I often feel as if I’m on an island. If someone else could feel the way I do, they would be on that island with me, holding my hand. But when I look around, all I see is the wind mindlessly blowing the trees this way and that. My hand is empty, with no one to hold it.
I feel sad.
I feel mad.
I feel stuck.
My thoughts swirl around in my head, making it impossible for me to think clearly. And somehow my thoughts seem as if they are linked to my lungs, because the swirling around of my brain forces my lungs to constrict. When I try and take a deep breath in, it catches midway. I exhale only to repeat it all over again.
When I think about the sadness that I’m feeling, I can hardly bear it. The tears come almost immediately. What is the loss that I’m experiencing? Perhaps it isn’t loss at all, but the expectations that may never come to fruition.
I look around me, at the people I do my life with, and their kids seem perfectly normal and happy. They can run away from their mothers without the fear of being snatched or that she is going to drop dead when they turn their backs. They can play and enjoy themselves and just be kids. They aren’t consumed with anxiety, almost waiting for something bad to happen. So much so that it keeps them from having any fun at all.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I do not live under the pretenses that everyone around me has it all together and my life is the only one spinning out of control. I am no fool to believe that they have no problems of their own. But, from the outside looking in, with my head filled to the brim with anxious thoughts, it is certainly easy to think that they have it so much better than me.
When I think about the mad that I’m feeling, I feel personally violated. I know it’s absurd, to think that she could actually be purposefully trying to make my life miserable. As if she has the knowledge and determination to plot out her every move and how it may affect me. But that is honestly how it feels sometimes, as if it is all calculated. Logically I know it isn’t true. I know her heart is pure and she has nothing but love in her heart for me. But sometimes that feeling of being needed wears on me. I feel that I don’t possibly have enough of myself to give.
When I think about the stuck, I see myself on that island, with no boat or possible way off. The island feels as if it is my new permanent home. Each direction I look as far out as I can, hoping to see a life raft of any sort in the distance. But when I’m consumed in my stuck, instead of life rafts, I only see waves swelling and swallowing up more of the shore with the rising tide.
This is where I surrender. This is the point I have to come to in order to throw my hands up and raise my white flag.
Take over Jesus, I whisper with a weary heart. I cannot do this by myself.
I try so hard, all the time, to do things within my own efforts. And each time I am left feeling frustrated and so incredibly not enough.
The truth is, without Him I am nothing. Without Him, I am nothing but a vessel being tossed about in the ocean in the midst of a hurricane, willing itself to stay afloat. But I think that’s just it, he wants us to stop striving.
To just stop.
If without Him we are nothing and if with him we can do all things, then why do we try to do it alone?
I may be sad. I may be mad. I may feel stuck. But I’m not alone, and I want that knowledge to be at the forefront of my mind. I truly desire to stop purposefully alienating myself from Him and instead invite Him to flow through every crevice of my being. Instead of trying so hard to figure out all of the answers and root causes to every issue, I choose to relinquish control. While my actions in the past may have played a role in the current issue, I refuse to live my life in shame.
My emotions are God given, and can be used to navigate me through this storm if I let them. It is my choice not to let myself drown in the overwhelm.
So here I am, white flag raised, arms up, reaching out to the Only One who could possibly understand. And in that moment of surrender, I look down and notice my hand is no longer empty. I look up and see a life raft sitting on the beach. I walk to it, hand in hand with Him, and together we face the waves.
- Lauren Preusz