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Feeding Snakes

Quenching the appetite of degrading thoughts.

Feeding Snakes
  • Author: By Amber Kinneer
  • Credits: Illustration by Juliet Darken
  • Published: January 10, 2011

Learning to fish with a net has never been at the top of my priority list. But I had to learn when the family I live with went on vacation for two weeks and left me manager of the home, mail, trash, dog and brown water snake. Yes, I said brown water snake.

Water snakes eat fish, so either I learned to cast a net or the pet would starve.

Enduring the sweat, mosquitoes and ordeal of fishing one evening, I kept finding my net coming up empty. After 14 or so tries, I finally spotted a glorious silver bream tangled in the white polyester.

With sweat pouring down my face and arms, lake water all over me, I threw the 2-inch-long fish into Mr. Snake’s food bowl. After cleaning up, I went to check on the feeding process and stumbled upon a sad scene: Mr. Snake couldn’t swallow the fish. It was too big. His feeding was deficient.

Homes were not meant to house snakes. Yet the 10-year-old in this house keeps one in a tank, as if it’s normal for a water snake to live there.

Sometimes there are proverbial “snakes” inside of me that don’t belong. They uncoil when I least expect it, in the form of insecurity, self-deprecation or pride. I pretend I’m made of steel when really my confidence can shatter at the drop of the teeniest condescending remark or failed attempt at work, in relationships or in athletics.

Shoving lofty thoughts or self-degrading ideas into my head and digesting them as truth only feeds the snakes’ appetites. When my value is wrongly placed in others or myself, the snakes’ hunger is satiated. I’d rather they starve.

When I place my value in Christ and confess my pride and need for Him, the snakes don’t eat. They die.

Our hearts weren’t made to house snakes any more than our homes were.

Just when I think my days of cast netting are over, the family will leave on vacation again. I must once again trudge out to the dock to feed Mr. Snake. But I’ll be fighting to starve all the snakes waiting for food in this heart of mine.

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