It was an especially chaotic day.
“Don’t forget to do the laundry tonight.”
“What am I going to make for dinner?”
“Our small group is happening tonight, I have to clean the house!”
“I am overdue on the issues with my car. That should have been done by now”
“I forgot to respond to Rebecca! I have to do that ASAP”
“You got to get to the gym, Jen, to finish your miles for this week.”
“Set a reminder to take the paperwork to the payroll office tomorrow morning before the 9am meeting”
All these thoughts were whizzing around my head while I was searching for my apartment key. I was standing outside my front door surrounded with several grocery bags at my feet.
I miraculously and tenaciously carried all 6 bags full of produce and protein to the front door of my house only to realize I didn’t have a free hand to unlock the door. I’m one of those people who tries to grab everything from the car in one trip to avoid the dreaded second trip back. Because HELLO…I DON’T HAVE TIME!
What I remember in this moment is that I was exhausted. I was also quite annoyed that I couldn’t find my key and that I had to set the groceries down in the first place, because I had some serious momentum and muscle toning going on with all those bags.
Finally, as I fumbled onto my key in the dark abyss that is my purse, I turned toward the door to see the tiniest bit of wonder and whimsy that I could find. It was a lady bug.
As I starred at that lady bug for no more than ten seconds, I realized that I just wanted my life to be simpler, not so full of “to do” and “need to”. I wanted to appreciate the beauty of that tiny creature because, somehow, I knew that lady bug was there on purpose. I took a moment to try and capture this simple wonder, but I still felt like I had too much to get done. I did my best to notice what I was feeling and remember that tiny little lady bug because I knew this moment would come up later.
The next morning when I sat down to do my devotions, I started with looking up facts about lady bugs.
There was TONS of information about such a tiny creature, but one fact stood out among the rest: lady bugs are extremely helpful to farmers because they eat all the pesky insects that destroy their crops.
Seems simple enough. Though, I’m not a farmer so I didn’t know this prior to this particular fact checking experience. In fact, I didn’t ever stop to think that their might be insects, smaller than a lady bug, that could destroy a harvest. As I scrolled on to read more information about lady bugs, I felt the Lord whisper to my spirit, “Jen, I’m sending the lady bugs into the garden of your heart. There are some things that seem small but they need to go, or else they’ll destroy the harvest that is coming your way ”.
It was a simple whisper, not an earth-shattering moment. But I wrote it down. Again, I knew that I this moment would come up later.
Shortly after, I opened my devotional book. It’s called 40 Days to Decrease and each day it highlights something to fast for 24 hours. Some of the to fast include: avoidance, complaining, stinginess, spectatorship, fear and 35 other things.
As I worked through the first couple days of my devotional, it dawned on me. THESE are the pesky insects in my garden. Fear has got to go. Avoidance needs to be gutted out of my life. For too long these things have been preventing a harvest in my heart. They’ve kept me from enjoying the fullness of life and the simple wonders God has waiting for me in my day to day.
Ridding your heart of all of the little life draining pesks, that’s a deep work. It’s time consuming, and it's a painful process. But it’s one I’m willing to show up for, because with the help of a little spotted insect, I know that God is showing up for me in this process.
I could have missed what the Lord was trying to say to me. I could have rushed inside and assumed that my noticing a little red dot on my door was insignificant. But noticing is a wonderful and life-giving discipline. When we slow down and look around, there’s no telling what we’ll find. And I must say, that I don’t want to miss even the smallest of wonders that the Lord has for me, especially when they’re right outside my front door.
Jen is a pastor, worship leader, writer, and songwriter living in Napa, California.