me to stick my hand in to kill him. He could crawl up my arm, cause me a heart attack, and clearly win.
Roach spray- that’ll do it.
Except for the fact that I don’t have any, and going to buy some would definitely be a risk with Mr. Runaway…
The towel thing didn’t work before… That just gave him cover up to move to somewhere in the near vicinity…
I looked to my left.
Aha! My trusty vacuum. I couldn’t fit the whole thing in the basket, so I just took out the hand-held part and proceeded with my plan.
Well, wouldn’t ya guess? Mr. Runaway stuck to his name and bolted to the bottom of the basket where the vacuum could barely reach. I turned it off, thought it through, then tried again. No victory.
I turned around to grab my phone for another picture, only to discover that Mr. Runaway bolted for a bag nearby. The way he moved disgusted me. What a terrible little creature! I tried to vacuum him on the way, but it still didn’t work. The towel might work now. I threw it over him and began jumping, but he escaped near the desk. I tried again. He got away from me and hid behind the desk.
Oh, this is so not over, buddy. You are going down.
Determined, I pulled the desk and dresser away from the wall. My opponent was hiding near some wires. It was time to bring out the “big guns.”
Maneuvering around the desk wasn’t easy, but it was worth it. By this time, I was nauseous (no joke). My stomach was churning, and I was so ready to be over this experience. I kept shoving the vacuum near him until finally, it sucked him up and whirled him around for the ride of his life- the last one, to be exact.
I left the vacuum running because I wanted to be sure this sucker was dead. I put the vacuum back on the charger and sat down to write this post. Before I typed a word, I looked back again at the vacuum, to see if he was still in there. He was.
But how can I be sure he’s dead? I turned it on again and watched him spin then stop, with no movement. I have to know for sure. He could escape from the bottom- he’s really good at that wiggly maneuvering thing. I could wake up tomorrow and see that he’s not in there, freak out, and start this process over again. I was not going there.
So, I carried the filter to the bathroom and reluctantly began to take it out. Mr. Runaway Roach had apparently been “playing dead.” In a flurry, I tipped the filter and flushed him down the comode, scared this super-roach would somehow find the energy to jump out of the water and attack me.
You can take a deep breath- I’m still alive ; )
But, why do I tell you all of this? Long story, for a simple illustration. As soon as I couldn’t focus at the thought of that roach, I knew God was trying to teach me something.
Do you ever sit down with your Bible, or close your eyes to pray, and your mind goes a million other places? What to eat for breakfast…what to wear…your schedule…to-do lists. Everything, but the one thing you really need to focus on.
David says in Psalm 27:4, “ONE THING I have desired of the Lord that will I seek, that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in His temple.”
Mr. Runaway needed to be put to death. If I didn’t kill him today, he would continue to “grace me with his presence.” I was determined to get rid of him.
I just wonder how determined we are to get rid of the distractions that trickle into our quiet time with the Lord. Mr. Runaway didn’t die the first time I tried to kill him. Or the second. Or the third. It took some thinking and planning and action on my part. And even when I thought he was dead, it wasn’t over yet.
(Now…please don’t tell me cockroaches can escape from the plumbing system, or I might cry ; )
There are crevices and baskets and spaces in our lives where terrible things reside, coming out at the most inconvenient times. It’s so easy for Satan to slip in when you least expect him and trample over your quiet time. Trust me- he wants to be there to distract you. When a child of God encounters the Word of God by the Spirit of God, transformation happens! Kingdom-mindedness happens. Outreach and prayer happen. Satan is most definitely in it to do anything he can to pull you away from that.
But, my question to you is: Are you willing to fight? Are you willing to do whatever it takes to block out the distractions and sit at the feet of your Savior? Will you examine the crevices and baskets in your life where some bugs might be hiding? And, will you, take some time to flush the junk so that you can finally get some peace of mind and focus? “We’ve got to set our hearts to seek the Lord!” (Richard Owens Roberts)
Maybe it’s just a change of space for you, because “quiet time” is never “quiet,” and consists of such little “time” that it doesn’t even count in the midst of the craziness. Maybe it’s learning a new way to pray so that you can stay focused. Maybe it’s having a method of study so that you don’t waste time wondering where you should begin. Or maybe it’s learning how to meditate on God’s Word.
The only focus of our time with the Lord should be the Lord and His work. It’s hard, I know. And developing that focus doesn’t come the first time. Or the second time. Or the third time. It takes planning and diligence, but God promises to be faithful and meet you where you’re at.
“And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13