Take for instance, these less obvious but probably more common ways to be swallowed by a whale:
1. Hold a grudge for a few hours after feeling slighted by a loved one.
2. Make a career move despite that pit in your stomach warning you not to. Those feelings are easily written off as “cold feet” when you are emotionally tied to the decision.
3. Here’s a good one: focus on your doubts. That one point of gospel doctrine where your testimony is weak. The role of women in the plan of salvation? Tithing? …?
4. Face disciplining a child with your pride. Go ahead and focus on winning that power struggle instead reproving with love.
5. Or try this combination for imminent whale consumption: Go a week without feasting in the scriptures- maybe just nibble on a quick verse or two before you fall into bed each night. Follow it up with just enough of a prayer to cross it off your daily list of things to do.
For me it’s more about twirling the flaxen cord in my fingers than grabbing on to the chains of hell lock, stock, and barrel.
Overwhelmed Agitated Scared Hurt
Distressed Despair Trapped Offended
Anxious Lost Victimized Unclean
Prideful Despondent Alone Misery
1. Repent: If you’ve taken accountability for your less than favorable circumstances, you’ve already taken the first step of repentance. Completely and honestly finish the process.
2. Feast on the words of Christ: This requires sacrifice and dedication. It requires time. MAKE TIME. A quick nibble- even if daily- will do nothing to help you escape the whale. Period.
3. Pray: During a particularly long and gut-wrenching stay in the belly of a whale, I finally admitted my circumstances. In the busyness of a mother’s day, I locked my bedroom door, and ignoring the knocks and cries of small children from the other side, sought even more solitude in my closet. I closed that door, too. I longed so desperately to be free from the whale and wanted NOTHING to distract me from repairing the relationship with my Heavenly Father.
I wept like a baby. I looked deeply and honestly into my heart, into my every motivation. I asked for forgiveness and counseled with the Lord. It has become a truly sweet and treasured experience. And though my burdens were not immediately removed, I no longer faced them alone.
4. Act: This may include apologizing to your husband or child for acting less than Christ-like. It may include selling your business or breaking off an engagement. It might mean letting your doubts take a back seat to your faith.
Life post-whale is like seeing light for the first time after being held in a very dark place. It’s the first gasp of fresh air when you thought you had breathed your last. It is freedom.
Upon finally finding myself on dry land, it is sometimes easy for me to get down about how I got swallowed in the first place. I lament how LONG I spent in the belly of the whale. But of course all that does is whistle for another whale.
Instead I express gratitude for my Savior. That, though we all spend time in the belly of a whale, we are not destined to remain there. It is through Christ’s Atonement that each of our Jonah experiences can work for our good.