I see myself as a pretty darn adventurous person. I love a challenge. I’ll go anywhere in the world and I’m open to eating bugs. Daughter Maggie and I were finalists to compete in the Amazing Race last year. And I want my second career to be as a spy, for which I’ve already prepared by spending hours at the Spy Museum in D.C. and doing a simulation bomb location exercise. Learning to hot wire a car is on my bucket list. I’m just sayin’…I think I’ve got some game.
But, there are two things I don’t do.
Snakes and mice.
I’d jump out of an airplane if I had to, but look at, much less empty, a mouse trap? No way. Fortunately this has not been an issue as we have not had mice to deal with. Until we got home from vacation this week and discovered evidence of one in a kitchen drawer. Nowhere else (and believe me I went over the house with a magnifying glass, inspecting any tiny piece of lint to make sure it wasn’t a mouse dropping).
Anyway, we set out multiple traps in the kitchen around and in said drawer. The next morning I left John a bazillion notes reminding him to check and deal with any corpse that might have appeared and I carefully skirted around the kitchen with my eyes averted from anything close to the killing field.
It’s not like I wasn’t vaguely aware there might possibly be carnage. I just didn’t want to face it. To deal with the ugliness.
Recently I referred to a message I had listened to about comparison that Andy Stanley preached and I was forced to face a mouse corpse. He talked about the land of “er” and “est” where when we compare and don’t measure up we either hate the other person or hate ourselves. Near the end, he asked a question :
“Is there anyone you would secretly be glad to see fail?”
It totally rocked me because immediately two people from different parts of my life, who I haven’t thought about in awhile came to mind! No, no one reading this (honest). And before you get sidetracked and all judgmental, ask yourself that question.
It freaked me out. “Why?” I asked myself. “Is this born out of comparison? Competition? Insecurity?” And “What do I do with this? (Besides confess it and ask God to change my heart). It was a very ugly mouse corpse I couldn’t avert my eyes from.
The first step for us in catching the mice was facing the evidence. Acknowledging they were there. I was ticked at Andy for asking the question that made me even admit the death in me, but once I realized the truth I couldn’t just leave a drawer full of “mouse poop.”
The second step has been figuring out how it got in. For my “mouse” I’ve been asking the questions above and have realized they definitely squeezed in through the door of pride and comparison, but it’s also complicated by the pain that comes when someone succeeds at your expense or hurts you personally while getting what they want. Perhaps this mouse snuck in in the moments when I wasn’t vigilant about living out of the security of God’s lavish love and delight in me…confidence in His win/win power to bring about good no matter what.
The third step has been killing the mice and, most importantly getting rid of the dead corpses. I’m fine with steps one and two, but this one….? Could I please just jump out of an airplane?
Instead I picture both of the people who came to mind. This morning I read, “Have mercy on me, my God, have mercy on me, for in you I take refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings.” I picture the three of us, together, huddled beneath God’s wings. His beloved children, all three of us dependent…taking refuge in His mercy. I am truly moved by this image as I sit with it. It helps me.
“Create in me a pure heart, O God and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”
Is there anyone you would secretly be glad to see fail? Are there ways that have been helpful to you in facing and dealing with the mouse corpses in your life?