My day started out well enough despite some weariness from a long travel day the previous day. I had a leisurely lunch with a special friend and headed home for a list of assorted odds and ends, some of these were ones I had on my radar screen and some showed up unexpectedly.
The mix of these odds and ends gradually built into a cacophony in my head that left it throbbing and reduced my capacity to really get started with writing or to complete anything else on the list. I was soon spinning my wheels and getting more stuck in the mud in the process. Nothing seemed to be going well and I could not resolve several projects that were bearing down on my mind as a result of a deadline attached to them.
After hours of frustration with little accomplished, I shut down the computer and tried to shift my mind away from everything I had been struggling with in order to relax and get ready for sleep. If you are guessing that I was not very successful at either of these things, you are right!
It was clear that I could not be productive, but neither could I relax and sleep did not come to relieve my aching head for hours after I got into bed. My shoulders were taut and scrunched up to my ears in tension and my mind refused to stop rehearsing the last four or five hours prior to getting into bed.
When morning arrived, I felt the hangover of too little sleep and all that was incomplete still facing me. I began to try to pick one piece of the thread to unravel the mess with only modest success. Prayer did not seem to reach the place I needed to be. My mind was still scattered and resulted in more little things like misplacing my keys at one point and my phone at another.
I needed help!
I texted my dear friend who had shared lunch with me and asked her to pray for me. She is one of those people who truly will pray when asked to do so. As she came alongside me by praying, I began to feel some release and a short phrase from Song of Solomon came to mind, “little foxes spoil the vines”. It brought a smile to my face as I reflected on the state I had gotten into over “little things”. I felt as if the Lord was gently reminding me I had lost sight of what was important. It’s the sort of thing all of us periodically get snared by when we are not looking or expecting an assault.
Most of us may not routinely delve into the Song of Solomon with its apparent allegorical style. We enjoy it as we read the lavish descriptions of love written there, but the nuances of meaning in the midst of graphic descriptions are not always clear to us. As I checked several commentaries, the clarity of meaning of that phrase was not as precise as I would have liked.
One commentary suggested that little things can creep in nearly unnoticed and yet do great mischief and if not addressed lead to even greater problems. What I sensed from the Lord beyond that was a reminder that I am grafted into the vine as his daughter, but if I am too weary, tired, or bogged down with the cares of this life these little “foxes” can nibble away at the fruit in my life, destroy grace, squelch good motives and direction.
The phrase brought about a grace-filled gentle conviction that my mind needs to be alert to little things that nibble at the eternal relationship found in the vine because when this happens I become irritable, frustrated, and less able to see the forest for the trees or to reflect Christ’s character.