Once upon a time, when this blog was new and I had just finished college, I shared a series of comic strips by the inimitable Wes Molebash. They were part of a comic titled Max Vs. Max: the unexpectedly funny story of a man working through the guilt of his recent divorce. In this series of strips, Max wakes up to find himself in bed with God.
Yup. You read that right.
Max immediately realizes the whole thing is a dream. “I’m dreaming about sleeping in bed with God,” he mumbles, awestruck. “I think… I probably need therapy.” Fortunately, the Almighty doesn’t seem at all bothered. He just wants to chat.
In the kitchen, Max admits to feeling guilty about his divorce, even though God has forgiven him. “I still feel like such a freakin’ failure!” he exclaims. “How do I move past this?!”
God, in his perfect and infinite wisdom, has one suggestion for Max: “Well, my advice is to get a grip and stop whining.”
I remembered these fantastic comic strips a few days ago. (If you have not yet read them, leave this post and check them out. Go on. I’ll wait for you.) God’s advice to Max really stood out to me. As Max struggles with feelings of failure, God suggests letting go of self-pity and moving forward. It’s a simple solution, but not an easy one.
God’s advice for Max is, well, for Max. It doesn’t apply universally to every person and circumstance. In the wrong situation, such blunt words cause more harm than good. I won’t presume to offer anyone this advice, with one exception: I know of one person in the world who definitely needs it.
I, of course, am that person. I occasionally suffer from depression, and it sucks. My future seems a bit scary right now, and my faith is often shakier than I care to admit. I wrestle with doubt and fear and selfishness. I sometimes find myself echoing Max and admitting that I feel like such a freakin’ failure.
When I can’t help echoing Max, I must also echo God—well, God as he is imagined by Mr. Molebash: “Get a grip and stop whining.” Sometimes—not always, but sometimes—it is as simple as that. Self-pity is easy. Courage and humility are hard, but they are also necessary to move forward.
Like Max, I am sometimes my own worst enemy. (Adam Vs. Adam has a nice ring to it, don’t you think?) When I find myself wallowing in regret or self-pity, I must get a grip and stop whining—and keep pressing onward.