Upwardly Dependent » walking the delicate balance of absolute truth and overwhelming grace.

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Find Rest, My Soul

GUYS. We are currently experiencing the War of Ant Infestation of 2014. It’s been composed of one bazillion miniature battles with tiny six-legged creatures filing in by the droves.

They’re coming in from the plug-ins, the bathroom window, the kitchen stove, and every tiny space in-between.

We are clean people!! This house was just built, and we are its first residents. I was sure that would give us a leg-up on bug problems. I have wiped every counter down after every meal, swept the floor multiple times a day, washed every dish as soon as it was dirty, and taken the trash out just as soon as there was food in it.

I seriously don’t get it.

Today, I went to put Eliza in her booster seat for lunch, and the ants were having a party in her chair. Climbing up the strap that touched the floor that led across the room to yet another troop marching in.

I couldn’t.

I took a break, Googled How to keep ants from coming in your house at EVERY SINGLE SPACE, and got the bright idea to practically bathe our house in vinegar.

The place smelled like a giant pickle, but there was peace in my heart knowing that millions of little ant brains were slowly shriveling from all the fumes.

Just now, I grabbed some scissors from the kitchen and all of my wooden utensils were again covered in…you guessed it…aaagh I can’t even type the three letter word again. Sigh.

As I was wiping up the little black corpses today, I couldn’t help but think about how frustrating it was.

One ant, I don’t mind! Great source of protein if it accidentally gets cooked in your food.

Two ants, three ants, even one large army of ants once in a while is okay to deal with.

But it’s the constant, nagging, little bitty annoyances that over time really get under your skin. And when I almost ripped my dear precious husband’s head off for no apparent reason, I realized what was happening.

It wasn’t just the ants. It was the eating spaghetti with a cheap plastic fork. And not knowing what buttons to push on the microwave. And trying to find where I packed the extra toothpaste. And the party next door with the music blaring. And the teeth Eliza’s cutting. And the dish that fell and cracked not one – but BOTH – of my plastic wash bins {how does that even happen????}. And the fact that I haven’t quit sweating since I walked off the plane here.

A lot of little things.

But all the little things build up and threaten our homes, our marriages, and our mental capacity to see the day with a hopeful clarity.

The little things aren’t only here in my cross-cultural adjustment. They were back home, too. I may not have had ants and lizards and tropical heat, but there were other things: meetings, assignments, text messages.

All week long, we have small, seemingly insignificant events that build and build, pushing us to a breaking point. And sometimes when you have a toddler hanging onto you at every moment of the day, you just want to shut the world and all it’s stuff out and say Leave me and my five-minute bathroom break alone!

I didn’t grow up believing much in the Sabbath. I thought that was for legalistic Jews who refused to believe that the Messiah had come. Old Testament stuff.

But then I kept running myself ragged and I just couldn’t take it anymore. I worked full-time and was a grad student full-time and then tried to do all of that pregnant and then moved three times in a year.

The Sabbath is no joke, guys. It’s the real deal and it is AWESOME.

When I started practicing the discipline of staying home, respecting rest, and seeking stillness, the other days in my week became so much more productive.

Our bodies were not designed to be machines. They were designed around an emotional, intellectual spirit with a need for reflective quiet.

Today, the ants were annoying. But I haven’t left my house for the past 24 hours. And in between the Ant Wars, I was sitting at a desk reading, or enjoying my day with my husband and daughter. And by the time dinner rolled around, I had this sudden surge of energy and inner peace.

I feel like I can love my husband better, love my children better, and love my neighbors better. All because I had a day away from the doing and a some time to exist in the being.

I honestly can’t imagine doing a full seven days anymore without a day of rest. And I’m not even sure that Sundays count with the number of programs and fellowship meals and small group meetings we plan anymore.

I know it’s not feasible to totally shut down your life for a whole day. I’m not saying you have to be so dogmatic that you can’t even run a load of laundry or clean a bathroom or two.

But if you’re feeling a little ragged and a lot worn out, try looking at your week to see when you can commit to some Sabbath time. Maybe that means a night at home with your family. For us, it also means that every Monday night is date night…bow chicka wowow.

gavin date

Time away from all the crazy allows you to plug back into the one who made you. It’s a time to walk away from your job, your tasks, even your ministry, and allow the Creator to breathe life into you again.

Our Sabbath time has become sacred to us – not as a ritualistic norm that we fear breaking, but as an opportunity for rejuvenation that allows us to push through another week of dying to self.

“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” – John 15:4-5



Lola-Margaret HallApril 14, 2014 - 7:58 pm

Amen, and Amen!!!!

Anna ArnoldApril 15, 2014 - 12:16 am

Thank you, Lauren! I needed this!

Brenda T. KnoxApril 15, 2014 - 1:21 am

That hit hard my Martha way of doing things….Love you, sweet Lauren.

MaryAnn DanielApril 15, 2014 - 2:00 am
Lou Fullwood Weaver-TuckerApril 15, 2014 - 4:52 pm

So humbling to read about your struggles then what great lessons you take from them. You are an inspiration to so many of us. Thanks!

Deena TrimbleApril 16, 2014 - 2:11 am

Blessings and hugs from Tennessee.

Darrin V HardinApril 16, 2014 - 7:39 am

Borax (buy it at walmart) + sugar + a bit of water + a bit of microwaves = ant killing goo. Tuck the goo out of sight in bits and dabs and the ant problamo is gone.