Stepping on a squishy, gritty surface with bare feet, it took a minute to register the sensation.
The stamped concrete floor in the hallway was hard and cold, where I placed my bare foot was strangely cushioned. Looking down I saw that I had stepped on a crack in the cement with sandy colored clay, broken up in tiny morsels, exploding in little mounds over the edges and . . . there were ants crawling all around.
The crack was not new; living in Mississippi you soon find out that many homes have foundational issues due to the expanding and contracting Yazoo Clay. What was unfamiliar, the earth under the house, now inside the house. The culprits: fire ants.
Before we moved from Colorado to Mississippi I was not privy to the ways of fire ants or Yazoo Clay. In the fire ant community the ants work for the queen; she keeps them all busy building mounds above ground, forming tunnels underground, delivering food, and reproducing. If you kill the ants on the mound, the queen relocates with the rest of her crew, who then rebuild. Before knowing the details I tried to get rid of the ants with insect spray. The ants on the surface died and the rest fled, alerting the queen to relocate. They were not finished wreaking havoc in my home.
Their new destination happened to be in our guest bathroom, where the floor crack continued from the hallway (thankfully we are only renting this home). Serious now about this ant attack, with a little research I was made aware of fire ant treatment. Placing a small amount of “ant food” on the mounds and in the earth, I waited. The goal: for the fire ants to deliver the “food” to their queen, killing off the source and . . . it worked! I was able to sweep up the clay, clean the floors, return to life as usual and breathe a sigh of relief. The intruders were gone!
Truth is we’re all born with cracks, weighted on a shaky foundation that expands and contracts, causing more fractures over time. “Without make-up I’ve heard she is plain ugly”, said an acquaintance of mine about someone she had observed from afar off. It’s funny how negative words stick in our conscience, permanently etched in our memories. We often associate a person with the hurtful words they once spoke. Hearing hurtful, none helpful, criticism, whether directly related to us personally or not, causes ones instincts of protection to kick in; noting this may not be a safe person to confine in.
As unknowledgeable as I was on how to exterminate the fire ants, we are often just as unsure of how to rid the negative voices we hear from taking root in our hearts and minds. They try to seep in and build damaging structures before we fully know we’ve experienced an invasion. We must refuse to give their words weight and power in our lives. Philippians 4:6-7 releases us to take action and dares us to watch God at work.
- Our Action: Shape your worries, your request and praises in to prayers with thanksgiving
- God’s Action: God’s wholeness, his peace will settles us down.
- God’s Promise: His peace will guard our hearts and minds.
The Truth is, God came to reveal, heal and seal our life cracks, placing us on a firm foundation. The scar left, marks the spot God stepped in. It highlights the challenge that became a place of revealing, cleaning, healing, and victory. The enemy can no longer wreak havoc where God has revealed, healed and sealed.
“So this is what the sovereign Lord says: “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who relies on it will never be stricken with panic.” [Isaiah 28:16]
Some of us may need to chose a new foundation and rebuild; others of us may need to let God reveal, heal and seal up the cracks, leaning hard on the firm foundation; and some just need to be reminded and encouraged of what we already know. The lifter of our head will help us bend when it’s painful and help us to lean hard on him when we feel like falling down. We will make it, we just need to encourage ourselves in the Lord! “. . .but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.” [1 Samuel 30:6]
- We can’t stop others from speaking negatively, instead we can highjack the chatter, that brings a slow death to the soul, with words of hope.
- We cannot avoid all painful criticism, but we can limit how much time we spend in the presence of those who criticize; choosing to be in God’s presence and focus on his Word, not their words.
Give weight to God’s word; stick to what is: “true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.” [Philippians 4:8]
Negative words stick to humans like flies to a corpse. When it comes to our english language the assumption is when the prefix “dis” is added to a word, it changes the meaning to the opposite of the root word. There are rare occasions that it can actually intensify the meaning of the root word. For instance, the word gruntle, it originally means: to grumble. The addition of the prefix “dis” causes the meaning of grumble to intensify from grumble to angry and dissatisfied.
In the 1920’s a writer humorously used “gruntle” to mean “to make happy” – in other words he used gruntle as an antonym of “disgruntled.” The new use caught on with the public and now when you look up gruntled you will find this definition: pleased, satisfied and contented.
I love how we have the power to change our perspective from a negative outlook into a positive outlook. With God’s authority we can assign a new meaning to our circumstances; turning what the enemy intended for our undoing, to what God will use for our doing. “. . . the God who gives life to the dead and calls into being the things that were not.” [Romans 4:17]
I do not know what negative meaning has stuck in your life; what voices have attached themselves to your thinking, causing everything to be filtered through a darkened glass. The enemy will try to invade our crevices and cracks, adding a negative prefix to intensify our problems and trip us into falling.
Peel back the prefix that intensifies the problem or adds a negative perspective, find the root word, assign a new definition, and filter your life through what God is declaring over you! Don’t stick to what the enemy has stuck to you!
Stick yourself to a position that keeps your eyes on Jesus. You will begin to notice a visible change from disgruntled to gruntled; from grumbling and anger to satisfied, pleased and content. Paul said, “I’ve learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I’m just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I’ve found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am.” [Philippians 4:12-13]
Join me on the journey to more,