Lately I’ve been peering down a rabbit hole, catching glimpses of a crazy, mixed-up messed up world that would rival anything Lewis Caroll dreamed up for Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
A few times, I’ve almost tumbled down there myself. I guess I’ve been standing a little too close to the edge.
It started innocently enough.
It’s a new year and I’ve been taking time to think and plan and pray about where I am in my life and where God is leading me and what things stand in the way… what things I want to work on and improve in my heart and in my life. Disciplines I know would serve me well.
Like lots of other women, I know I need to take better care of my physical health… so that I have the energy and strength to be all that God’s called me to be, and do all that God’s called me to do. I need to make healthy choices — eat right, exercise.
And so far, that’s what I’ve been determined to do.
Not perfectly, mind you. But then the goal isn’t perfection, it’s progress. And I’ve been making some.
But here’s where the rabbit hole comes in:
I’ve been reading a lot of articles and posts and blogs on the kind of healthy eating and exercise I’m trying to do. I’ve joined some Facebook groups, signed up for some e-newsletters. Watched some YouTube videos. It’s been really helpful to a point.
And then suddenly it isn’t.
Not just because the sheer volume of information (much of it conflicting) is so overwhelming. But because of how one thing leads to another and then another. I find myself bombarded with dire, desperate, and demanding voices warning me I need to do this and this and this and this and this and this and that and the other — IMMEDIATELY — or else!
You know what the “or else” is?
It’s pretty terrifying:
I will look old and I will die.
Sometimes I actually start to get pulled down the rabbit hole. Being vain as I am, I confess it’s the “looking old” thing that grabs hold of me first.
I discover that if I just moisturize with this lotion or take these supplements or do these little facial exercises, I can get rid of those bags under my eyes or those wrinkles on my forehead. I read the article, watch the video. It leads me to ten or twenty or fifty others. I click on one and then another.
Minutes pass. Sometimes hours. And I realize it could be all-consuming. A full-time job — just to do all the things these other women are doing, and insisting that I should be doing, and offering to show me how.
The health aspect (preventing, treating, curing all kinds of issues or potential issues) starts to grab hold of me, too. As I get older, its grip grows stronger.
I feel torn… part of me hopeless that I can’t possibly do it all, part of me hoping I’ll stumble on some way that I can.
But as I start to contemplate leaping in with both feet, I hear a still small Voice.
Even if you COULD devote your entire life to fighting aging and holding off death, SHOULD you? Is that how I want you to spend all your waking hours? Is that what I gave you this life for?
I know that when I am 85, if I live to be that old, I will not look 25 — or even 45 — no matter what I do now. My body is going to age. And what if it does?
I know that no matter how healthy I eat or how much I exercise, it will not guarantee that I don’t get cancer or one of a host of other diseases. It cannot promise me a long life — let alone an eternal life.
Making wise, God-honoring, healthy choices is one thing. Living in fear of aging and disease and death is another.
That is NOT who I am. It is not how I live.
But it’s easy to forget that. In that upside-down world of the rabbit hole, it’s easy to get caught up in the hysteria. Lose sight of what is real and right and true.
So one of my newest resolutions for 2014 is to take a deep breath, remember who I am — and Whose I am.
And take a few steps back from the rabbit hole.