on mice and oreos and conquering our fears

About a year ago, I bought this box of totally fantastic, golden-with-chocolate-cream Oreo cookies. Psyched doesn’t even begin to describe it. And since my go-to is baking cookies, buying them isn’t part of the normal routine.

Not dramatically so, but a little outside my usual. A little outside my comfort zone.

We’d lived in our apartment for just over a month, and I had yet to fill all of the kitchen’s cabinets and nooks. So I slid the Oreos in an empty drawer. Planning to eat them tomorrow, the drawer seemed like a safe place.

The next afternoon, Mr. S. called me to it. “Sarah,” he said, “how did you open these Oreos?”

Defiant, I rushed over. No, husband, I did not open them. We’re saving them! Special snack! With TV! Remember?

And that was when I saw it: nibbles. In. The. Packaging.

Mice, Mr. S. said.

Mice! The nerve! Eat something else, whatever, but Oreos? My sweet Oreos? No way, Mice. No way. Half creeped out and half angry, I bid the Oreos adieu. Into the trash they went.

Long story short, we bought a mouse trap, Mr. S. set it up and he won the battle. The mice have made no attempts at returning.


I’ve still been afraid. So afraid, in fact, that it’s been over a year since I’ve touched Oreos.

Fear: it’s a powerful emotion. One bad experience and bam, fear makes its homes in our hearts. Uninvited, a rude and awful houseguest. Fear stops us from walking forward, running forward, dancing forward, leaping forward. Fear cripples. Fear crushes.

Fear stops us from much more than simply buying Oreos. Fear stops us from seizing our potential.

A simple tweet caught my eye yesterday: it was the Oreo cookie’s 100th birthday. Inspired by this monumental event, I bought a package. Not double-stuf, not vanilla-chocolate combo or whatever. Just standard Oreos. Seemed safer.

One year. I’d let one mouse rob me of one year of them. For a year, I’d let the mouse win. Funniest of all? He’s dead. He’s been dead for a year and I still let the little guy haunt me. Ridiculous, I know.

But how often do we let fear rob us? How often do we let our fears haunt us? How often do we let fear get in our way? How often do we surrender our lives to these fears, dead or alive? How often do we idolize fear and put it on the throne?

Mr. S. and I shared Oreos last night. With milk, obviously. They were amazing and delicious. Just like I anticipated, just like I remembered. Those crunchy chocolate cookies paired with that white don’t-even-want-to-know-what’s-in-it filling . . . I had forgotten how much I liked them.

As of this morning, no mouse has dared go near these sweet Oreos. Sweet victory.

In a bigger-than-mice, bigger-than-Oreos way, how often do we let that fear stop us? How often do we let that fear stop us from doing what is good? What is meaningful? What is right? What is a blessing? What is scary? What is daring?

One mouse – one bad experience – ought not to stop us from doing what we are meant to do. Fear comes from so many directions. Maybe fear comes from a sideways glance, or a sarcastic word. Maybe fear comes from an ally turned enemy, or a success turned failure. Maybe fear comes from a rejection or a promise broken.

Everything in life is a risk. To not take that risk is to let the mice win. To not take that risk is to let the fear win. To not take that risk is to ignore glory and grace.

So go. Do the big thing and stand up straight and plow past the fear. Run past the fear. Look not at the fear, but above it and past it. Stand strong and shine bright.

Mice are always going to try to get into your Oreos. But that doesn’t mean we don’t deserve the cookies. 

Linking up again this week with Soli Deo Gloria Sisterhood and Life: Unmasked with Joy in this Journey.


(Photo credit: my oreos, taken with my iPhone.)


6 thoughts on “on mice and oreos and conquering our fears

  1. I like how you used your Oreo-mice experience to discuss fear. We must be on the same page because I sort of blogged about that today! Great post. Stopping by from Finding heaven.

  2. Mice creep me out. I totally understand why they would haunt you for a year.

    I wonder if what creeps me out about mice is similar to what creeps me out about life: fear of the unknown. A mice in a cage isn’t what brings me fear. What brings me fear is not knowing if I will open a cupboard door and find a mouse inside.

    So often what keeps me from taking risks is not knowing how they will turn out. What if I put out my creativity and it’s not thought of as being good? What if no one reads? Or worse, what if people do read, and criticize? Unknowns make me project negative possibilities into the future.

    “One mouse – one bad experience – ought not to stop us from doing what we are meant to do.” Thank you for the encouragement.

  3. oh sarah, where do i even begin? . . . there was much i could relate to in this, SO much. i mean, you had me at “that was when I saw it: nibbles. In. The. Packaging.”

    you see, i have my own mouse story. a story about a tiny family that made its residence in. my. CAR!! mhmm, talk about being forced to face a fear head on . . . it was terrible {& still skeeves me out to this day!}. visions of one of those invaders crawling UP my leg smack dab in the middle of a 65mph highway haunted me something awful. (*shudder*)

    BUT. those mice had to pass through God’s hands before they ever entered my car. and while i would never {EVER!} choose to go through that again, i learned that like everything else in life, that grueling, fear-ridden, {did i mention skeevy??} experience was an opportunity to run to the cross. NOT out of my car . . . but to the cross. IN my car. the space in which i didn’t what was coming next. and to trust Him in that. in the fear. and in the unknown. and yes, even in the completely skeevy of it.

    fear is often a big pain point of mine that spans far beyond a few mice, so thx so much for sharing,

  4. Funny… I just bought store-bought cookies today for the first time in several years. (I almost went for the Oreos… but forced myself to opt for the Snack Wells cookies.)

    It is amazing to me how a something tiny (like a mouse) can impact our whole beings. Those little, annoying thoughts of fear, starting with “what if…” Like that pesky mouse, the thoughts nibble, the whole growing bigger. Soon, if we don’t turn our eyes back to God, the fear consumes us– we have to trash our metaphorical Oreos and start completely over.

    The best part about your story? There are more Oreos– and a God willing to give us a fresh supply whenever we turn back to Him.

    So, dear Sarah, all I have to say about your post is AMEN… And om nom nom 🙂 Blessings!

  5. Mice… one of my biggest fears along with doing something totally unfamiliar to me. Lately I’ve been pondering this a lot because I’ve realized how much I let fear paralyze me and hinder my God-given dreams! I’ve recognized that I stay away from the unfamiliar because I’m afraid of being inadequate. A failure. Yet I fail when I I sit there and let blessings pass me by because I’m stricken with fear. I’ve resolved to press on and confront fear because God has not given me a spirit of timidity! Thank you for this great post!
    I’ll never read the book, If You Give A Mouse A Cookie, the same way again!

  6. Pingback: a bat was in our bathroom (notes on a move, again) | inspiration-driven life

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