NOUN A troublesome animal.
A troublesome and mischievous person, especially a child
Have you ever had a varmint take up residence in … well, your residence? Not the child version, but the troublesome animal variety. It seems there is a varmint squatter currently living in, or at least visiting, the space between the ceiling and roof over my bedroom. It is doubtful that I would have ever known, but for one thing. My ceilings are tin, rather than sheetrock. Although I cannot be certain, I suspect the squatter is the opossum I have surprised several times helping herself to the leftover cat food on the front porch. When confronted with the beam of my flashlight, she sauntered off and walked straight up a tree, the branches of which hang over the front porch. Straight up! I was shocked at the ease with which she climbed the vertical surface as if walking down a sidewalk.
I have no idea how this unwelcome critter is gaining access to that area of the house, but it is most important that I find out! It is imperative that I block the opening and deny her admission! Her, you might ask? How could I know the gender, when I am not even certain of the species? Truth be told, I do not know that the varmint is female. I FEAR that it is female! More on that later!
As far as the species, the working theory right now is that the squatter is a possum, although a raccoon would also be on the short list. Due to the nature of the tin ceilings, one can easily hear that whatever is walking around up there is at least as heavy as a cat. It is also painfully obvious that it is nocturnal. Both of these observations fit the description of a possum.
Here is a quote from Mother Nature Network:
But first, the burning question: is it opossum or possum? In 1608, Capt. John Smith coined the word opossum from the word “opassum,” the Algonquian term meaning “white animal.” In his notes, the captain wrote: “An Opassom hath an head like a Swine, and a taile like a Rat, and is of the bignes of a Cat. Under her belly she hath a bagge, wherein shee lodgeth, carrieth, and sucketh her young.”
Did I mention that it is nocturnal? Oh, yes, I believe I did. And THAT can be QUITE annoying! Her play time of choice seems to be around 1:30-3:30 a.m. That’s A.M.; like – in the MORNING! THAT 3:30; the one I rarely see! It is then that she becomes quite rambunctious.
Seeming to have staked her claim right above my bed, where the ceiling meets the wall, she can be heard scuttling about, scratching, and, it would seem, chewing on something. I am not sure what it is that she has found to chew on, since the house is constructed almost entirely of metal, including the trusses and the interior wall framing. Wallboard would be about the only thing I could imagine she might find to satisfy her nighttime munchies habit. I shudder to think that she could be dining on wiring as well. UGH
As you can see from the picture, the ceilings are indeed tin and follow the roof line of this barn-style home. The sound of anything walking on the tin is magnified. At least, I HOPE the sound is magnified, as whatever varmint I am hearing sounds fairly large! Well, not BEAR large, but raccoon or opossum large certainly. If the varmint had chosen to hang out just about anywhere else in the house, I would likely have never known. AND I could have gotten some sleep!
I am totally baffled by some of the noises I hear at varmint playtime. It sometimes sounds as though a marble is being tapped against a hardwood floor. And then there are, of course, the aforementioned sounds of scuttling, scratching, and clawing. Lately it even sounds as though something is being dragged across the tin. Desperate to get a full night’s sleep, I have been doing my best to convince the pesky critter to vamoose! I feel sure that it is a viral video waiting to happen.
The ceilings are quite high; around 16 feet in the center of the room. Trying to find something I could use to frighten the intruder away, I finally resorted to using my dust mop. Unlike the old-fashioned dust mops our mothers used, this one has an approximately 8”x14” flat surface with two Velcro strips onto which a microfiber pad adheres. The head swivels and the handle is telescopic. So, I detached the microfiber pad, and extended the handle to its full length. Hmmm. I think this just might work!
Now armed with my newly appropriated Varmint Vamoose-er (patent pending), I marched into the room as if marching into battle, and placed the weapon in the corner by the bed. I almost hoped that she WOULD return tonight. I was ready to try out my new strategy!
