(*Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor, vet, nurse or any type of medical professional. The thoughts expressed here are just my opinion and as a result of months on reading about ticks. And yes. I read an ungodly amount. Keep reading to find out why.)
We have a puppy now. She’s a big puppy… one-quarter Great Dane, one-quarter (black) Lab, and one-half Blue Heeler. Her full name is Isabella Cocoa Macri (another story for another time) and we call her Izzie. Or as I often call her… Izzie Busy.
(This is her in September at a mere 9 weeks old. She’s now over 4 months.)
Much like parents of human children, we think our puppy is just the smartest. However… she is still a dog. An animal. An animal that sniffs and eats disgusting things outside and then walks in our house and wants to french kiss.
Our house had a brief and terrible run-in with ticks.
It completely grosses me out to even share this pic.
No seriously, it does. When one appears in our house on the dog or a human, it’s all I can do to not throw up and force dear husband Lance to remove it. (I did have to remove one once from a child when he was out working. It was dreadful. *shiver*) We live in the country, nearly in the woods… so these suckers are just a fact of life.
Now, rest assured… Izzie has been de-ticked. We’re taking care of her, using our best solutions to deter further ticks. The biggest deterrence nowadays is the snow outside :) And, in case you’re wondering whatever has been going on with my health, please know that in the battery of exams and labs, I have been tested for Lyme’s disease and I’m 100% negative.
I share this picture with you because I just can’t stop thinking about them. They’re little blood-suckers… but what’s the harm? They attach, and then what? Most humans don’t even feel them burrow in. We only tend to notice when running our hands over skin that used to be smooth and now there’s a little tag.
But they don’t. They don’t just attach and then you’re never bothered again. They transmit diseases, and more than just Lyme’s disease. They’ll fill up with blood – and eventually get so engorged living off you they’ll fall off. Then go lay some eggs or do some other form of procreating. And they leave YOU with whatever disease they were carrying.
If there’s any good news here, it’s that a) not all ticks are carrying diseases and b) sometimes your body will fight off whatever invaders on its own without you even knowing. Thank God for your immune system.
This is probably some sort of cathartic post for me. A conquer my fears. I hate these nasties. No really, I do.
Who wants to take the chance by leaving a tick… just there? So it doesn’t feel like it’s causing a problem. Besides… it might itch after you remove it. But does that mean we don’t deal with it? I think we all know this is a silly rhetorical question because the answer is a resounding, NO.
So here’s the reason I keep thinking about them.
We leave “ticks” attached to our heart and soul. Y’all, we do this all the time. We have these little things that are literally sucking the life force from us. They don’t itch, they don’t bother us, so we just leave them alone. And maybe someday they fall off, but what they leave in their wake is worse than a tiny itching wound.
Call it bad habits. Bitterness. Envy. Resentment. Bondage and addiction to something so small there’s no harm and no way anyone will ever be affected. Wrong.
What are these little things leaving behind? A sour relationship can leave you with bitterness. Causing the disease of discord, not trusting others, and refusing to participate in community. (And by the way, if you think God didn’t intend us to be relational… you’ve missed the point of the entire Old Testament, Greatest Commandments from Jesus and the Great Commission. He’s big on intimate relationships. Not fluff and stuff, but hard and real and in your face.) That one, off-to-the-side relationship that seems off-kilter and no-big-deal can cause long-term issues with your ability to relate and be relatable.
And that’s only one example on a “tick” that attaches and causes problems. Bad habits lead to poor stewardship with your money and time. An unhealthy adoration for food also can drain the bank, but also sucks energy from you and puts you in improper perspective with your body and your obligations to care for it. Envy and jealousy can lead to buying stuff you don’t need (aside from the relational discord).
This is a strong case for pointing one finger out and all the rest of the fingers are pointing back at me. I’m convicted of these tiny things. I’m a notorious user of the phrase, “It’s no big deal.” (You can ask Lance.) The problem is, all those tiny deals equal one big deal. Those tiny decisions to ignore lead to long-term disease and death. They equal one person who’s distant and angry and unable to relate to the community in which he/she is placed. (By the way, God’s sovereign over that, too, in case you were wondering. Don’t know why you are where you are? Talk to God about it.) Your ticks affect everyone around you.
We are in an open battle where souls are at stake. There is nothing Satan would love more is paralyzed and inefficient Christians because then they aren’t doing their end of the bargain of following Him and the Great Commission. Those ticks on our soul rob us of our ability to be fully functioning committed believers of Jesus and lovers of the people He loved.
When you’re faced with one that’s stealing your life force and leaving behind disease, remove it. Don’t let it sit and continue to do damage.
Eugene Patterson writes his paraphrase on James 1:19-25:
Post this at all the intersections, dear friends: Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear. God’s righteousness doesn’t grow from human anger. So throw all spoiled virtue and cancerous evil in the garbage. In simple humility, let our gardener, God, landscape you with the Word, making a salvation-garden of your life.
Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other. Act on what you hear! Those who hear and don’t act are like those who glance in the mirror, walk away, and two minutes later have no idea who they are, what they look like.
But 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.
Chances are, you already know what’s slowing eating at your soul. Be good to yourself, your relationships, and your God and deal with it. Write them out, pray it out, confess it and ask for help. Figure what’s causing issues and what can be done to move towards healing.
P.S. – Just in case you’re wondering, I let Izzie be the featured image here. Because God knows I don’t want to look at this post in a rolling feed and see those nasty things. So a sweet puppy it is.