Found this beauty waiting for bugs

I noticed a black speck on my white pants as I backed out of the garage. A spider. Instinctively I swiped it off. But that created a problem. Now I had a spider loose in my car and a two hour drive ahead. So I stopped outside and got out. Searching for a black spider in a car with black interior proved fruitless, so I got back in the car. But I was distracted. He was still in the car.

Had he and hundreds of brothers and sisters emerged from an egg sac? I was fresh bait, and I knew he, or they, would seek me out.

Then I felt it, a tickle on my leg. There wasn’t any place to pull over and I couldn’t see my lower leg. So I leaned over my steering wheel, centered my thumb and pointer finger over the tickle and squished, quickly wiping my hand on a tissue. Success! Despite that triumph I was still distracted for most of the drive. Were there more?

I thought about other recent spider encounters. It’s always a battle this time of year, but since my husband and I have been out of town a lot lately, our home is practically encased in webs. Fat spiders hang between bushes awaiting prey, their webs festoon every yard light, and they re-wrap every piece of deck furniture as fast as I hose them off.

I like to keep a clean house, but they still manage to get in— through the windows, on the walls, in the shower. I remembered the other night. We’d just gone to bed when I felt something tickle my cheek—and discovered a spider crawling across my face!

Almost half my trip was wasted. Instead of enjoying the beautiful drive through mountain forests and streams, anticipating the conference ahead, my mind crawled with spiders. From there it was an easy slide into insecurity and negative self-talk.

Sometimes it’s easier to guard against obvious distractions, like sensual pleasures and the desire for things, than wayward thoughts that sneak up like spiders. Three “spiders” I’m learning to watch out for are Regret, Fear, and Worry.

Regret

Regret pulls us into the past. Instead of rejoicing in God’s Spirit today, we relive the sins and failures of yesterday. Like past spider encounters, they distract us from the joy of the moment.

Fear

Fear of what we might encounter today is another distraction. Questions like: Am I good enough? Will they like me? What if I mess up? These thoughts divert our attention from our worth in Christ. The truth is: We’re not good enough. Not everyone will like us. And we’ll probably mess up. Often. But that’s okay, because it’s not about us, it’s about Jesus. And as long as we focus on pleasing Him, we have nothing to fear.

Worry

Another distraction is worry about the future—like being afraid to work in the yard because there are spiders out there. Worry keeps us from fulfilling our purpose in life to bring glory to God in all we do and say. Yes, there’s the possibility of failure, persecution, sickness, want, and broken relationships, but God sees what’s ahead. He will arm us with whatever we need at the moment we need it.

It takes vigilance to keep from being pulled off track, because Satan constantly bombards us with tempting reasons to regret, fear, or worry.

The week after the conference I determined to catch up with yard work. I pulled weeds and trimmed branches, meeting spider webs at every turn. In fact, one spider even managed to get a web started between our garden shed and my weed can halfway out in the yard.

After hours of sweaty work, I was too tired to shower before eating and annoyed by a stray hair that kept brushing my arm. When I started washing my hair, however, I felt several pricks of pain down my neck then watched a large spider wash down the drain. It was not a stray hair at lunch, but a spider trying to attach a web between the top of my head and my shoulder.  

The next day on the radio, the announcers were talking about a woman named Susie. She went to the doctor with what she thought was an ear infection and he discovered a brown recluse living in her ear!

Of course, the next day, I felt a tickle in my ear in the midst of our hydrangea bushes. You know what immediately came to mind. And you can bet I applied enough eardrops to drown anything even thinking of taking up residence. But then I went back to work again…armed with bug spray.

I will not be derailed from my mission! Not in my yard and not as a disciple of Jesus Christ. But I won’t be foolish and assume there won’t be a fight.

The enemy tries to discourage us with his webs and distract us from following Christ. Whatever spiders you face today, I pray you will not allow them to get you off track. Claim the truth of God’s Word against Regret, Fear, and Worry and speak it out loud. Then get back to work.

“…whoever catches a glimpse of the revealed counsel of God—the free life!—even out of the corner of his eye, and sticks with it, is no distracted scatterbrain but a man or woman of action. That person will find delight and affirmation in the action” (James 1:25, Message).

#stayontrack #spiderstories #runtherace #distractiontechniques #keepfocus