Sheep Resting in the Comfort of the Shepherd
Imagine being surrounded on every side by a vast darkness. Everywhere. All-encompassing. Unbreakable. Standing in the center of this darkness is you. Although darkness is surrounding, you are doing well. Until the first wave of darkness pulls you under the surface. Then, a second. Following, a third. For the past week, this has been my figurative reality. Pulled under the waves of disappointment, stress, and fatigue, unable to catch a moment’s breath before another unthinkable reality occurs. Once again throwing me under what feels as though I am an Atlas bearing the weight of the world. Thankfully, I am not. Still, I am certain that most of you can identify with the feeling of hopelessness. When one thing goes wrong, it seems that everything does. Although I do not know what you are going through at this time, know that there are hundreds, thousands and millions of other people fighting their own hidden battles. You are not alone. Not for a moment. You may have noticed I am a new name on this website.
This is one of my first articles for Tirzah and could quite possibly be the most authentically honest article I have ever written. In the past few weeks, I was informed of a medical issue in the family, began college courses, and was dragged into drama between friends. Needless to say, this is not perhaps the best week in my life.
Because of all that has occurred, I find myself randomly crying. Often when thinking about the medical situation. I feel so hopelessly alone. Feel as though no one could possibly ever understand me. Truthfully, I want to shut myself out from the world. Hide in my bedroom with a homemade rice crispy treat.
Soon after I heard the medical news, a friend attempted to pull me into senseless drama. Although I am young and there are prevalent stereotypes, I am not one to get involved in drama. It’s not worth the time and heartbreak. However, this friend was persistent. Repeatedly texting my phone when I wanted to be far away from this issue. And adding to my already abundant stress sources. Eventually, I told this friend that their drama was unappreciated. But still, when the drama was absent, I felt as frazzled as ever.
Over the summer, I took two college courses. Ones that required long hours and tedious, strenuous work. Often writing several essays a week as well as reading hundreds of pages, since they were both condensed courses. Two weeks after those ended, I was scheduled to begin my fall courses, with only a few days break from the assignment expectations. Once again, I was overwhelmed with work and in the midst of personal tragedy.
If I am honest, I feel as though my world is falling apart. One moment I am happy and productive. Engaging in Pilates, enjoying my friends, practicing my hobbies, and having a conversation with an innocent child. The next moment, I don’t want to leave my house because I simply don’t feel like it. In the first days of this struggle, I could go from smiling to sobbing in a matter of minutes.
A friend asked me what was wrong. My response was frightening. I told my friend that I felt like a shell of Brooke. A shell of the Brooke that I used to know.
Anyone that knows me is aware that I am a predominantly cheerful human. My personality switch was extreme. Friends and family were worried. Yet, I could not explain to them exactly what was wrong. Although there was one thing that was certain in the midst of this chaos: there was something wrong.
There is something utterly terrifying about not feeling like yourself. Lost. Alone. Confused. Uncertain. You wonder what is happening? What is wrong? Why do you not feel like yourself? I want to tell you right now, if you are struggling and going through a hard time: you will feel like yourself again. This is a promise. I know. God brought me through this same struggle.
In the midst of this circumstance, I saw a magazine lying on my table. Thumbing through the pages, I came across a Bible Reading plan. Immediately, I followed it. Knowing that I needed to do something to change my heart. This morning, I found the verse I have been waiting for:
When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like a sheep without a shepherd. - Matthew 9:36
This verse illustrated every emotion that I had been relentlessly wrestling with. Emotions of confusion and sorrow came washing over me in a tidal wave of understanding and compassion towards myself. Peace in knowing that I am the absolutely and completely helpless sheep. The sheep that is stressed. Sheep that is tired and weary. For all sheep, there is a shepherd. He can save me, day after day, if I will let him.