Last week was a bit of a rough week for me. Not that anything particularly hard happened, mind you. On the whole there were no big issues to deal with in terms of, well, life. But internally? There was an undertow of sorts, what Jeff coined a Doom Spiral for those times when I’m overwhelmed/worried/anxious about one thing or several, and soon All The Things – Especially Me – Are Terrible.
I tried to cajole myself out of it, tried to pray, to plug into Scripture, but finally on Saturday I let some of it tumble out to Jeff. “Doom Spiral,” he said. “I know, I’ve been trying to stop it,” I replied with perhaps a slight note of panic. And then I said I just needed a hug, and a hug he gave while I let out some of my sad frustrations. I felt a bit lighter after, free of the downward pull I, until then, couldn’t shake. Not on my own at least. That’s the thing about those types of things – you can’t always pull yourself out of them. You need help.
Sometimes I think I expect my prayers to be like the Fairy Godmother in the Disney version of Cinderella – for there to be a catchy song, a few waves of a wand, and poof! What once had me down-and-out is magically fixed. But that’s not how life works. And besides, the Fairy Godmother’s spell had a time limit even as, in the end, Cinderella’s life took a turn for the better.
God, however, is so much better than a fairy godmother. The work He does in a person, well, it lasts. It goes deep. It goes into – if we’ll let it – the dark, hardened, craggy places and brings light, hope, gentleness … all kinds of good things. But, again – only if we let Him in to do it.
And I was reminded as a new week began I had asked God to root out some things in me. But then when I saw them, rather than allow the work to continue, I resisted the One who could then best help bring light and health and wholeness as He does, in His time, with a firmness mixed with kindness, with much love and mercy and grace. I wanted some ‘bippity-bobbity’ with a bit of fairy dust and a quick solution. I wanted God to give me comfort over better character.
But here’s the thing – I think if I’d fought the correction less, I’d have received comfort a whole lot sooner. God’s not a meanie-head, after all. Thankfully, I let up before the Doom Spiral spiralled too far out of control, and this week has been better. Not that I still don’t have work to do, have work I need to allow God to do. But I’m no longer trying to exchange the hard work of character building for a fairy tale with an expiration date on the comfort it brings.