Yep. You read that right. Today, we’re going to talk about how to deal with little critters.
Most people who have been married less than two years aren’t living in a house. Whether you’re renting from a friend, you’re saving up cash in your parents’ basement, or you’re in a complex, you’re most likely living in an apartment.
Did you know that apartments are the breeding grounds for rodents, bugs, and pests? I bet no one told you that in marriage counseling! I bet no one told you to put roach repellent and mouse traps on your registry. But these little critters try to infest not only your home, but your marriage as well.
In our two years of marriage, we’ve had our fair share of visitors creeping in and out of our living spaces. As a neat freak, control freak, and perfectionist, I put the blame on myself every time an unwanted guest would come into my apartment. Maybe I didn’t vacuum enough. Maybe I shouldn’t have left that tiny crumb on the floor. Maybe I should have washed the dishes. It seems like every time I finally clean my house, they show up. And seeing those little things in our space makes us feel so unclean, we want to throw out all our stuff and move!
Lately, God has been calling me to be faithful with what He has given us. We may not have a huge space, but we are responsible for keeping it clean and protected. I’ve been more intentional about washing the dishes, decluttering our space, and vacuuming (oh, how I love the vacuum!).
After seeing just one “bug” in our apartment, we are worried when we will see the next one. It has caused us to live in fear, which adds stress to our daily lives and makes us more irritable. We’ve gone into survival mode, “every person for himself,” but that is not the way that God calls us to live.
Let’s be real: If you don’t understand it, you’ll most likely be afraid of it, and you’re living in fear. We’ve seen everything, from ants to cockroaches to mice to spider crickets. Just the look of what shouldn’t be in our apartment is enough to traumatize us. So that’s why I’m warning you now, before you get freaked out: don’t freak out!
My husband and I are not experts, but here are some ways that we have coped with the little pests instead of living in fear.
Don’t blame yourself. Like I said, apartment complexes are breeding grounds for pests. Therefore, when you have one, it is 0% your fault. Get it out of your head that you’re dirty or unworthy of owning your space.
Do your research. Certain pests are more prominent in some areas. We actually saw a review on Google that our apartment complex has cockroaches. Spider crickets like basements and moist environments. Mice like areas near the woods and near water. So, if you live next to a park or a body of water, you should be aware of what you might see. Don’t freak out, just be prepared.
Prepare for the worst; hope for the best. My husband and I do whatever we can to keep the critters away. We clean the house regularly (making sure our stuff is off the floor and food is stowed in shelves). We don’t live in fear, but we prepare as if an infestation can happen at any time. Bugs and rodents can be nasty, and once you have one, there’s always a chance of more coming back to take over the place. The maintenance staff at our apartment complex also has been attentive. If we have any problems, we call them immediately and they come within 24 hours. Wherever you are, learn about your resources, and use them.
Pray! God has called you to be responsible for your living space, but He doesn’t ask you to do it alone. Just like with anything else, whether you’re renting or you own a home, God can provide strength, wisdom, and resources to make you successful in your stewardship. I cannot even begin to tell you the spiritual lessons I’ve learned from having bugs and rodents in our apartment. My prayers have never been stronger. My declarations of faith have never been more bold and confident. It has also been wonderful to see Lenny step up and act in faith, and to be the leader that God called him to be.
Psalm 91 is a psalm of God’s protection and provision. I wanted to share just one verse with you, but it is all so good, I can’t pick and choose! May God bless your living space, and may Psalm 91 become real for you and your marriage (especially in your dwelling place):
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”
For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler
and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his pinions,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.
You will not fear the terror of the night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
nor the destruction that wastes at noonday.
A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
You will only look with your eyes
and see the recompense of the wicked.
Because you have made the Lord your dwelling place—
the Most High, who is my refuge
no evil shall be allowed to befall you,
no plague come near your tent.
For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways.
On their hands they will bear you up,
lest you strike your foot against a stone.
You will tread on the lion and the adder;
the young lion and the serpent you will trample underfoot.
“Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him;
I will protect him, because he knows my name.
When he calls to me, I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will rescue him and honor him.
With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation.”