No matter how hard we try to avoid them, there are days that we spend in the cave. You know the cave, too. It’s that place that we go when sadness overtakes us, where we go to duck inside of ourselves, unwilling for just a little while to see the light of day.
It’s hard to know what sets us off, but for me, it can be as simple as a memory of a season when my life seemed “whole.” A time before betrayal and brokenness claimed me, spinning me around and around like the “Tilt A Wheel” ride at the carnival.
Dazed, disoriented, and more than a little queasy, that’s what thinking my best days are behind me make me feel like.
I’m off that ride now, for sure, but it still takes a while to get my equilibrium back. I have moments when I am not so steady. I find myself with the sensation that everyone else is doing fine; it’s just me who is having trouble catching my stride.
The truth, of course, is that is a lie. Everyone has their days. Everyone has times when we escape and let our pity have a party. Everyone has a mental list of why things are not going our way. Everyone has a silent dialogue filled with “If only’s.” Everyone.
Though it is normal to have these moments, I find that the best way through them, is to allow myself to be in them for just a bit but to set a timer for how long I am. Once it goes off, I vow to leave the cave. I may, for example, allow myself to dwell here for a night, with the promise that when I awake in the morning, I will start again with a fresh outlook.
To ignore these days, I believe, is not healthy. We can’t possibly not allow ourselves to feel our grieving, to stand in our loss, to feel our hurts and brokenness for just a little while. This is how we process our emotions. This is how we empty ourselves so that we can continue the process of “moving on.”
God knows that these days in the cave are hard. He sees us when we cry in our sadness; He knows when our our hearts ache and when they question if we will ever know joy again.
I wish that I could simply snap my fingers and rid myself - and you - of these moments. But I can’t. All I know is that somehow they serve a purpose to create in us a new vision, a new hope. Even when it feels hopeless.
The very thing that drives us into the cave, is the thing that God is transforming in our lives. If it’s loneliness, betrayal, a breakdown of some sort physically, fiscally, emotionally… God is the torch that leads us out of the darkness.
He is the lifter or our heads. He promises us that joy will return in the morning - even if “morning” is a long time coming. It will come. We will arrive changed, stronger, wiser, restored and blessed.
Gather yourself in the cave and come out fortified, ready to take on the fight that you are in with new resolve that God is leading you to victory.
He is. I promise you.