The other day I went up to my kitchen to start my daily routine. Instinctively I scanned the counters for ants. Non--except for a procession into my “pantry” drawer. That's the drawer I keep a lot of my baking staples in. Next step was to find what they were after. That took a bit but I figured out that they'd found a small hole in the brown sugar bag—it hadn't been sealed properly. Out comes everything in the drawer. Might as well do this job right. All of my tall bottles of oils, soy sauce, lemon juice, syrup, etc., got a washing. Thankfully the brown sugar bag hadn't quite been entered yet, apparently the sugar that had fallen out of the bag was enough for the ants up to that point, so the brown sugar was put away in Tupperware. Drawer got cleaned out and everything went back into it. I didn't mention the ant spray even. Can you tell that ants in my kitchen has been an ongoing battle? They weren't bothering me for a while, but now they've all come back in hoards. It felt like the more I cleaned, the more ants there were. The more I sprayed, the more holes they found to come out of. On and on it went—wait, it goes. Tomorrow I'll probably find a new procession of ants marching resolutely from their hole to some small bit of something that I've left out or simply didn't realize existed. It's a battle between me and the ants.
As I cleaned out that drawer the other day I thought, “There has to be some sort of spiritual lesson to be learned from this.” I thought of how frantic and desperate these ants seem to be as I work bit by bit at ridding myself of them. It's as though they make much out of the little crumbs they find because they no longer can find things like sinks full of dirty, sticky, dishes. (Jenny, I do have to do my dishes more often now.) The whole colony turns out to help with the harvesting of these small precious crumbs. And I thought, “This is how I need to be about the small nuggets of Truth I find as I read my Bible. I should go crazy over them.” Then I thought, “This is just a little cheesy, trying to find a spiritual application for these annoying ants.”
But I couldn't forget it. You see, quiet time and prayer time have been a struggle for me. Taking that time with the Lord is so important, yet so easily pushed off. My little excuse will often be, “I'll wait until Dru leaves.” Truly, my best quiet time is when he's not around, but do I make sure it happens then? Not always. I've come to realize that when the Holy Spirit says, “Now is a good time to have your time with God,” He's right. There have been times when I thought I could wait till later but then something comes up and that time I thought I had is occupied with something else.
Here are some of the discouragements that tend to keep me from being diligent in my time with God:
#1. It's hard to “get into it” after several missed days. I just don't have the passion.
#2. I can't get anything out of it.
#3. Everyday should be a day with the Lord, why is this certain time important?
#4. It's hard to focus in prayer.
But all of those things are only excuses I allow to be stumbling blocks. I need to think about these things instead:
#1. Like the ants in my kitchen, I need to make the most of the little bits of truth I do find.
#2. I need to be diligent, like the ants who search my kitchen tirelessly for food.
#3. I shouldn't be so selfish—this isn't about me, it is a way for me to bring glory to Him. Why do I insist that I have to get something out of it?
#4. No matter how I feel, people still need prayer and my Father in Heave still deserves my thanksgiving and praise.
So that is what comes of ants in a kitchen. I'm still not on good terms with them. I still squish, spray, and wash them away. But somehow, they'll probably still remind me now and then that my time with God is important.