I felt it and reacted before I ever saw what it was.
While mowing our backyard, near our pond, I felt something wind around my ankles, slithering slowly.
My response was not slow.
Hanging onto the mower with one hand, I jumped, danced and screamed. When I glanced down I saw movement in the grass near my feet.
I didn’t stop dancing.
I didn’t see the whole snake. Just the movement as the critter wound its way back toward the edge of the pond. I could have cared less what kind of snake it was.
A snake is a snake.
My heart beat so fast I thought it would leap from my chest. I screamed for John.
Which brought no response from him.
I still held onto the mower, which was still running.
How I didn’t let it go into the pond is a mystery. I wasn’t thinking about the mower.
I hate snakes.
This is a response common with most folks. Especially those of my gender. Snakes represent all things insidious and crafty.
Think Garden of Eden.
I wasn’t thinking of that garden. I was thinking of living through this encounter.
We’ve got a lot of venomous snakes in Florida. My neighbor, Sylvia, wears boots when she mows their yard.
Now I know why.
There are many things in life that frighten me. Maybe not like snakes do–that’s a visceral reaction of gut-wrenching fear. But fear shows its face in many places.
I’m fearful of not being enough. Of not achieving what I dream of doing. I fear I’m shooting too high with my hopes, and the mantra that runs through my head is “Why bother? You’ll never be enough. You’ll never accomplish those dreams. They’re too high. You’re just not that good.”
And we’re back in the Garden.
The big issue in the Garden of Eden wasn’t just eating forbidden fruit–it was the willingness on the part of the first couple to listen to a lie instead of heeding God’s truth.
The enemy of our souls, Satan, is a one-trick pony. He lies, and does it well.
But he’s not great.
He’s insidious. He fills our minds with negative words that loop through, again and again, till we buy into them. Till we act like that’s the truth about who we really are.
Those lies will never be our truth. But if the lies we choose to listen to short circuit our responses and dreams, the enemy has been successful.
From experience, I know how much easier it is to believe the bad than the good.
What Jesus says about us is who we really are. Our identity is found in the One who created us. The One who has redeemed us and given us hope for a future.
Life can be a scary place. There are so many things we’re unsure of or can’t control. Listening to lies that mess with my mind–not a good use of my time or energy.
I need to be alert. The garden isn’t a safe place.