And, sure enough, as if on cue, in the middle of the night, I am awakened to the sounds of scuttling and scratching! I leap from my bed and arm myself with the VV (varmint vamooser) which has been strategically stationed in the corner for this very purpose. Extending my arms as high above my 5’8” frame as possible, and standing on tiptoes, I begin banging the flat surface against the outside walls as close to the ceiling as possible. 5’8” frame + tiptoes + arm length+ VV handle length, gets me almost there. So I BANG, BANG, BANG, run a few feet down the wall and repeat; BANG, BANG, BANG! Now it has moved to the opposite wall! BANG, BANG, BANG! A few seconds of precious silence, and then it is back over my bed! In the center of the room where the ceiling is highest, it is necessary to climb atop my very high bed, steady myself with wide stance, and repeat the process there. Bang…bang…bang….bang!!
Now, with the additional height of the bed, I can bang actually ON the ceiling in addition to next to it. So I bang and bang many times along the wall and on the ceiling, as far as I can reach in all directions. Bang, bang, bang, bang!! And with fervor! This critter is NOT welcome here! She will NOT steal my peace and quiet!! She will VAMOOSE!!!!
PHEW! At first, it seemed to work rather well and usually the critter skittered away and did not return for the rest of the night. Ahhhh. Relief. (Or was it that I was just too tired to notice if she returned). In any case… SLEEP!
I had high hopes that the Varmint Vamooser would be effective and that she would determine that it was too much trouble to stay around. Alas, a few nights later, it seemed as though she had either become accustomed to the banging, or had concluded that since no harm follows, who cares. Sometimes I believe it is neither. Sometimes I really believe that she ENJOYS disturbing my sleep and does it for no other reason but that! (okay, perhaps sleep deprivation has taken its toll on my thought processes.)
But really, THIS is personal! I WILL not let it beat me! To tell you the truth, sometimes I would rather just insert earplugs , turn off the light, and go back to sleep, allowing the pest to do what she will, and pretend I just don’t know! But there are two major problems with taking this attitude!
And here’s the part where I tell you why I fear it is a “she.” If you have ever had a problem with mice in your house, you know that they just LOVE to build nests! AND they don’t even have the DECENCY to bring their own building materials with which to build them! Nooooooo! They use YOURS! They tear the insulation from your walls. They chew on any wood in the house, and make mouse holes in your sheetrock. They chew holes in your food supplies. And everywhere they go, they leave nasty behind. And if this varmint is an opossum, as I suspect, what is an opossum but a giant glorified RAT!?! YIKES! Therefore, reason #1 for not throwing in the towel when it comes to the Vamoose the Varmint campaign, is:
This creature squatting on the property above my bedroom is probably NEST BUILDING. YIKES! She is possibly CHEWING on wiring, and TEARING insulation from the walls! Ugh! And, most alarmingly, where there is a nest, there will soon be babies! Take a look at this; a picture of the first minibus.
Oh my! I MUST keep up the fight! If I allow this varmint to stay and bear young, I will have a MUCH bigger problem! Suddenly, I will have possibly a DOZEN unwelcome “visitors” taking up more and more of my space, disturbing more and more of my sleep, with more chewing, more destruction! DISASTER!
And that brings us to reason #2, which is a FAR more URGENT problem than any of the above! Reason # 2, to keep up the fight, fits into the category of –
If, as has been suggested many times through these teachings and posts, anything and everything GOD (YHVH) has created provides a picture of that which is true in the spiritual, are there such things as spiritual varmints? Is this Vamoose the Varmint Campaign an opportunity to learn a much more important spiritual strategy? Let’s investigate.
Do we ever encounter such a thing as spiritual varmints invading our spiritual property? If so, they would meet the following criteria:
These spiritual varmints would have taken up residence in our spiritual space; a place where they do not belong.
They will harass us and steal our peace.
They will love to play in darkness.
