In this journey, we have decided that we need chickens. Of course, they had done chickens before, while I had not ever even held a fully grown chicken before. Easter chicks in kindergarten don't count. Neither of us can HAVE chickens, because we both live "in town". (Where I live, it is like a huge red line divides the highway where in town becomes out of town, and it is A.BIG.DEAL.) So, what to do about chickens?
I have a relative who lives in the magical place we call "out of town". Even though you can look at the houses 50 yards from hers that are "in town", out of town is a paradise of chicken-owning-freedom. AND they used to have chickens (and carrier pigeons, of all things) at that house and OF COURSE! we are welcome to use the old coops.
We were in chicken heaven, and happily ordered 50 chicks. They came, and we housed them. We watered them. We fed them. We cut holes in the walls so that they could run free in the chicken yard. We named the ones that we could pick out of the crowd. We threw random chicken scraps at them, and laughed at their chickeny-chickeness. The kids, especially my Moon, fell in love with the them. My Sun added it to the "you think YOUR mom is crazy" collection of stories he likes to swap with his friends, but he liked the chickens. My Stars couldn't care less. Chickens don't come with controllers, graphics and sound effects. And they don't turn into zombies. (Although I have to admit, that would be super cool).
Unfortunately, we were not the only ones thrilled that the chicks had moved in. The local raccoon population believed we had built them an all you can eat buffet. The first attack came, and the coons got 10 of the fryers. Wonderfriend's hubby knows that even the thought of gross things does me in, and cleaned up the chicken carnage. We cried, got mad, and started nailing on the doors of the coops at night.
SIGH. About two weeks later... Wyoming Chicken Massacre. The coons got into the layers pen and demolished 20.5 chickens. (HalfChicken got most of its upper feathers torn off, and we are still watching for infection, but seems to be doing okay). Since then, we have been on high alert. We have gone over and over the chicken wire surrounding the chicken yard and put countless hours into zip-tying and wiring and staple gunning even the smallest gaps. We have buried wire in the dirt. We have nailed doors in better. We have moved large rocks to surround the bottom of the coop building where something was digging under. The game warden has live traps set. We have worked hard, our kids have worked hard, to fortify Ft. Bawx. The coons are destructive. They seem to take delight in tearing up the chickens. They don't even eat them. The point is to cause mayhem and mess. And we have put A LOT of time and effort and attention into making sure that they don't get in again.
Which brings me to my point. You were hoping I had one, yes?
How much effort do I put into fortifying myself against sin?
(WHAT? How is that even remotely connected? I know, right? )
Sin is destructive for the sake of causing mayhem, harm, senseless hurt and havoc. It is persistent, trying to find the smallest gap to wiggle in through, digging under my defenses, yanking away my protection, attacking when I am sleeping and unaware. It comes, again and again and again. Even when I rebuff it's attack once, it comes back, seeking, searching, testing for that weak spot to get in again.
1 Peter 5:8
Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
And I can't afford that soul carnage. The stakes are too high to not put in at least chicken level effort into protecting my soul from sin, doubt, fear, jealousy, anger, impatience, selfishness and on and on and on. They are predators. And they smell game. Will I give them an open buffet? Or guard my heart, my mind and my soul as well as I guard my chickens?
Phillippians 4: 4-8
4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.