“Ewwww! Ahhhh! Is that a tick on my neck?” “Hold still. Yes, it is and it has already latched on” I replied. We had been hiking through the arid grasslands and pine forest in the Okanagan where warm spring temperatures harbour ideal conditions for ticks. These tiny blood-sucking arachnids range in size from a sesame seed to a watermelon seed in size depending on the species. Animal blood is their only food source. Waiting on foliage close to the ground they grasp the legs of creatures walking by and crawl up till they find a preferred spot, where the skin is thinner, usually around the belly, neckline or limb joints. The tick then cuts a hole into the surface of the skin and inserts a barbed harpoon mouth part called a hypostome. All this usually goes unnoticed by the host due to anti-inflammatory proteins in tick saliva. They remain attached for days until their flat bodies are plump and round, engorged with blood. While a tick bite itself may be relatively harmless, ticks carry pathogens that infect their victims with debilitating diseases which include paralysis or chronic pain.
Fortunately, we spotted and removed this tick before any risk of infection could occur (a period over 12 hours). But it got me thinking about the metaphorical ticks in my life. Intrusions so subtle and without irritation, they can be easily ignored for a time. However, their tolerated presence eventually leads to suffering and paralysis. What are some things sucking your time and energy that are compromising your physical, mental, spiritual, relational or financial health? Unresolved stressors that feed frustration and weariness. Maybe you haven’t seen devastating impacts but you know certain parasites are inhibiting your growth. The good news is we have a friend and Saviour in Jesus who heals both physical and spiritual paralysis. He can free us from soul-sucking sin. Scripture offers guidance that protects and shields us and keeps our worth and purpose in focus. “Dear friends build yourselves up on the foundation of faith, pray in the Holy Spirit, and keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously and looking forward to the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ which brings eternal life” (Jude 20-21).