I bet there’s one thing we all have in common, that unites us as a species this very moment. It goes beyond culture and belief. It’s something we give little thought to and yet can’t avoid: bugs. Boxelder bugs, to be exact.
They are literally everywhere right now, but I don’t need to tell you that. You probably have your own clan of them hanging around your front door or decorating the south side of your house. Even as I write this, a boxelder bug catches my eye, clinging to a leaf on one of our house plants. How ironic, I think. Here we have thousands of these things swarming our house and making a dash for the indoors whenever they get the chance, and now, one (realistically many more) have made it. Victory! Yet, it scurries its nasty little legs right to the one semblance of nature it can find: my house plant. Slow and lethargic, it begins to realize (if bugs can realize stuff) that the outdoors is life and being inside is the beginning of the end.
These bugs aren’t the only offenders of the grass-is-greener mentality. Our cat, dog and chickens all have FOMO (fear of missing out) as well. Wherever we go, they go, and believe me it does get old.
All of us have a little of this inside of us too. So maybe that’s what really unites us after all.
Our humanity and the pull for more, for different, for other is our common thread. What we have doesn’t quite cut it—our house, job, friends, church, spouse, body— it could all improve. We could have or be what they have or are.
Self-improvement and house-improvement and even spiritual-improvement are all really trendy things in our culture. It’s definitely not all bad. But there is something to mindfulness in the present. To gratitude in our space, work, and relationships.
I hate to compare us to boxelder bugs, but I guess that’s where the metaphor is leading because often times, the other side isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Maybe right where we’re at is just right.
I’m taking a break from FOMO to think about the ways God is providing for me in the here and now. When I consider the blessings around me, the provisions I’ve prayed for, they inspire a kind of gratitude that leads to actual living and not just existing. I see how God is using my gifts in ways I’ve hoped for, but in roles I didn’t expect. I see how my husband, children and friends all supply different flavors to my life and fill different aspects of my heart. I see how my work isn’t glamorous but just enough in this season of raising little ones. I belong in this place, at this time. We belong in this place at this time.
So, I stand up, carry my little house plant to the door and flick the bug back out where it belongs.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.