This time, they came marching right in through the window over my kitchen sink! They invaded our little budding orchid on the window sill, getting all up in its business, finding themselves something to eat. Needless to say, the orchid wasn’t happy (neither were we), so we got out as many ants as we could find tangled up in her roots, and we gave our little plant a new container - a clear glass one so we could see if we missed any of the little interlopers - and relocated her to a new spot away from the ant’s warpath.
We kept an eye on the window sill, thinking - hoping - that by removing the food source there would no longer be a reason for the intruders to … well, to intrude..
But, sadly, our hopes were dashed. They went next door on the window sill and found good eatin’ in the soil of our gerber daisy. It was clearly not their first choice, but it provided sustenance just the same. Apparently. Finding a new pot and fresh soil, we repotted Daisy and relocated her to another sunny spot, again away from the window.
“Move along, ants. There’s nothing to see - or eat - here.”
We were fortunate, through all of the ant’s adventures thus far, that they had not ventured down just a bit into the sink that sits just below the window. This would have been a veritable feast for the little buggers!
See, I am not fastidious about keeping my sink cleaned out. So many other things in life are more important - and fun! - than doing dishes. However, in light of recent events, keeping the sink clean suddenly became a priority, and we were staying on top of it, making sure we weren’t leaving midnight snacks for unwanted guests.
As I was wiping down the counter this morning, I had a thought:
If I were to go about my routine like there were ants just waiting to pounce on the slightest crumb or spill at any moment, dishes would get done more frequently, and I would enjoy a clean sink more regularly.
While this is true (well, probably true … in some reality), it occured to me that this line of thinking focuses on the ants.
Is this really what I want my mind to dwell on, the thing I want dictating life's choices?
This motivation for doing dishes has nothing to do with the dishes or the sink any more; it’s based solely on avoiding a future event that might or might not ever happen.
How sad for the dishes, or the clean sink. They get the benefit of the action, for sure, but only as a side effect of it. The ants - the very thing I wish to never see again - would be the very thing I was looking for.
Instead of seeing the dirty pots and pans and being grateful for the food that was prepared in them, or the plates that are evidence of full bellies, I would only see the enemy in my sink. Even when it wasn’t there.
Instead of sharing KP duty with gratitude, music, and the occasional flash mob of two if the song is right (isn’t that how everyone does dishes?), doing dishes would become a burden - the thing we do to prevent unpleasantness that *might* ensue otherwise. Pretty soon, doing dishes becomes the burden itself, devoid of any value but an offensive against a war that’s over.
Ok, so I’m being a little dramatic here, but bear with me for a moment.
This whole thought process got me thinking about how many Christians approach sin.
Sin is like those ants. It sneaks in from sometimes unknown places and makes itself at home where it doesn’t belong, hurting its ‘host’ in the process. Once the place of entry (ie: temptation) is determined, steps can be taken to shore up the gaps and stop the unhindered flow of sin.
We are taught in church that our sins are all forgiven - past, present, and future. The interruption it creates can be ended, allowing us to once more focus on things that bring us joy.
The problem is that some teachings keep us focused on the sin. People become so concerned about falling back into that sin that they lose sight of the good things in their lives. They lose their joy - not because they have remained in a state of sinfulness, but because they remain in a state of hyper awareness regarding it.
When I keep watching my window sill, expecting to find ants, my enjoyment of our plants is diminished. When we keep watching our lives, expecting to find sin, our enjoyment of our blessings is likewise diminished.
My sin is forgiven, and the righteousness of Christ is imputed upon me; there’s no longer a need to wage this war. It’s already been won. A warrior doesn’t remain battle ready during peacetime.
And it’s peacetime.
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. “ Jn 14:27
I will not forget that ants have come in through that window. But I will trust that the measures that we have taken to prevent their re-entry will hold.
Don’t forget that sin is out there, but trust in the measures that Christ has taken to prevent their control of your life. His work is complete; it is finished.
It’s peacetime. Focus on the blessings, not the ants.
Writing about widow life, grief, and general random ramblings.
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