- Tamah Bryant
The Stony Path
Not sure when or where I lost myself, but somewhere along the road I became somebody else, somebody I hardly even recognize, somebody I hardly even know.
Constantly worried about what other people think. I see someone who looks angry, sad, and disappointed I think, "What did I do? It must be my fault." Frustrated because I want to make it right, but I don't know how. Worried that it will only get worse. My chest tightens, and tears sting my eyes. I cannot let anybody see me like this, I hide until I have control of myself.
Why am I so weak? Why can't I hold myself together? Why are my emotions always all over the place?
Get control of yourself. Take a deep breath, dry your eyes, and leave your room. You are going to be alright. put a smile on your face and get back to work. People are talking to me. What are they saying? Why can't I understand? Why can't I make myself understand what they are saying? Where are my words? Why am I so awkward? I get nervous and I say the dumbest things, my tongue gets tied my mind doesn't work as fast as my mouth does. Find a way out and disappear until you have it together! Where did my personality go? Where am I? What happened to me? I find a quiet place, I need to be alone. I need to hear myself think, I need to remember who I am.
I close my eyes, I see a path, I am scared, I am alone, I am vulnerable. I see myself taking my first step. It is dark-so very dark. I stumble over a rock and as I pick myself up-I notice that I am bleeding. I hold my arm, blood spilling from my wound. I look again at the path, it is so dark. Something draws my gaze up and I see a Light, far off in the distance. The warm glow of the Light is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. I am so cold, I am so sad. The Light brightens the path I am on just a little, it looks so hard, and there are so many obstacles. There are so many enemies. I hear them talking...
"You are not good enough..."
"You are not smart enough..."
"You are not righteous enough..."
"You are not holy enough..."
"You do not trust God enough..."
"You are not there for your family enough..."
"You do not do enough..."
"ENOUGH!" I scream, holding my ears as I fall to the ground. "Enough." I sob as I will myself to quit. I am so tired, I am hurting, I am lonely. "I just need to rest." I hear a voice, is it coming from the Light?
"Come unto me, I will give you rest."
Could that be true? Why would anything so beautiful ever want me? "I don't know if I can, I am so tired." The Light answers back,
"I give power to the faint, I will increase your strength."
I get back up and I am resolved. The Light becomes brighter, I start to walk around the stones but I am still being attacked. The words I hear pierce me like arrows, it feels as though my heart is breaking as I hear again, "You are not enough!" As I pray to the Light for strength, I open my eyes and notice a breastplate across my chest.
"My child, you do not have to be enough because I have clothed you in My righteousness and I Am enough, I Am more than enough."
Slowly, peace starts to replace the agonizing feeling in my heart. But I still hear that voice, not as strong but still unsettling. "You cannot do this."
I stop. I will myself to stand still. I raise my face towards the light. A feeling of resolve and commitment wash over me as the Light warms my face.
"You can do all things through CHRIST who gives you strength!"
As I stand there listening to the voice in the Light, I feel a belt wrap around my waist.
TRUTH. I look down at my feet as combat boots ready for battle appear on my tired and bleeding feet.
GOSPEL OF PEACE. I have shoes that are ready for battle and yet, here I stand. I do feel stronger now, but will it last? Can I really do this? My mind is filled with doubt.
"I began this good work in you and I will complete it."
I look down at my hands and see that I am holding a shield. FAITH.
"It is You who is working through me, it is You who will fight for me, I need only to be still!" A wave of confidence surges through my soul.
I feel a helmet being placed on my head, SALVATION.
My thoughts are more clear than they have ever been. My mind is safe. I can no longer hear the voice shouting at me and taunting me.
I touch my helmet and make sure it is secure, I run my hand across my shield of faith. A tear runs down my cheek and lands on the most beautiful shoes I have ever worn and I thank the Light for the Gospel that brings me such peace even though there is war all around me. I place my hand firmly upon my Breast-plate Of Righteousness and tug on my Belt of Truth. My armor is in place and I lift my hands in praise and worship of my God, my Light.
As I lower my hands, I see they are no longer empty, but are now holding a sword. SPIRIT
"Now pray, pray as you have never prayed before! Righteous and fervent prayers avail much so be still and know that I am God-and pray!"
As I start to pray, I see a legion of angels soar through the air above me, I see the enemy pelting me with fiery darts, but they can't penetrate my armor. Demons start dropping at my feet, their word silenced. I start to walk down the stony path toward the Light.
One by one the stones disappear. The path is clear, it is narrow and steep, but it is clear.
As I start on my journey, the Light that had been in the distance is now surrounding me. "You are not alone, I am with you, I will never leave you. You will never be alone." I whisper softly through grateful and humble tears. "Your grace is sufficient for me."