My family of seven lives in a small house, which gets messy fast. Especially when the chickens decide it is their house too.

On a recent morning I’d spent a couple of hours tidying up while my husband, Dana, and older kids were at work and school. I had just finished reading to our younger boys. Everything was beginning to look the way I like – neat and tidy – when I had the brilliant idea to paint the shutters that Dana had built for my birthday.

So there I was, happily painting outside when my 6-year-old son, Asher, tore up the dirt driveway yelling, “The chickens are in the house.”

“What do you mean, the chickens are in the house?” I asked.

“The chickens are in the house,” he repeated, as if there could be any mistake.

I stomped across the lawn, up the front stairs, and through the door to find several hens clucking across the dining room table, scattering my carefully organized papers. Two more perched on the windowsill, pecking my African violet and Christmas cactus. Bird droppings littered the floor and hallway. And there, behind them, the backdoor stood wide open.

“Who left the door open?” I hollered at Asher, who had followed me inside. “Get the chickens!”

But as soon as Asher tried to catch one, it flew at the closed window, squawking and sending feathers flying. The other birds panicked, fluttering past the open door into the living room, dodging every attempt to catch them. That’s when I completely lost it, shrieking at the chickens.

Asher and I eventually caught the birds and I apologized for yelling. But as I stood there, inwardly fuming the chaos caused by an open door and a few opportunist chickens, I felt the Holy Spirit whisper, “See what happens when you leave a door open?”

The Bible has a lot to say about doors — praying over our doorways for protection; inscribing Scripture upon the entrances of our homes as a reminder to follow God’s laws; and about the shepherd, Christ, who himself is the door, both of protection and of salvation, which you can read more about in John 10:7.

God has given spiritual authority to those who walk in his power to exercise command over the doorways of their homes – physically and spiritually. But we also have an enemy, an opportunist if ever there was one, who seeks to fill our lives with chaos. That day with the chickens had been a rough week for my family. I realized that had become spiritually lax in praying for God’s protection over my home.

“Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven,” Christ says in Matthew 18:18.

Facing difficulties this week? It’s time to decide who your spiritual house belongs to. Ask God to show you doorways that have been left unguarded through personal oversight, pursuing unhealthy activities, or by being spiritually idle. Then pray with faith, boldly asking for God’s help. Or ask someone to pray with you. Then kick the chaos out.

Meadow Rue Merrill writes and reflects on God’s presence in her everyday life from a little house in the big woods of midcoast Maine. Her memoir, “Redeeming Ruth,” releases in May 2017.