Have you ever brought your car through an automated car wash? You pull the car into the garage. The garage doors close in front of and behind you. The lights turn on. The enormous spinning brushes start approaching. You hear them whirring outside of your windows as they get closer and closer... then the loud CRASH when they first contact your car. Soap is sprayed on, ... water... bubbles... brushes... noise... chaos...!
Now (humor me,please, in a moment of silliness) and imagine YOU are the car-- can you feel what it might be like, not knowing what is happening, and feeling like you're being drowned, suffocated, pressured, scraped, bristled... with no end in sight?
And yet, when it's done, and the doors open, and you emerge, dripping, shining, and sparkling, that's when you realize, this was totally worth it.
Have you ever felt like YOU were being put through a figurative car wash? Most people can look back on their lives and remember a period of time that felt like that. You watched as the circumstances closed around you, preventing your escape. You had just enough light to perceive that the chaos was approaching, you braced yourself, and CRASH, it came tumbling over you, drowning your life with noise, emotion, turbulence, confusion. Finally, when the season was over, you emerged, a very different person than when you started.
There are seasons in life that are like automatic car washes. Portals into new states of being. Often we can't get to the clean, shiny, sparkling place we want to be without some serious scrubbing. That can be woundful to our pride, but it's true for every single human on earth. Trials can serve to polish us, make us grow up, bring greater wisdom.
Unlike the car, though, which almost always comes out looking better than it did going in, we humans have some control in whether or not these car wash periods of life actually make us better or drown out our confidence in life. We can try to protect ourselves by hiding away parts of ourselves from the power of the scrubbing brushes trying to clean up our lives. We can use escape mechanisms, we can resist the process, we can do all kinds of unhealthy things, and these will hinder the very thing this trial could serve to empower--our growth. If we don't respond in a healthy way, periods of trial can actually destroy our souls, rather than polishing them. It's an ironic truth of life.
"Car wash" seasons in life are often portrayed in dreams as dark tunnels, narrow bridges, giving birth, or doorways. A few nights ago, I even dreamed that I squeezed myself through a mouse-hole in the wall! Have you ever dreamed of narrow portals? How did you handle it in the dream? Do you see how it applied to your waking life?