Several years ago, I came home from work and there was a praying mantis on the wall in the living room. I really do not like most insects and this one was really big. Usually, my husband takes care of any insects in the house but he was at work. Feeling a little silly, I called his office.
Amy, his secretary, answered and I told her I needed to talk to him because I had a problem. She wanted to know if it was urgent and if I needed to disturb him (he was with a patient). I said, “Well, there’s a praying mantis on the wall and I don’t know if it is a p-r-a-y-ing mantis or a p-r-e-y-ing mantis.” She laughed, “Can’t you just catch him in a container and put him outside?” I replied, “Of course not. I would have to get near him and I can’t do that!” My husband called me a few minutes later and listened to my problem. He said, “Valerie…” I knew that meant he would deal with it when he came home.
In the remaining two and a half hours before he came home, I fixated on the mantis. I closed the bedroom doors and tried to stay busy. I cooked dinner and all the while, kept going in the living room to make sure the mantis hadn’t moved. It seemed to get bigger every time I looked at it! Mike eventually came home, took a plastic container, caught the mantis and released it outside. Boom! Five minutes and the problem was solved.
This story is not about sharing one of my idiosyncrasies (although there are many). It’s about focus and fixation. I had a choice when I came home (solving the problem was not one of them at the time). I could ignore the rather benign mantis and go about my business or I could fixate on him and lose a couple of precious hours of my life and my peace.
We all have problems, many of which are quite benign. Sometimes we fixate on them and make them much bigger than they need to be. It robs us of our peace and can certainly ruin a nice day. How much better we would be if we could focus and fixate on something that would give us peace instead!
“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2