A Lesson from my Fleas

I am tired. Physically. Mentally. Emotionally. Spiritually. I feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day, or days in the week, to do all the things that I need to do. I feel like I can never meet the needs of all these people that are needing me. Tugging me. Wanting me. I feel like I’m treading water, just keeping my head above the surface, to survive all the things coming my way.

My kids are needy. They’re 1 and 3, what do I expect? My husband isn’t home a lot. He has a very demanding job, plays softball, volunteers for various things, works from home some too. I’m thankful for all he does for us, truly I am. He’s an important guy with busy-ness of his own, and I respect that. He’s tired too. I have a job that I adore, I serve at our church, I try to fit in fun things for my kids, and playdates with friends. I wouldn’t trade a single one of these things for the world. But they make life busy. Life keeps throwing me things… to-do lists, parties, obligations, things that break, things that need repair, things that need to be disposed of, things that need to be sorted, things that need to be cleaned, things that need my attention. All the things.

Some days I feel like I meet everyones’ needs except my own. I make breakfast, I dress people, I iron clothes, I run errands, I clean spills, I mop floors, I go to work, I transport kids, I check papers and folders, I respond to messages & emails, I wipe noses, I fold clothes, I make lunches, I pick up prescriptions, I clean toilets, I pay bills…and at the end of that day, I feel like I’ve poured into everyone else’s needs. But many days, I feel like no one has poured into mine. It’s not their fault, really. I don’t tell them that I wish I could just do one “fun” thing for me. They don’t know how much I long for everyone to nap at the same time, and everything to be clean already, so I can sit down and close my eyes and hear the silence. They just don’t know. And that’s ok.

I’ve been spiritually lacking. Or spiritually slacking. The things…they take up so much time. If I could just roll out of bed 30 minutes earlier, I could have some extra quiet time with Jesus before the hustle & bustle of the day. So, I set the alarm 40 minutes early (you know, 10 minutes leeway). About 5 minutes before “alarm time”, I feel 2 little hands scrambling their way into my bed. “Mommy, I need breakfast”. And just like that, my morning coffee & quiet time belongs to the owner of those 2 little scrambling hands.

I’m not feeding myself. And I know it.

I felt this post coming together in my head today, as I vacuumed every floor, carpet, baseboard, cushion, nook & cranny in my house to try to exterminate the fleas that have recently taken up residence. It dominated my morning. I didn’t have time for this. My to-do list wasn’t any shorter, my errands weren’t any fewer…and now I have “exterminator” added to my already long list of job titles. The fleas, they make me feel many things – overwhelmed and embarrassed and dirty. My house is clean. I don’t have indoor pets. I scrub my floors usually twice a week. We are good, clean people! Why do I have fleas?! Because the enemy likes to throw things at me sometimes. He’s crafty like that. And God…sometimes He sends me lessons in the most humorous of ways. {sigh!}

I’m supposed to have a long overdue play date this afternoon with a dear friend. A friend that is always spiritually encouraging to me. A friend from whom I gain spiritual strength in our talks and times together. A friend that I probably need more of. And what was going through my head, as I vacuumed fleas? “I need to cancel our playdate. There’s no way there will be time for me to finish cleaning & spraying & washing everything before time to leave.” Just like that, I was ready to cancel. And, might I add, it would be the 3rd time we’ve had to reschedule this playdate. Then, it occurred to me. How am I ever going to feed my spiritual self, if I avoid the encounters that will do so?

You aren’t getting me this time, Satan.

I haven’t made time for me- for coffee & Jesus, for reading books, for texting or calling long-lost friends, for indulging my wants, for relaxing and just taking a break. My quiet time has consisted of what I felt would be “good enough” for God- a couple devotional readings, a few verses from the Bible, a quick recount of those needing prayer, and yes, time in prayer. But it’s not my best. I’m not giving God my best. I’m giving Him what I think will satisfy Him…what will “get me by”. Yeah, I’m sure He’s really “satisfied”. {insert eye roll here}

Friends, is that you too? Are you treading water? Have you gotten stagnant? Were you once on fire for God, and now you’re fanning the ashes? Are you praying out of passion for the Lord, or out of obligation? Are you seeking….or are you surviving?

I’ve been surviving. And I’m sure I’ve been making the enemy so happy.

Today, I decided it’s time to make a change. I’m committing to a change- in my self, in my household, in my spiritual walk. I need a culture change, and it needs to start now.

When I felt this post coming together in my mind, I turned to the book of James. It’s one of the most “marked up” books in my Bible, and it didn’t fail me today either.

“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” – James 1:22

“But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.  Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.” -James 1:14-15

Oh, how I’ve been drawn away by my own desires! Get under my feet, Satan!

“For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there.” -James 3:16

“Adulters and alduteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” -James 4:4

Let me expound on that last verse. Here’s what the footnotes in my Bible state about it, which I loved and needed today.

James argued that through their selfish, quarrelsome behavior, his readers were seeking “friendship with the world”. They were breaking their covenant with God and committing spiritual adultery. God would not tolerate a rival. He requires total, unwavering allegiance from the people with whom He has joined Himself.

That’s been me. A friend of the world. A friend of my to-do list. A friend of my commitments and obligations.

I encourage you to seek within yourself, as I did while I was cleaning up fleas this morning. Has your busy-ness caused a disconnect with God? Have you let the needs of others stifle your spiritual needs & connection with God? Have you become complacent? Just getting by? Maybe not….and that’s great.

But let me tell you, it’s easy to do. One thing, one moment, one day…it leads to another. We have to be diligent in our seeking of the Lord, so friendship with the world doesn’t take over our time.

It’s time for a culture change in my home. I guess I need to thank those pesky little fleas after all.




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