Something that has been weighing me down, a mental burden if you will, is my path in life. I know what I’m passionate about and I thought I knew how I was going to pursue that passion but lately those around me have been questioning my decisions. While this is no surprise to me, since my family has always treated me as the loner and soot-colored sheep I tend to be, but it does not help the confidence when you feel so strongly about something only to have those you trust the most question it the hardest. So where to now?
I’m reminded (thanks to Pastor Scott during his sermon this morning) of a scene from Saving Private Ryan. As the Allied troops are storming the beaches of Normandy, a small group of soldiers gather. The officer in charge, surveying the battlefield, turns to his men and tells them one simple thing: “We gotta move on.” He then explains why: “If we stay here we got no chance, but if we press forward at least we might make it.” This is exactly how I feel right now. As if I’m bunkered down under fire from all sides, and my only hope is to press on. But I’m without direction, having lost my compass in the waters of doubt and well-meaning. Do I charge the source of my problems? Do I seek a stealthier route? Or do I lie down and take my just reward?
Honestly, there are many things I’d rather just roll over than push through. While I am confident in my own abilities, seeing the doubts in the eyes of those around me weighs me down more and more. While I don’t show it, your opinion does matter. It matters because I thrive off your compliments, I live for your praise, and I seek your attention. Yet oft all I get is silence. Even the rocks refuse me solace. The wind carries no whisper tonight, and the spirit, while calm, holds no perfect wisdom. I am a perfect picture on a wall; immovable, unchanging, unimpressed.
I do take comfort in the warmth of a friend’s heart. It becomes easier to feel love outside that which I become accustom to, a place I continue to explore with each new morning. The introvert in me desires closeness, a bond, and when such is found it latches on. These bonds keep me sane, for without friends to provide escape, my crazy, unpredictable, detestable self would commit the vilest of personal sins: self-loathing. Yet who am I to loath that which Christ made perfect?
It is the very temptation of Satan to make us complacent to the point of self-disgust. History has shown Christianity is stronger against persecution and threats, for when one man dies a dozen more find renewed faith through his sacrifice. Yet Satan found another means of controlling the weak believers, the errant sheep; through comfort. Hebrews 10 seeks to remind us of the purpose of Christ’s sacrifice and warns of the grave danger that exists in staying put. Becoming comfortable in our faith means giving up on God. Seriously, that is the end result. If we do not persevere, we fall back into old ways. Old ways hold us from God’s promise. However it is not God’s promise that allows us to be comfortable, no God’s promise requires us to break our bubbles and push on, facing enemy fire with the mindset that our confidence will be rewarded. “For if we shrink back, we are destroyed” (Heb 10:39a)
See the weight of my affliction? I am pressed to push on yet I am held back by the advice of those I trust. How am I to reconcile these two in a way that maintains my health; mentally, spiritually, and physically? Am I now forced to “grow up” and become the adult I’m told to be? Or can I remain as I am and find this new challenge as an opportunity to expand myself? To be honest, I like how I am now. I mean sure, I could be in better shape, but I’m not sickly, I’m not stupid, and I’m not ugly. I’m happy, most of the time. It’s those dark moments of pain that haunt me, the memories of failures past and the opportunities wasted. Yet there is hope in the night sky, a gentle light that tempts me to unknown future. Perhaps its time to leave my shadows behind and face the light from above and allow God to dig my trenches…