They will be nest building and will use materials that belong to us and which are readily available. They may use our tendency towards fear, or arrogance to fashion their nests. If they find greed or lust readily available, this will suit them just fine as well. They may even employ lack of self esteem, self degradation, anger, or spiritual laziness. If they run out of one material, they will likely find many more to use. Most likely they will use more than one building material. They will gather them all together and fashion them into a place suitable to bear young. And, OH, after they bear young! Now they have a dozen more varmints to do their work. And soon, THEY will be nest building as well, and you can see how quickly the problem can explode into disaster!
So, let’s review. Are there spiritual “critters” that move in uninvited and unwelcomed? Do they use our supplies to construct a nest for their young? Do they dig out the building materials of fear, insecurity, rebellion or laziness, and use these components to set up housekeeping? Do they chew away at the strong structure we have built and strip off the protective covering that protects us from the full onslaught of our spiritual Energy Supply? If we allow this process to continue without fighting back and reclaiming what is ours, will there be baby varmints soon? Will they then be able to expand their territory further as they destroy that which we have painstakingly built? Will they divert more of our supplies to be used building still more nests and eventually own more of us than we do? If we allow this attack to continue unchallenged, will we finally succumb due to the disease-causing filthiness left behind by these spiritual varmints?
Then we MUST bang on walls in the middle of the night, even if we would rather turn over and go back to sleep! It is IMPERATIVE that we chase the varmints out again and again until they return no more! And it is essential that we climb on tall ladders and inspect all possible points of entry. We must deny the spiritual varmints access to our lives! It is time to cease being negligent when it comes to protecting our spiritual health! We must replace the torn insulation of fear and insecurity with the strong faith that comes from trusting not in OUR abilities but in HIS! When we hear the varmint chewing away at our Structure, we must return to the Torah and repair and rebuild with HIS building supplies. We will fortify with His Word, and we will seek out and block the entrance points.
And if our spiritual varmint is telling us that we are not good enough, or that God has forgotten us, or never loved us in the first place, it is time to turn on the Light. Most varmints hate Light and will leave in the presence of Truth.
So, when you are in darkness, and being tormented by these “critters,” do not walk, but run and retrieve your weapon! You will not require a dust mop Varmint Vamooser. Instead, reach for the Sword of the Word whenever you sense that something is attempting to take over space that belongs to the LORD (YHVH). Wield your Weapon and deny access to nest building materials. We can each win our battle as long as He is on our side.
Oh, and just in case you think the pictures above are rather cute, take a look at this picture.
Well, last night I slept through the night! It seems she has been gone for a few nights and I pray that this is a permanent situation, although I can tell you that I have had short respites before. If, however, she does return, you can bet that I will be yelling at the ceiling. “You are not welcome here!” “This house belongs to the Most High and you are NOT allowed to do as you please!” I will be banging on walls and on ceilings, and I am determined not to give up until I have found the access point and destroyed it! And as I repeat this process again and again, I will be soul searching. I will be JUST as determined not to allow a nest-building, structure-destroying, spiritual varmint to become comfortable where she does not belong! She will NOT bear her young here! I am NOT willing to lease spiritual space to something that loves to play in darkness!
2 Cor 10
3For though we live in the flesh, we do not wage war according to the flesh. 4The weapons of our warfare are not the weapons of the world. Instead, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5We tear down arguments, and every presumption set up against the knowledge of God; and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 6 And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, as soon as your obedience is complete.
1 Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.[a] 2 I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” 3 Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence.4 He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. 5 You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day,6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday.7 A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.8 You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked. 9 If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,” and you make the Most High your dwelling,10 no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent.11 For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways;12 they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent.14 “Because he[b] loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.15 He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.16 With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.”
(Just an interesting footnote. Did you notice something unexpected in verse 14? He says “Because he loves Me, says the Lord, I will rescue him;” Isn’t that odd? Wouldn’t you have expected to read “Because I love him, says the Lord? But instead, it is because we love Him. How do we know that we love Him? Is it a feeling? Indeed, He provides the answer to this question in Scripture also. Check out John 14:15,21 to see.)
Until next time, keep your Varmint Vamooser at the ready, and remain vigilant always!
Ahhhhhh. Peace and quiet at last!