Posted by: Kara Luker | January 8, 2021

A good reminder

I came out to my shed to start writing a book. Nothing fancy; just my story. It finally seems like the right time. While looking for a particular post to reference, I came upon the following one I wrote in 2014. It’s not even close to what I was looking for, but it does happen to be exactly what I needed to hear today. You see, a self-critical accusation has been hammering me hard this week, making me feel unacceptable and unlovable. It’s an old, familiar voice; one that plagued me for years and led to a lot of brokenness. I was able to close the doors that gave it access as God’s love for me became louder than its condemning voice. But this time, it came from a different direction and bore a message that I leaned in to hear… as if it contained truth… as if it changed the narrative of what I know and of who I am. It was good to be reminded that peace is my inheritance, that I am no victim to this skewed perspective of myself and that it is in my power to “demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of Godand to take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” I don’t know if you’re struggling, but thought you might be able to use that reminder too.



All summer, at least two flies were present in my kitchen. My blood pressure must have risen several points each evening as I attempted to cook dinner amidst their perpetual buzzing and stealthy attempts to land on my food. When particularly frustrated, I threatened them in vicious tones and flung my bony hand at their bodies. The motion (or maybe threats) sent them into frenzied flying patterns for all of a few seconds… before they landed in the exact same spot. The process was repeated and our dysfunctional relationship continued.

When John returned home from work each day, he would grab the fly swatter, nail the pesky buggers, and be done with it. If another dared to appear in his presence, it would not live long. After several months of witnessing this, a revelation occurred:

Why did I let these pests dwell in my home, rob my peace and pollute my food? I, yes I, had the power. A fly swatter, to be exact. And, I suspect, a superior intellect.

So I began to take up my rightful place as daytime fly hunter. Lacking the coordination and experience of my husband, who can kill a fly mid-air, it certainly took a bit of effort. But the payoff was fabulous. Along with the perpetual buzz, went the persistent frustration – and an insidious (and absurd) sense of victimhood.

So I was feeling mighty; warrior-like, even. Slaying the enemy and protecting my turf. Then we had a birthday party for Madison. Despite the heat of the day, it was a lovely evening. We lingered outside, devouring the tasty food my mom had graciously prepared. I tied up the outdoor trashbag that was beginning to attract flies (Take that you defeated creatures!) and left it next to the back door – where it was forgotten for four very long, 90 degree days.

When I finally picked up the trash bag to dispose of it… oh my good lord. Living beneath that black plastic on MY porch right by MY back door was a mountainous pile of pulsating white maggots. A steady stream of the foul creatures continued to pour out of a hole in the bottom of the bag. My body froze, followed quickly by a gag reflex, and then a desperate holler to Cole as I witnessed masses of squishy wiggling bodies dropping beneath the wood slats to safety a few inches below… where, no doubt, they would fulfill their maggot destinies and transform into millions, if not billions, of flies and conquer me with their sheer number.

My dear, dear son came running to my rescue and (without gagging once) calmly assessed the situation. Together, we gathered several cans of raid and liberally sprayed every maggot in site. With the cans wedged between the slats of the deck, we blasted those cowering below. And then we sprayed them again. And again. The wood became host to glistening pools of toxic substances, as maggots squirmed and writhed in the wet poison. It was an all-out war.


Believe you me, we took out the trash that day. I think we added a couple more layers of trash bags to contain the remaining maggots (sorry environment!), tied them thoroughly and closed that lid TIGHT. There was a slight influx of flies for a short while after that adventure – bionic bugs that survived our attack, but nothing this warrior mom couldn’t handle.

But oh my word, can I tell you what I learned about taking thoughts captive? I’m talking about those pesky little thoughts that fly around in our heads, robbing our peace and polluting our nourishment, not to mention reproducing more of themselves to do the same. Many aren’t world-ending (although some are), so we just let them buzz around while maintaining this strange, dysfunctional relationship with them… as if they belong.

Let me tell you straight-up: they do not belong! Oh yes, I know that we can justify the accusatory thoughts that fly in, often undetected at first, and land on our minds. And how there are scrolls of reasons to accommodate the constant droning of self-pity. And how much evidence we’ve accrued to think that fear and anxiety have a right to exist in our dwelling place – or that we don’t have the authority to kick them out. Comparison and envy? All I will say is that they are waaay more toxic than a little fly juice. Each of our minds were created for peace. Without exception. Anything that draws us away from peace and Godly order is a squatter on the holy ground of our minds.

So what the heck do we do? A few suggestions…

  1. Use the fly swatter! The foundation of our understanding as to what has value and is true – and our authority to reject all else – is the Word of God. It is our fly swatter (or, as Paul calls it in Ephesians, “the sword of the Spirit”). Let’s use it and become the warriors that we are by annihilating anything that doesn’t line up with His word.
  2. Close the door. Thoughts are either they are given access or they aren’t. There will be times when they sneak in as we open the door to get the mail, but there are also times when we are trying to kill them left and right, without realizing that we have left a door wide open. The Holy Spirit is there to help us discern what each area might be for us and give us the wisdom and courage to slam that thing shut.
  3. Take out the trash. Some of the crud lingering in our minds and stinking up the place has been there so long we consider it to be part of ourselves. Maybe it’s a simple realization that we’ve been hoarders who need to reassess what has true value and what happens to be rotten food mistaken as treasure. Then toss anything that does not bear value. If you need motivation, picture the maggots.

“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (2 Cor 10:5)

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