Those Nasty No See Ums

When April rolls around and days are warmer, they emerge; fleas, flies, ticks, gnats, skeeters, bark scorpions, snakes, and yes No See Ums. Smaller even than most midges, No See Ums are microscopic little blood-sucking biting flies (technically a midge) that pack a mean punch. While only the females bite you, it’s disconcerting when you can feel something land on you, crawl across your skin, but you can’t see them. Next thing you know, you feel a painful bite, which is really an injection, and then you itch like crazy.

Before you know it, little red bumps arise on my calves, ankles, and abdomen and the itching begins. Calamine lotion, rubbing alcohol, and even hydrocortisone offer scant relief. As the adage goes, the best defense is a good offense. Taking a proactive approach to these microscopic buggers by protecting yourself before you encounter them is the best defense. Sadly, No See Ums have never read General George Washington’s military strategies or Coach Vince Lombardi’s missives on football.

When asking my entomologist friend, Mr. David Lavender (I respectfully refer to him as “Bug Man–the caped crusader of creepy crawlies”), he shared some wonderful insights. Mr. David suggested treating my skin before I head out into the fields, pastures, barns, and other moist soils where they seem to congregate will help repel them. “While nothing is foolproof, using a lotion or cream containing DEET will help.”

What I learned from researching No See Ums is that their bite is a harvesting mechanism. When the females bite (no comments please), they inject their saliva under your skin, which causes blood to pool. It is the victim’s blood that females need to produce their eggs. All I know is that their bites are painful, bothersome, and aggravating; especially when they attack my sweet wife.

While treating the effects of these nasty little ankle-biters, I thought about how we experience spiritual No See Ums in our lives every day. We go along thinking everything is okay, and then a friend betrays or belittles us and we become discouraged. Other times we catch a news soundbite spreading falsehoods and fear, and we grow angry. I’ve learned that while we can defend against No See Ums, both the physical and spiritual varieties, we can’t fully defeat them.

How do you combat those No See Ums that attack your spiritual journey? Share on X

As much as we try, we can’t completely rid ourselves of the pesky No See Ums that show up around the ranch in spring and summer. The sin nature we are each born with ensures we will never rid ourselves of the spiritual ones. I understand that even though I am a Christian, I am yet human and will always have that sin nature within me. Many struggles in our Christian lives come from the battle of wills that take place between our human and spiritual sides. In the same way I asked my friend Mr. David for guidance, I did the same thing of our Lord. Father, how do I defend against those spiritual No See Ums that seek to disrupt my journey in faith?

In response to my prayerful plea, God kept taking me to one thought; grow up. What I believe He wanted me to understand is that although I will always battle with my sin nature within while in this world, I’m not a helpless victim. As we grow up or mature our faith, we develop the characteristics of Christ in our lives. These come in the form of the fruit the Holy Spirit instills within us. By maturing these Christ-like character traits, we become better equipped to defend against the spiritual No See Ums that creep into our daily lives.

In reading Galatians 5:19-25, I identified the names of many of those spiritual No See Ums; followed by the tools I need to defend against them. While I need each fruit, I’m finding that in my life the discipline of self-control is my most effective weapon. When I sense an attack by a nasty hoard of No See Ums in my spiritual life, using self-control to stop their progress is my best defense against them. I pray God help equip you to defend against all those nasty spiritual No See Ums Satan sends as he attempts to disrupt your spiritual walk.

God’s blessings,


40 thoughts on “Those Nasty No See Ums”

  1. As always, J.D., wonderful words to meditate on. It reminds me that we are all works in progress and while we can mature in the fruit, we will never fully arrive while on this earth. Not only does it remind me not to be so hard on myself, but also to cut others some slack. We are all doing the best we can with God’s help.

    1. Amen Ms. Ann. We all remain works in progress until that day ma’am; but oh what a joy it is to grow together with other wonderful folks like yourself ma’am. God’s blessings. Sorry I haven’t gotten to everyone’s blogs yet, yours in always on my list ma’am. 🙂

  2. Thanks again, JD for your words of insight and your prayers for spiritual strength. We all need to be a aware of the no see ums in our spiritual life. However, we must maintain our strength while looking for them because I fear they may be similar to this virus going around, the more we test for them, the more we find them in our lives. As you did in closing this article, we all need to pray for strength for each other.

