This segment will give you a glimpse into the lives of everyday people with struggles and triumphs in their journey through life. You are everyday people. I am everyday people. We are all everyday people. Every person on this planet is a gem waiting to be discovered and valued. We can learn something from everyone, no matter who they are or where they come from, as long as we are willing to listen. They are the stories of our relatives, our friends, our neighbors, and even the stories of perfect strangers. The hope is that in sharing them, others will be inspired, challenged and/or encouraged in their own walk.
And There Was Light by Alexander Shepard
I found myself in a hole that I thought I might never get out of. In the deepest dark of torment and confusion, without any hope of light. It begins with the simple first doubt in God. The illusion that you can take on the world without Him. I found myself depending on outer sources. At first, it was music. Music can control the mind. The word and images may at first be underplayed by the melodic symphony and beat, until the repetition slowly sinks into the subconscious part of your mind, and literally hypnotize you with the memory of the words. You sing the words later, slowly think about the meaning, and begin to apply it to your own life. Before you know what hit you, the first phase of deception has set in. You believe your life is a part of that song, and you tell yourself that your situation is a similar situation or you unintentionally create the problem yourself. If you can do the math, that is one song, one problem, one beat. Then add another song, and another and another. If one album has fifteen songs, and you can listen to five albums a week, those are seventy-five issues in your own mind, that you have created, that do not exist. Seventy-five problems. Extra stress in your life that you brought upon yourself. Think about what you listen to.
It then develops into the drug phase, when the music is not enough to sustain your need to feel “high” because you do not need God…remember? The drugs begin simple; extra soda here and there, energy drinks later, coffee, and tea. Anything with caffeine can essentially become a drug. Maybe you did not pick caffeine, and you chose another material of consumption, because it is the body that “feels” the physical drain and pain. You overindulged and overexposed yourself, and soon it does not work anymore. Soon enough, the most basic and easy to access “drugs” will just not work for you and it will be time to seek something else; to please the soul and delude the mind of your problems.
We fixate on things. It could be people, money, cars; something to symbolize the “god” that we do not need, in a spiritual sense. But now we depend on these things. If those things that are accessible become unavailable, we search for something more risky. Medication. Whether it is over-the-counter or prescription, we will start with the recommended doses and then take an extra to fill our needs. Over time our bodies naturally become immune and it needs more to sustain the “itch.” If you are taking sleep medication, antidepressants, antipsychotics, anxiety or panic attack narcotics, these can become uncontrollably addictive and dangerously poisonous to both our physical and mental health, as we abuse the recommended dosage. I am not condemning the prescription of those previously listed drugs. I myself have been on them, and I myself have been addicted. They work well, if treated with responsibility.
Before you know it, you have changed, and your loved ones notice this more than anyone else. Your emotional imbalance turns you into a hurricane of unpredicted actions and irrational decisions that affect long-term relationships. You suffer hurt and loss in this, and again turn to your drug of choice, your own personal “god.”
Over time, your day-to-day life becomes boring and unrealistic. You find no sense of drive to push yourself through the day. Your work potential drops significantly. Your co-workers want nothing to do with you, and you want nothing to do with them. Co-workers can also be substituted for friends, family, students, teachers, etc. You become lonely. Loneliness to me is the direct, super-cause of depression and suicide. These are the things you think about during your trip down the hole you dug. You started on top of the world, and found yourself blind-sided by the deepest darkness of loneliness, deception, depression, fear and desire for pleasure.
You have options at this point, and although some say that when you are at your lowest you can only go up, it is not true. You can continue to dig, and dig, and then give up. Sin will become death.
But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. (James 1:14-15)
The hole we have dug is covered by the scars we acquired through the paths we took. Ask yourself if you have experienced any of these:
Arrogance, Fear, Worry, Anger, Guilt, Bitterness, Hate, Judging, Revenge, Implacability, Jealousy, Sexual Lust, Approbation Lust, Power Lust, Money Lust, Insolence, Impatience, Prejudice, Self-pity, Self-Righteousness, Hypocrisy, Envy, Selfishness, Ingratitude, Disrespect, Hypersensitivity, Stubbornness, Irresponsibility, Thoughtlessness, Gossiping, Lying, Blasphemy, Perjury, Maligning, Boasting, Criticism, Ridiculing, Sarcasm, Cursing, Interrupting, Whining, Flattery, Complaining, Arguing, Excuse-Making, Murder, Stealing, Disobedience, Adultery, Rape, Fornication, Incest, Bestiality, Homosexuality, Pederasty, Voyeurism, Necrophilia, Drunkenness, Trespassing, Cheating, Cowardice, Snooping, Drug Abuse, Child Abuse, Extortion, Treason, Revenge, Gluttony, and my personal favorite, Selfishness.
This will destroy you.
The only hope we have, if we truly seek it, is to remember where we first were, with God. Maybe you were never with God from the beginning.
This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:5-9)
It is a simple truth.
Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. (Matthew 7:7)
When you are down and you keep going down, confess your sins. He is faithful and righteous to forgive and we open up the door for Him to come in and commune with us, and we will be given the blessings of God, and He will fill our life with His fruits.
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:16-23)
The truth is, I found myself in the darkest hole that I had dug. I had almost committed all of the above “sins” and drug myself down a path of destruction; a path of self-destruction to be more precise. I was fearful of my life, and I became even more fearful of what I had become. I was on the verge of losing everything I had worked for; the less of life and the debt of my love’s abuse. I could not pay this off with my life or any other thing I had used to bring myself there. There was only one solution and last night, yet again, I found my one true God. Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and God the Father are my leaders and honest hope. God is love; my love. I love my God.
This is where the healing begins. Opening the night with day. Taking off the blindfold and seeing the light for the first time. Seek the light and behold. God said it and there is was. If we open ourselves to be disciplined and confess the fact that we were wrong, it will be a small price to pay for our scars and the future will brighten. The joy of the Lord and a peace like rivers will become uncontrollable in your heart, and you will be whole again. Do not seek the instant “high” of life, but seek the deliverer and peace will come when you place your faith in Him.
And by His Grace, and by His will, maybe the ones you love will forgive you too, and hearts will soften and everything will be restored.
But, it is all up to one person to make this happen.
Alexander Shepard is a young writer, poet, and filmmaker. He supports the efforts of To Write Love on Her Arms. TWLOHA is a non-profit movement dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury and suicide. Visit www.twloha.com for ways you can help. If you would like to connect with Alexander you can do so through Facebook and Twitter or you can send him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.