This is a bug house. It's meant for young explorers to place their backyard prey into without suffocating them like our generation did when we simply put the bugs into a glass jar with some bits of grass and a couple holes poked in the lid.
This week I discovered a new use for it. Actually, 2 year old Boo discovered it. It can also function as toddler trap.
For some reason, he thought it looked like a good place to stick a rubber soccer ball. All was well until he wanted to get the ball out. In an unplanned version of the "monkey with marble can't get his hand out of the jar" experiment, Boo learned that the hand that goes in the bug keeper empty can't get back out when it's holding on to something.
I entered into the scenario when I heard one of those screeches usually reserved for an episode of sibling rivalry. I came around the corner to serve as referee and found Boo with his hand in the bug hut, stomping his feet and shaking it. I got him to stop flinging it around long enough to see the problem; his hand fit through the opening just fine, but with the rubber ball in his grip, he couldn't get it back out.
I got him calmed down and convinced him to let the ball drop. When he did, I could have pulled the insect habitat off his hand quite easily, but he shoved it back in because he didn't want to leave the ball behind. I had to talk him into dropping the ball again so we could get his hand out. As soon as I pulled the bug-house off, he started the foot stomping, shrieking again because he still wanted the ball. I don't think even a second elapsed before I tipped up the arthropod abode and the ball dropped out the opening into his outstretched palm. Mission accomplished; fit over.
In an instant I saw the parallel to my own relationship with God. I know that I have a tendency to hold tightly onto things that I prize. Relationships, jobs, financial matters, writing opportunities...so many things He's given me that I want to squeeze tightly lest it somehow escape or be taken away.
Years ago my mom taught me to picture my prized "possession" in my hand and to try to see myself opening my closed fingers to allow whatever I'm gripping to be held lightly on my open palm; surrendering it to the Lord to take or leave as He chooses.
After seeing Boo stuck in the bug house though, I have a better picture of how it really plays out. It's not about me holding my precious object on my open palm and lifting it up to the Lord as though it rests in my hand. What I really need to do is unclench my fist, actually drop the object of my affection, and let Him release it to me as He sees fit. Sometimes the very act of supporting it myself is what prevents Him from being able to let me have it!
Are you ever the "monkey with a marble?" Is there anything you need to drop completely so God is free to release it to you?
Afterthought--I think when I the kids are done with the bug house, I might appropriate it for myself and use it to keep reminders of the things I'm trying to turn over to Him. I'll write the things on slips of paper, put them inside and shut the door, remembering that trying to take them back out will only hinder me from letting God give me what He wants me to have, when and how He wants me to have it. (If you need a bug house of your own, they're on sale about now at places like Target!)