    1. We absolutely must remember to pray for one another Mr. Monty. We can’t make it on our own my friend; and even though God is with His children always, knowing I have friends that I can rely upon to pray for me (just as I do them) is a great comfort sir. Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom my friend.

  3. Yes, all of us struggle with the spiritual no see ums in our lives, but with Christ as our focus and anchor, we can certainly minimize their effects.
    Love the analogy, JD!

    1. Thank you Ms. Martha. It’s great to have you as a subscriber and I truly appreciate your comments ma’am. We like to have a conversation here; so I’m excited to have you join in. God’s blessings ma’am.

  4. J.D., you have the best analogies between the ranch and the spiritual aspects of our lives. I don’t think I was aware of this pesky midge. Sounds horrible to say the least. And I agree, practicing self-control to ward off our spiritual no see ums when they attack is a good remedy.

    1. Why thank you so much Ms. Karen. They are nasty little buggers. I learned from my friend Mr. David Lavender to use a lotion or cream insect repellent with DEET in it; as the oily residue they leave is most effective (better than sprays I’m told). The No See Ums tend to like marshy, damp, swampy areas, which with all the rain we’ve gotten this year explains why they’re so bad.

  5. Always a great analogy to relate our spiritual and physical lives. They enemy loves to blindside us with those no see ums. Yet the Holy Spirit is our weapon. As we cover ourselves in His presence, inside and out.

    1. He sure does Ms. Jeanne. And yes ma’am, the Holy Spirit is our greatest defender isn’t He ma’am. Now if I will only learn to listen to His urgings more often. 🙂 God’s blessings ma’am.

  6. Thank you JD for this wonderful story. I always find myself asking GOD for more help after reading to lead a better life . Many blessings

    1. Aww shucks! Thank you Ms. Joyce. It’s always such a joy to hear from you or your sister Ms. Jan. You both are such blessings in my life. I’m pleased you enjoyed ma’am.

  7. We need to be on alert for the “spiritual no see ums”. They can show up at any time. Today and every day, I am putting on the full armor of God and repelling those things that try to destroy my faith. Thank you for another powerful message. God bless you and your wife.

    1. Anytime, anywhere; that’s for sure Ms. Melissa. I too thank God for giving us the armor we need to withstand the spiritual ones. I must tell you though, one of my “eternal questions” for God will be “Lord, why do we have skeeters, No See Ums and all these other pests?” Am pretty sure he’ll give me a smile and a head nod toward Adam and Eve. 🙂 God’s blessings my friend.

  8. This is so helpful, J.D., particularly in this time as I seem to be battling any number of spiritual “no see ums”. I’m grateful our Father has equipped us with gear far more powerful than DEET-His word. Now, if I can remember to be prepared, stand firm, and grow up as you’ve reminded us then I’ll be able to defend myself against the bite of the enemy.

    Thank you for this encouraging word today.


    1. God’s word makes DEET look like tap water to those spiritual No See Ums Ms. Tammy! Amen ma’am! I too am amazed at how whenever I think I’ve grown enough in my faith to handle things, Satan comes up with a whole new set of attacks that were worse the before. None of us can ever stop growing in our faith can we ma’am? Thank you so much for always adding great value to our conversation.

    1. There are indeed some nasty little pests Ms. Stephanie. Poor Ms. Diane got attacked again yesterday in fact (welts all over her ankles); and that was in the house. I must’ve brought some in with me on my clothes. 🙁 As for the spiritual ones; continuing growth is definitely needed. God’s blessings ma’am.

  9. Those spiritual no see ums are dangerous because they’ve sneaky. Can’t let out guard down! And thankfully we have a helpmate to walk with us on the journey.

    Thanks for another inspiring post.

  10. Kathy Collard Miller

    Very powerful application, J.D. Grow up into Christ! Exactly. There will always be pesky sin patterns but we can guard our hearts against them. Thank you as always!

