For the past several months I have been HARASSED. These pesky flying black bugs (other wise known as fruit flies) invaded my home over the summer and settled in as if they were paying rent! My roommate and I naturally assumed that once the weather changed they would die off and leave. Well imagine my surprise when they took up residence and seemingly MULTIPLIED as the temperatures grew cooler and fall rolled in. I did everything possible to deter their stay. We moved the garbage cans out of the kitchen as they were swarming both the recycling bin and the trash. They were unfazed and decided they were just fine hanging out in the kitchen. I tried every tactic I knew, even posting their visit on Facebook and getting feedback on what to do. (That is so not my personality to share such info on social media but desperate times call for desperate measures!) As advised from a well-meaning Facebook friend/slash high school peer, I sat out a bowl of apple cider vinegar.
I killed one bug.
One out of hundreds! They were laughing at me. I poured bleach down all of the drains. Twice. No difference. I hung up fly strips on the ceiling. I found one sitting on the strip and then have the nerve to fly off! Daily I was vacuuming them with the vacuum and swatting them with rolled up newspaper and they just kept coming back for more. It really wasn’t until I was sitting down to enjoy a salad and saw one perked on a crisp piece of lettuce that I lost it. I spent over an hour that night vacuuming up every single last bug I found in the house. I determined in my heart that I would find the source. I declared war!
“Father, reveal the source! PLEEEAASSEEE!” I prayed. Others had told me that there was something drawing the pests to our home but I had already gone through the cabinets, moved the fridge and could find NOTHING! I couldn’t imagine what they could be feeding on as everything was properly sealed and closed up. But I figured I would go through the kitchen again at the advice of a friend and also even try to remove the garbage disposal as suggested by my landlord. So I rolled up my sleeves, had a made up mind and started tackling this project, all the while praying that God would reveal “the source”. I moved the fridge again, went through the crates of food we have off to the side. Then proceeded to take out all the pots and pans and look under the sink. All of a sudden I turned, eyes narrowed and studied the large, metal rack of shelves against the wall next to the door. We keep all plastic containers and dishes on the top shelves and some various food items on the bottom.
I let out a frustrated sigh. I had already looked through the food on the lower shelves. And then my eyes settled on a large rubber tub sitting on the floor, next to the rack. A friend had given us some food in August before her trip out of the country and after going through it I had kept a few food items in that tub and forgotten its existence. But staring at it this time I saw liquid inside and wondered what the liquid could possibly be. With each step closer realization dawned on me, and I knew even before peering inside that this was it. Once the lid was removed it was confirmed. This was the source. Hundreds of bugs swarmed the items inside and instead of being utterly disgusted I raised my hands in victory and shouted praise! ”THANK YOU LORD!!! I FOUND THE SOURCE!!”
It was this frustrating, annoying and even gross picture that God used to teach me about the importance of exposing and removing the underlying root issues of bondage. The last few months have been challenging. Not just because of the bugs but because of my own flesh rising up after being triggered by life circumstances. In both situations with the flies and these other issues, I wanted God to just “fix it”. I wanted Him to just make everything right and magically remove the internal and external behaviors that were causing me grief. And because He was not moving in that way my faith was shot. I did not really believe I would be rid of both natural and spiritual pests harassing me.
The problem was I was lazy.
I did not want to fight. I did not want to participate in the deliverance. I only wanted God to snap His fingers and “poof” deliverance would come. But that is the mindset of an immature believer. And He is maturing me. He is requiring me to participate, use my authority and seek out the source. We can spend ample time removing the “fruit”, trying to correct behavior, but unless the root is removed, the same fruit will continue growing. I utterly exhausted myself with all of my attempts at removing the bugs from our household. All of that activity proved to be temporary fixes. The real fix came from finding the source of the problem and removing that from the home.
There is now peace in my home. Peace within me. Because the root issue in me that was causing me grief was loving conditionally. It was a root planted by the enemy some years ago. It was a lie that told me “if you love unconditionally you will be hurt”. And so I protected myself with a hedge of fear to guard my heart thus giving place to the evil one. But now finally, I have removed the hedge. It has taken years to get me to this place. It is still new for me. Still tender. But there is peace. No more wasted energy on being offended and angry and afraid. In its place there is a made up mind to love as Christ loves. Forgive as He forgives. To not be easily offended.
There will be tests. God will keep testing me, to strengthen this area of unconditional love in me. But I have no doubt that with and through Him I will pass these tests. Because the root from the enemy is removed. I dug it out. And in its place, is the love of the Father.
1 Corinthians 13