I find that I’m in the same situation once again, and it depresses me. That’s right, once again I feel attacked by an anxious feeling of “How are we going to make it this month? How are we going to pay for the basics: rent, food, utilities, tuition?” I don’t know . . . maybe now ourLike so many people I know, we’re struggling financial situation really is worse. Or it’s the same, but there are more expenses? We’re so careful, and we try so hard, and like so many people I know we’re struggling. Really struggling. But that’s not even what makes me feel so low, and that’s actually not what I’m talking about when I say that I’m in the same situation, when I say that I feel like I’m under attack, under siege.

The same situation is a cycle of worry and fear that seems endless. I tell myself, “Elana, come on! Again, with the insecurities? The doubts? Where’s your faith? How many times does G‑d have to prove to you over and over again how much He takes care of you and loves you? How many women do you talk to about faith and growth and healing? Where’s your faith and growth and healing?” And then what comes next as part of this cycle? Guilt. That’s right, complete and totally unproductive guilt.

I’m bombarded. I feel like I’m under attack. There’s worry on one side. Fear and anxiety on another, mixed with guilt.

And it’s not just in this area. It’s sometimes in others.

I make a mistake with my children. “Again, Elana? Again, you got frustrated and angry? Can’t you just be more patient?”

Maybe I said the wrong thing at the wrong time, and I did it once again. Maybe I was too quick to judge or too quick to feel hurt.

And what goes on inside my brain? I feel terrible. Which can be good if it motivates you to change. But if the feelings are continuous guilt, worry, anxiety . . . I don’t know about you, but for me, it causes me to freeze. It makes me feel like I’m stuck in quicksand. Is this really what G‑d wants from me? No, of course not.

So, what does He want?

He wants me to call out to Him and ask Him for help. He wants me to understand that I’m not perfect; He is. My job isn’t to be perfect, but it is to keep walking. To walk?

For years, G‑d sent Israel prophets to warn Israel about the impending destruction of Jerusalem and the Holy Temple, and to encourage them to mend their ways. Very few listened. Same behaviors, same patterns. No change.

Then what happened? On the 10th day of the Jewish month of Tevet, in the year 3336 from Creation (425 BCE), He allowed the armies of the Babylonian emperor, Nebuchadnezzar, to lay siege to Jerusalem. That’s right. Jerusalem was surrounded. Nothing in, nothing out. For two-and-a-half years, 30 months! Jerusalem held out. G‑d sent his faithful prophet Jeremiah during the siege to continue to call out to Israel to change. But Jerusalem was surrounded. Not only by the Babylonian army, but by their own thoughts, “I am who I am. I’m not going to change.” The army didn’t budge, but neither did they.

It started with a siege and ended in destruction.

So what does He want? What is He waiting for? When will the Redemption come?

The prophet tells us, “If you go in My ways and keep My charge I will make you walkers among these standing ones” (Zechariah 3:7). The commentators explain that the “standing ones” is in reference to angels (Rashi, Metzudat David).

I haveWe’re not supposed to be angels been taught by my mentors and teachers that we’re not supposed to be angels. We walk, sometimes forward, sometimes backwards. We fall, we make mistakes, we make bad choices. We don’t do anything wrong, but we worry, we’re afraid, we’re anxious—and that in itself holds us prisoner and holds us back. What’s our mission? To be an angel who stands? Not at all. Our mission is to move forward, even with the falling, to ask G‑d for help and to walk.

I read this beautiful line of the prophet and felt so much relief. I’m not supposed to be perfect! It’s OK if I make mistakes, or have doubts or worries! What do I have to do? I call out to G‑d for strength, and I ask Him to help me. I might have these challenges my entire life, and that’s OK as long as I’m trying and moving, as long as I’m growing and walking. As long as I believe and know that He’ll help me.

And then what? There is hope. There is change. There is the lightness of Redemption in the darkness.