I’m allergic to ant bites. And it seems like a bite from an ant, or any insect for that manner, always inconveniences us, doesn’t it?
Here’s how it happens: you feel a little “pre-bite,” as if the ant is trying to figure out where his bite would be most inconvenient. And then it happens:
Ant bites, mosquito bites, spider bites… they are all horrible. Inconvenient. Ugly.
But that’s not the worst part. The worst part about an ant bite is the scratching afterwards.
My daughter is getting better at not scratching as much, but I know why she scratches. And it’s the same reason why you scratch: to alleviate the itch temporarily.
In a small way, that’s a picture of how we treat our bigger, life-sized problems, isn’t it?
There’s some huge problem in our lives – finances, stress, social issues, loneliness, gossip, relational issues – and sometimes, it’s like we scratch, just a little, because we think, “Hey, if I scratch, if I mess with it just a little bit, it’ll feel better,” right?
Microscopic involvement with your problem doesn’t usually help, does it? Instead, scratching makes it worse.
Rest assured, there’s a smarter way. There always is.
What if, instead of scratching our problem, instead of scratching the scab and making it a fresh wound, what if we didn’t scratch?
What if we strategically left the problem alone, or maybe left the center of the problem alone?
Would that make it heal quicker?
You know what I’m writing about: you’re waiting for that phone call that will “fix everything,” and it doesn’t come. So you send an email. You make the call instead. And it backfires.
Or, someone is drastically angry with you, but instead of letting her have some time to cool down and heal, you stay right in the mix, trying to help. But instead, you scratch and make it worse.
Sure, sometimes you have to scratch. Sometimes you have to attack the root of the problem.
But sometimes you should just leave “well enough” alone. Sometimes you shouldn’t scratch. Sometimes you’ve got to just let it heal.
What’s a problem in your life that you “scratched” and made worse? What’s a time when you had a problem and you didn’t scratch, and it got better quicker?