For several days, my husband and I have been battling gnats in our home. We thought a few snuck in with some fresh peaches we bought recently. Finally, we decided to clean out every cabinet and see if we could find anything.
In the last cabinet…on the last shelf…in the last corner…we found IT. Apparently, a sweet potato had been left in a sack far too long. To put it mildly, it had become the most hopping gnat hotel in the neighborhood.
I was horrified. My first instinct was to slam the door before my husband saw it. But I knew that thing had to go—now. So I snatched it, handed it to my husband, and hollered, “Burn it!” His eyes grew round with horror just as mine had. He ran for the burn barrel in our backyard yelling, “Get the lighter fluid!” We soon watched our pest problem go up in smoke and laughed at our little drama.
Afterward, we came back in and scrubbed every surface, threw out tons of food, and did everything we could to rid every gnat-touched surface. While cleaning, a variety of things went through my mind…
I’m the worst housekeeper ever.
My mother-in-law would never let this happen.
Mark must think I’m a terrible wife.
Then I started feeling as if this scenario somehow felt familiar. I thought about other times when suddenly IT had been revealed—although these other times had been in my heart rather than my cabinet.
Sometimes I start swatting a few “gnats” in my life. Maybe I’m more irritable than I’d like to be. Perhaps negativity buzzes around my mind with no apparent reason. Or I just find myself slipping up in an area more often than usual. At first, I don’t really notice. But it increases and finally I decide this has got to go.
Rather than my husband, God goes gnat-hunting with me at those times. Of course, He already knows the source. Inevitably, there’s that moment… in the last cabinet…on the last shelf…in the last corner…I find IT.
My reaction is the same—slam the door before God can see. But of course, He has known about it far longer than I have. Sometimes I tell myself He doesn’t. So I do shut the door and continue swatting gnats like nothing has happened.
But sometimes I do the right thing, I toss it His way and say, “Burn it!” In other words, whatever it takes I want this out of my life.
But even after it’s gone, just as I did in my kitchen, I begin the parade of condemnation…
I can’t believe I messed up again.
I know better than to do something like this.
God must be so mad at me.
At the end of the night when we were finished cleaning, Mark asked, “What’s wrong?” I told him, “I feel really bad that I let that into our house. It’s my fault.” He wrapped his arms around me and said, “You did a good job. I’m just glad we found out where it was coming from and got rid of it. I love you.”
In his words, I couldn’t help hearing a bit of my Heavenly Father’s heart for me too. We’re all going to find “gnats” in our lives sometimes. We all have those hidden places where things grow in the darkness—things we never thought we would bring into our lives. Things that make us feel ashamed. Unworthy. Less than everyone else. But we don’t have to live with those gnats or the lies that come along with them.
The truth is, God already knows about those places. He loves us too much to let the “gnats” stay. But He also says to each of us, “You did well. I’m glad we found out where it was coming from together and got rid of it. I love you.”