Friday, May 14, 2010

Posted by Laurel Garver on Friday, May 14, 2010 19 comments
It's a curious thing how my energy and enthusiasm for just about anything is not consistent. And even more curious is that it surprises me every time I hit low ebb. My low ebb times piss me off a little, frankly. I don't like the procrastinating lump I become who wants to pull into a shell, turtle-like. Doubt and darkness are not fun. They feel like death.

But here's the strange thing--nothing good in my life has happened without being preceded by a low ebb. Ever. The day before my husband proposed, for example, I wrote a close friend that I was losing hope the relationship was going anywhere. (She teases me about this now.)

You see, low ebb times are when real growth actually happens. Life begins in the dark. Tulip bulb awakens under the snow, egg and sperm fuse in the womb's deep, seed sends its first searching roots into the lightless soil. It is a great mystery. Divine.

Low ebbs don't end until I give up and stop fighting them, stop pretending that I am my own god who can make my dreams happen the way I want when I want. When I admit I am inadequate for the task God's given me, he never fails to show up. And some strange, new flower I've never seen before, never anticipated, begins to bloom in the murkiest spot imaginable.

Do you fight the low-ebb times? How might surrendering to doubt be an act of faith? What strange blossoms have grown for you in and through a dark time?

19 comments:

  1. "seed sends its first first searching roots into the lightnes of soil." I love that. I have experienced the lightness of surrendering. Currently I'm asking to see God working in my life, but I'm not seeing what I'm looking for, what I want to see. Your words have hit my heart. Thanks.

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  2. I'm in a low ebb right now as well. I can't seem to push past it. I'm praying for Divine Intervention, we'll see what happens.

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  3. Lynn: I was thinking of this verse from John: "I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds."

    Anne: I know it sounds crazy, but give up fighting the block. That was my point. You can't push past it. God shows up when we let him do his thing--which is always new creation.

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  4. Wonderful post, Laurel! Low ebbs can be such trying times, and I love the way you look at them. There is a lot of wisdom in this post! :-)

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  5. Ah, yes. The low ebb. The dark places. We all have them. We all go through them. For me, I try to grope my way through, so that when I step into the light again, I can learn from the darkness. Then, the next time I'm in the darkness, I try to learn there instead so I don't have to go back so soon. Does that make sense?

    Hope you feel "high"er soon!

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  6. Inspiring post . . . I feel I'm there right now. But if I accept that life's a journey, there's always something to learn. I just need to find it. God is in the details . . . even the ones we, in our ignorance, would sometimes rather do without.

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  7. Great post. I definitely feel it the ebb and flow. I think we need that in life - ups and downs - to really appreciate things and to keep things in perspective.

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  8. Oh yes! I find myself at a low ebb now, and I just hope you are right that this is the ebb before the flow. I do the same thing, beating up on myself for not pulling myself up by the bootstraps and getting all productive. I agree that sometimes we have to give ourselves permission to feel down and dark. Light seems all the more brilliant after that, doesn't it?

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  9. I'm in a low ebb too. Have been for the past few weeks. I thought signing with an agent would be this HIGH--and it was. But then it brought on all this self doubt of "am I really good enough?" "can I do another project that doesn't suck?" "will my project sell?" etc. Just have to muddle through I guess. Day by day. Friends and family help. And knowing that I'm not alone. So thank you for this post! :)

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  10. It's true. I think low ebbs bring us to a place of surrender, and that's why so many good things happen after we spend some time there.

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  11. Shannon: I don't know how folks without faith muddle through, honestly. Knowing there's a redemptive purpose to such times helps so much.

    Elena: Makes sense for sure. I see it as a sign I'm turning a corner that I was even able to write this post. I'd lost interest in the blogosphere, too. :-(

    Janet: It's in the hard times that we grow most. Knowing that gives hope in the dark places.

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  12. Talli: I'd never thought of it quite that way, but definitely comfortable sameness would be awful, wouldn't it?

    Jenna: weirdly, I've found that the least productive thing in low ebb times is trying to force productivity. Taking a break and shifting gears makes the flow sooner than pushing does.

    Shannon: I've often wondered about that--whether it's incredibly hard after hitting that first milestone. Glad you found my thoughts encouraging.

    Elle: I've missed you, my friend. I agree completely. Learning surrender is one of the hardest things ever and seems backwards, but good things always come from it.

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  13. This seems to be a theme for writers. Are we perhaps more sensitive to ebb and flow? I know that I find it reassuring to know I'm not alone in facing the dark times, the doubt. Each of us has a spark of life, of light that can shine. That's how we get through the dark, I think.

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  14. The ebb and flow seem so consistent in writers. I guess it happens, when crafting something out there for the world to comment upon.
    But you need the lows to appreciate the highs, right?

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  15. sweet, wonderful post. Thanks for the reminder

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  16. I've been too doggone busy to even think about whether I'm in an ebb time. Right now I'm tired and feeling ebbish, but it could be the fact that I've spent 9 months without a full night's sleep.... *sigh*

    It'll be awfully fun to see what happens when your energy returns, Laurel. I'm looking forward to that!

    In the meantime, I prescribe some R&R, and perhaps some Honey Brown Ale.

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  17. Wow! Great post. I know exactly how that feels, and I love the thought that the ebb is necessary for growth. Thank you. I needed to hear that, and I think you're right.
    For some reason this post had me thinking about both Creation 1, and John 1, where God's light overcomes the darkness. Sometimes I think we have let ourselves sit in the dark a moment to appreciate God's amazing light in our lives. It's like watching the sunrise, or looking up at the stars.

    Of course, sometimes I just try to force myself through those ebbs with extra tea and chocolate . . . and sometimes it works, and sometimes not so much.

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  18. Tricia: Perhaps we are more sensitive, though I suspect the ebb and flow are just a normal part of creativity, as it seems to touch all of us.

    Lydia: I think it is a fairly normal cycle, though few like to admit it.

    Kristi: Hope it encouraged you.

    Simon: Indeed, R&R is in order--April's pace was pretty draining. The last thing I want to do is rush too much with revising the back end and make it worse instead of better.

    Tyrean: Another metaphor coming to mind is sleep. When we surrender to it, we wake refreshed.

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  19. This was a great post Laurel! Thanks for sharing. I find that when my life is at low ebb, that is when God is asking me, "Do you trust me?" It is only when I surrender to Him, time and time again, that my life/feelings/emotions start to turn positive again. I also find that when I'm in the valley is where the lesson is learned, whatever that may be.
    This was a great encouragement! Thanks

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