Playing Doctor (Down the Rabbit Hole)


When I start to go down the rabbit hole into the darkness, what really makes me crazy is my own apparent need to play amateur doctor. I go through this crazy process of navel gazing, where each element, each feeling, each real or imagined failure is put under the microscope of my mind.

My mind does not have very good bedside manners. My mind cuts me no slack, gives me no room for reasonableness. There are no explanations to my mind that really matter. Sometimes I think my mind IS the sickness. My mind IS the Law, always pointing the finger, always accusing, always driving me into the depth of guilt and despair.

  • It doesn’t matter that it’s Lent.
  • It doesn’t matter that my grandmother died two weeks ago and that I missed a week of work.
  • It doesn’t matter that Good Friday is the absolute worst day of the year for me emotionally, as it is the anniversary of my real trip down the road of despair and death four years ago.
  • It doesn’t matter that I have four kids who love me, and who want nothing more than to crawl inside my skin. That level of closeness is occasionally a little hard to take.
  • It doesn’t matter that our school is moving, finances are tough at church and home, and that each bit of that creates one more level of pressure on my already weakened mind.

What my mind tells me is that every single time something doesn’t go right, every single time when I fail to love as I ought or serve as I ought, that every single time I lose my temper or act like a jerk, that this is just one more sign that I am not worthy to be in the Office, or in my marriage, or really on planet earth at all.
And of course, as far as it goes, my mind is right.


My mind forgets the Gospel. My mind forgets that God loves me, that His Son died for me, and that I am baptized. My mind forgets that my identity is not shaped by my failures, or my illness, but by Jesus.

I need to stop listening to my mind and start listening to Jesus. I like His Words a lot better than my own.


6 thoughts on “Playing Doctor (Down the Rabbit Hole)”

  1. I could have written this post, Pastor Peperkorn, except the part about being in The Office. I really hate this illness, but I, too, love the Words of my Savior. Satan surely works overtime during Holy Week. Come quickly, Lord Jesus!

  2. For me, one of the best things to do in a time of distress is to pray the Creed, along with Luther's explanations, which make the Gospel so very personal. Say it out loud, perhaps together with another person. Since it is easy to glaze over when using words that you know by heart, you might try reading a different translation of the text, such as <a href="… version the WELS uses. For example:

    I believe that Jesus Christ, true God, begotten of the Father from eternity, and also true
    man, born of the virgin Mary, is my Lord.

    He has redeemed me, a lost and condemned creature, purchased and won me from all
    sins, from death and from the power of the devil, not with gold or silver, but with his
    holy, precious blood and with his innocent suffering and death.

    All this he did that I should be his own, and live under him in his kingdom, and serve him
    in everlasting righteousness, innocence and blessedness, just as he has risen from death
    and lives and rules eternally.

    This is most certainly true.

    "All this He did that I should be His own." That is what I am focusing on this Holy Week. The Lord's peace be with you, Pastor Peperkorn.

  3. Other than points 2 and 3 (grandma's death, and anniversary of contemplating suicide), my mind is sounding an awful lot like your mind. And why not? No temptation has seized you and me except that which is common to man. But God is faithful. We have a Jesus who does sympathize with our weakness, who is giving you (and me) mercy and grace that is helping in this time of our need.
    God be with you, dear friend.

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