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.