If you are in my age group, you will recall the original Disney animated musical classic of Alice in Wonderland. If you’re younger, you will have to play catch up on the plot. The Lewis Carroll storybook version has been updated to a more modern-day fantasy, but the plotline remains the same.
This young girl follows a white rabbit down a hole and ends up in a strange world with the Queen of Hearts, her army of playing cards, and a host of other odd characters: The Mad Hatter, the Cheshire Cat, Tweedledee and Tweedledum, and lots more. In this story, the young girl experiences not only wonder but fear and danger, since the Mad Queen (of Hearts) always wants to “chop off her head.” She survives all of her experiences and finally realizes it was all a dream.
Sometimes we fall into the hole of darkness where there is no intriguing fantasy, only confusing wilderness. Eventually, it becomes our retreat, and we return to the hole many times over, falling time and time again. We may feel trapped as we experience fear, doubt, loneliness, and hopelessness. Certain events may energize the retreat. They can be physical, such as lack of sleep or rest and chemical or hormonal imbalances. Then, there are the ever-popular psychological aspects (emotional turmoil, worry). Even weather can become an emotional saboteur.
The retreat also may be triggered by something spiritual. For example, rejection and unappreciation of God’s physical design (you), or unforgiveness of self or others. Whatever the reason(s), there is no fanciful tea party connection with a rabbit in a waistcoat.
The good news? There is a way to fill up the hole so you won’t have to keep a standing appointment and fall into it again. Like all holes, and depending upon its size, one leading to an emotional downturn may take some time to fill, but it can be done.
The key character in the Alice story is the Queen of Hearts, who is fiercely determined to destroy Alice. Like a repetitious recording, she keeps shouting, “Off with her head!” Metaphorically speaking, in real life, our human soul/heart can be led into that same destructive role.
There are certain commonalities we have allowed to penetrate our minds and affect the components of a healthy soul/heart. Among those commonalities are movies and television programs with dark themes, news reports, certain types of music, horoscopes, tarot cards, alcohol and drugs, sexual soul ties, unforgiveness, specific familial and personal involvements, and a variety of religious philosophies. Even professional secular counseling or therapy, if given an opening, over time, will take up residence in our hearts. Any of these fixes is a counterfeit to God’s plans leading to truth and genuine love.
I have read and heard about people pursuing the goal of happiness. Interestingly, happiness is a very shaky platform substantiated by its very definition, which tells us it is a ” state of well-being,” “a pleasurable or satisfying experience,” “bliss,” “warm fuzzies,” and so forth.
On the other hand, there is joy, one of the gifts the Divine shared with mankind reflecting His Nature. Its meaning includes “bright,” ”shine,” “outwardly expressing itself in singing or dancing,” “a sense of security.” There is no pressure for me to pursue joy because I already have it. It may be sleeping, waiting to be released, but it is still within me.
So, how can we release this joy and fill up this dark hole that waits to trap us? There are a few easy and immediate steps we can take designed for us by God. Keep in mind, the companions to each of these steps are commitment and patience.
1. Reduce your focus on your feelings/emotions. They are like the Cheshire
Cat in the Alice movie fading in and out with different intensities. They can
become like comfort food. (Isaiah 44:9)
2. Avoid comparisons of physical, mental, and family characteristics. Side-by-side
views of social heritage may suggest that “Others have much more than I do
which gives them greater advantages.” This becomes a kind of Goliath and
creates one of the biggest origins of inferiority. Seriously speaking, a large
percentage of us missed out on silver spoon benefits. (Romans 9:20-21;
Jeremiah 18:4, 6)
3. I have heard it said, “Life is a journey, not a destination.” Like a piece of clay
on the potter’s wheel, you are still being molded and shaped. (Psalm 139:14;
4. Make a checklist of issues that drive your conscience and then self-correct where
necessary. When the list is clear, you will find it easier to forgive yourself and
others. Don’t let people, circumstances, or events define who you are. (Romans
Fill up your rabbit hole. It serves no purpose, except to collect mud when it rains! David released his joy and danced half-clad and without shame in front of dozens of women when he returned the Ark of the Covenant to his City. That is a serious expression of Godly joy! I can hardly wait to hear about yours.
As we enjoy the fall season, it brings with it the opportunity to partake of many seasonal fruits and vegetables, such as apples, pears, greens (mustard, turnip, collard), winter squash, and some of our spices, like fennel. Others, for example, broccoli and Brussels sprouts, may not bring so much glee. The Thanksgiving Day table, for many of us, can hold an array of vegetable dishes that resemble a fairytale food fantasy of eating.
Several of these vegetables began as seeds planted in the ground. A seed is one of the most amazing items in the basket of creation. It is made up of several parts, which include the storage of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins to support the embryo as it starts to grow. One noteworthy component is its protective seed coat. Like a loyal, well-prepared sentry, it is strong enough to provide protection against unwanted parasites and unhealthy environmental conditions. One of its most critical functions is preventing excessive loss of water from within the seed. Given the right conditions, the average seeds will thrive and bring forth a plentiful and healthy harvest.
Not surprising, the metaphorical expression of “sowing and reaping” illustrates perfectly what results when seeds are planted/sown (action), and gathered/reaped in the harvest (consequences). This is a universal concept, not unique to any one group or person. Labels like conservative, liberal, politician, judge, “religious,” or not, atheist, agnostic, Christian, or non-Christian do not matter. Both words (sowing and reaping) operate in the same harmony as planting a seed and can be applied to anyone. Sometimes, there may even be an “I told you so” ending.
Recently, I watched a popular television program where one of the main characters tried to correct what he thought was his “karma” for taking a lottery ticket that did not belong to him. He experienced many negative situations, including the death of his fiancée. In the end, he seemed to get the results he was seeking, but not without some pretty colossal consequences.
Despite its generally recognized Biblical origins, the sowing and reaping expression is used by politicians, musicians, self-help teachers, life coaches, motivational speakers, businesses, advertising agencies, charitable organizations, political candidates, and the list goes on.
There are a couple of undeniable truths that apply to the sowing and reaping principle.
First, evidence of the good seed that has been cared for and placed in the best possible planting surroundings for healthy growth is shown by its harvest. Like a seed in a garden, words and actions also are seeds filled with power to bring forth (or reap) a positive or a negative harvest. Words and/or actions can damage the character of another, de-value another, and even cause the death of another. If I plant negative seeds, my harvest will eventually bring forth a negative crop. Some seeds take many months to develop a root system and years to yield their produce. Rarely will I see my harvest spring up overnight. In the end, when it finally appears, it may not be the one I expected.
Second, what I plant is what I get. If I plant carrot seeds, what type of vegetable will I get? Certainly not peas. If I plant pumpkins, my harvest will be pumpkins, not lettuce. This applies to life harvests. If I plant false information, someone is bound to find out the truth and trace it back to me. If I plant seeds to support and assist others, these same things will be there for me when I need them. If I plant seeds of love, my harvest will bring forth love. In fact, a person’s harvest will tell its own story.
Sowers Yielding Harvests:
Here are some sayings I have heard regarding sowing and reaping:
I hope you will join me in reflecting on some of the seeds we have sown, and check to see if they have been planted under the right conditions, guaranteeing a Divine harvest of love.