Last week, I was struggling with what a friend of mine calls a “doom loop.” For the uninitiated (lucky you), a doom loop is fear gone wild, usually prompted by a minor setback combined with sheer exhaustion, and looks like this: Through very imaginative yet destructive trains of thought, you convince yourself that your decision to go against the norm and follow your own desires (e.g., be an artist, go back to school, stand up to your boss) was a foolish, disastrous mistake and you will now be left alone and penniless. Serves you right.
Even though I left the corporate world to become an artist nearly 20 years ago, doubt and fear can still paralyze me. When that happens, I try to remember my faith and pray for encouragement. The encouragement always comes.
This time, the encouragement came from author Martha Beck and her book Expecting Adam. Published in 1999 (I’m a little behind in my reading), the book is about the profound effect having a Down’s Syndrome child had on Beck’s life. Telling her story, she masterfully addresses faith, fear, and the challenge of saying no to what other people think you “should” do.
In one passage, she talks about her son, Adam, and his approach to life:
“Power, wealth, prestige and influence are not his primary concerns. I always coveted these things because I was under the illusion they would bring me happiness; Adam goes for the happiness itself, and damn the detours. I’ve occasionally tried living this way since Adam came along, discarding social conformity and pursuing my heart’s desires. It is as scary as the most extreme of extreme sports, but even more exhilarating.”
Beck’s words provide inspiration to tackle doom loops and work through fear. Find more books that inspire here.