The other night my husband Michael and I decided to open up a classic book and do some reading together. Now before you go jumping to conclusions about how sophisticated and sharp we are, keep in mind that this is not a typical evening activity for us; we usually watch one of our favorite television shows or play Words With Friends on our phones before heading to sleep. I’m grateful that we decided to switch it up on this particular evening, however-because the content left a deep impression on us both.
We picked a fairytale in George MacDonald’s The Gifts of the Child Christ, and took turns reading out loud. The story is based around a girl named Little Daylight (also the name of a cool band) born to a king and queen. When the princess is just a baby, a bunch of fairies come to her christening to give her blessings and “remarkable gifts.” Trouble quickly assumes the christening when an evil fairy shows up and ruins the party by bestowing upon Little Daylight a gift (or curse) of a type of insomnia. As you can expect, the king was kind of freaking out at this “gift” from the evil fairy, and he started to grieve. The final fairy is able to give a gift with hopes that the curse will one day be lifted, but it has certain limits and sounds a bit complicated. The flustered king asks the final fairy, “I don’t know what that means…” She replies with something profound and it was a single statement that brought Michael and I to a complete pause and state of awe as he read the words aloud…
“Don’t be afraid. The meaning will come with the thing itself,” said she.
What a timely word, for anyone, at any stage in life, I would so boldly claim.
Why is it in life that we always complicate our thoughts with the unknowns? Why is it that we so easily jump to the worst-case-scenario as we analyze our plans and circumstances? Or maybe it’s the best-case-scenario that we jump to. Either way, we are “jumping” ahead to the unknown when we react out of fear or anxiety. I can be the worst at this. My personality type is ENFP, which for me means that I feel deeply, dream wildly, and easily get bored. I like to run at a thousand miles an hour, working on twenty different projects at the same time, all the while always thinking ahead to what my next project will be before I finish the last twenty. This is why I do yoga.
I’m (obviously) all about dreaming and thinking about the future and the unknown. I think it can be very healthy. But when we start to fret and over-analyze like the king was in our story, this is where things can become toxic to our minds.
*And then I must add, in addition to the normal and more typical stresses about the unknowns, that sometimes in life, really hard stuff happens that we cannot even wrap our heads around. We humbly come before God in brokenness and ask him, “why?!” I believe that it’s okay to be honest with God, and to share our thoughts and emotions with him, without a plastic filter. I believe God wants this for us. And yet, in my own personal deepest seasons of suffering, I’ve found that is when I seek him the most and thus, feel most connected to him…(more on suffering in a later post).
Although I’ve only lived a short time, I’ve come to find that things have a way of working themselves out in life. Or, put more poetically as our fairy reminds us, “meaning will come with the thing itself.” I’m not sure where you are at in life, but hearing that, my friends, is a fresh of breath air.
Life is hard. It is messy. But do not be afraid. Love you, friends.
Photo by Robert Hamilton
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27