    1. Thank You Ms. Kathy. We must continue to grow and learn ma’am. I think God encourages this. Why else would it seem He allows us to face more difficult trials it seems with each passing stage of our spiritual maturation? 🙂 God’s blessings sweet friend. Am so enjoying your, and your hubby’s, latest devotional book ma’am.

  11. “Miniscule” sins and sometimes the seemingly “invisible’ ones can sometimes be the most vicious in my life. Thank you for reminding me that I MUST have my guard up against Satan’s temptations – not just those that are glarinly obvious, but those that might not be seen, too! (And, I will share your words with my hubby, too! Thanks so much for including him!)

    1. Tis I that thank your wonderful hubby (Mr. David) Ms. Julie. I appreciate how he’s always so willing to help others learn, both with bugs and in Christ. What a great example for us. And you’re right ma’am; the culmination of all the “little and unseen sins” in our life brings Satan great delight when we ignore or avoid addressing them. It reminds me of the “splinter and the timber” (Matthew 7:1-5). I’ve long-believed that the adage of “death by a thousand cuts” originated with Satan as “spiritual death by a thousand small sins.” What a great point you make ma’am; “Sin is sin!” (James 2:10). God’s blessings ma’am.

  12. JD, Thanks for you lesson on the “No See Ums” in the natural and spiritual world. They both can hurt. The bigger problem s are with the spiritual ones because they can go on to “infect” and “affect” others if not treated properly.
    They make lotions and sprays for the natural ones to protect us. God provide a “balm” for the spiritual ones as well. His has given us All we need that pertains to life and godliness in Christ Jesus.
    His Son!
    His Word!
    His Spirit!
    His promise . . . to never leave us or forsake us.

    We have to choose to don our protective gear to withstand the “No See Ums” of the devil.

  13. I’d never heard of a NoSeeUm until now, J.D., and I hope I never experience one. But I have certainly experienced “NoSeeUms” in the spiritual world and they sure can hurt and can do damage.
    You’re right that we need to mature in faith and grow in Christlikeness in order to avoid them and deal with them when they invade.
    This is such a great analogy. Thanks for another rancher/spiritual lesson!

  14. Jeannie Waters

    What effective analogies you offer, J.D. This statement caught my attention: “By maturing these Christ-like character traits, we become better equipped to defend against the spiritual No See Ums that creep into our daily lives.” I, too, need to hone the muscle of self-control by yielding to the Holy Spirit’s voice and allowing God to develop His fruit in me.

    1. Thank you for your kind words Ms. Jeannie. It’s somehow comforting to know that other Christians struggle in growing and maturing their fruit gifts also. God’s blessings ma’am.

  15. I’ve had the unfortunate opportunity of knowing the bite of those nasty little buggers. I’m so glad that because of Jesus, if we have a relationship with Him, we’re no longer sinners, but saints who sometimes sin! Learning to walk in our identity with Christ isn’t easy, but I’m so glad He helps us fight off those spiritual No See Ums!
    P.S. (As a huge fan and shareholder of the Packers, I appreciated your Coach Vince Lombardi reference!)

    1. Thanks Ms. Josie. Yes ma’am, they pack quite a little punch don’t they. I too am ever-grateful that God provides us with the tools we need to defend against those spiritual ones also. As for being a Packers fan; I knew I liked you young lady! 🙂 God’s blessings sweet girl.

  16. How interesting that I would have encountered the bite of a No See Um this very week returning from a woodsy mountain trip. Not only was it itchy and bothersome but it landed inside my shirt perhaps as I gathered wood for a fire. In conforming to your analogy, I realized that No See Ums can not only be essentially invisible to the eye but they can find their way into hidden places where much damage can be done.

    1. OMGoodness; those little bites sure can hurt can’t they ma’am? Much the same way those little spiritual ones can do extensive damage too if we don’t defend against them. I’m sorry you got got, but I’ll thank God that He helped you to internalize the lesson. 🙂 I find that ChiggerX (a white salve in a red and white bottle) helps relieve the itch best. God’s blessings M. Karen; and thank you for commenting ma’am.

  17. Thanks, J.D. As we grow up, we must take on responsibility for our actions and the choices we make. That’s not always fun or easy. But when we strive to follow Christ and produce the fruit of the Spirit in our lives, we mature into who God has called us to be.

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