And so, it happened.
I kinda had my first “moment.” You know, that moment when the weight of everything finally catches up to you, and you realize you’ve been bearing a pretty heavy load—your back is achy and you just need to set it down and rest.
I’ve never been a big fan of the phrase, “God won’t give you more than you can handle.” I very well believe He can give you more than you can handle…and He will. Why? Well, because you’re not meant to handle it in the first place. Not by yourself, anyway. You need Him and you need people. We’re not designed to do this thing…life…alone. It’s way too hard. I mean, c’mon, Jesus Himself, never did it alone. He constantly asked for the Father’s help, as well as walked closely with his disciples every day.
For the past couple of weeks that I’ve been in New Orleans, I have been running around, exploring, practicing self-disciplines in studying, praying and exercising, intentionally maintaining my relationships back at home while working towards establishing new ones here, reading difficult texts, and somehow trying to fit-in an adequate sleep schedule.
My life has felt chaotic, to say the least. Which is quite interesting, because I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s crazy…but it certainly feels that way.
Have you every felt overwhelmed, but knew that most of the “overwhelmedness” was in your mind?
Yep. The mind is a scary place. If we let it run wild, it can ultimately destroy us. I felt the weight of this truth during my third week here in New Orleans, specifically through an unfortunate circumstance.
On Monday, August 24th, 2015, a beloved professor, father, husband and friend on campus, lost a battle that he had been waging all by himself. I didn’t know the professor, but since being here, I have heard countless testimonies of people who expressed what an incredible man he was. A few days following his death, I learned that this seminary professor had taken his own life after years of fighting depression and addiction. When I heard the words, “he took his own life” I was immediately frozen. My instant thought was “how?”
Finding out that a devoted, respected, and faithfully involved man of God would reach a moment of such deep despair, really rocked my faith to the core. In my ignorance, I couldn’t believe this would happen to someone with as much knowledge and status as him, who outwardly exhibited fruits (according to those who knew him) of loving God and loving His Word.
The more beautiful testimonies I heard about this man’s faith, the more questions paraded my mind. After hearing the news, I came home, opened my Bible and began searching for answers. I read, studied and prayed my way to try and understand how it could happen. It wasn’t long before God, through His word quickly reminded me of Peter’s words in his first letter,
“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”
For the sake of this post (and maybe some personal interest) I decided to do some slight research on lions and their hunting patterns. I read that while on the hunt, lions are most successful when they are unseen by their prey, and when their prey is left alone…vulnerable and separate from their herd.
Like the bewildered prey, we too are most vulnerable on this spiritual battleground when in isolation, or when temptations seem to sneak up on us out of nowhere.
This week, I’ve learned that pain is real. Brokenness is real. The mental warzone is real. Death is real. But you know what else is real? The fact that we have a spiritual enemy that wants to destroy us. And what means does he use? At times he uses our own selves—our minds. We believe the lies that he whispers. We bear the weight of our doubts, our insecurities and our struggles all on our own.
And struggles are precisely what each one of us has in common. Whether it’s—like the beloved professor—warring with things like depression and addiction. Or things like insecurities, pride, anger, or bitterness. They are real, and they happen to each and every one of us. One of the gravest mistakes we can make is believing the lie that we are the only one. We believe the lie that we can’t share our pain, our frustrations. We become like that isolated antelope, too caught up in our own thoughts to realize that the lion is crouching behind the bush, waiting for that moment to attack.
Dear friends, be reminded today of how much we need each other. This life isn’t meant to be lived alone. Confess your failures, share your burdens, and be diligent in walking vulnerably alongside the people that were specifically placed in your path.