What is most interesting to me is that though the fear washes over me in waves, there is a bravery i have never felt before. A willingness, a desire, a passion to fight. I'm aware of a commitment to be in the dungeon for as long as it takes. So much so that I am fighting off the hands that are reaching down for me from the lightworld above. "Let us save you," they say. "Let us fix you," they call. "Let us dry your tears. Let us overwhelm you with light once again so you'll forget all of this, and it will be just a dwindling nightmare." Where were these concerned voices when I was drowning in all that light, living an empty religious life?

                                                                                                       - Mandy Steward, Thrashing About with God

periodically, throughout this time of absence from church, i receive a message from friends who want me to return. they promise me it won't be weird, and that the longer my absence, the more the darkness will win. they pray for freedom from my chains, and my heart responds "isn't this the freest i have ever been??"

i know they love me. i know they are well-meaning. but they cannot love me well right now. they are not a safe space for my heart.

for a while, i was responding to their messages, defending my decision to take a break, trying to help them see how this was God leading me away into the wilderness for a time. but they would see only "do not forsake the assembling of yourselves together" and tell me the Spirit would never prompt something that goes against His Word.

maybe so.

but maybe it's possible that the interpretations they are working with are too narrow, even as they try to apply them too broadly.

Because I would never naturally take this course - it had to be divine intervention to prompt me to move away from the expectations and toward his heart (as i have said before, rebellion is a spiritual discipline for me - it is not my bent. i am wired as a "good girl", and am slowly unlearning, rewiring).

i had to quit "stating my case" a few months in, since it always seemed to fall on ears that care about me, but care about being biblical more

my heart is not held in that space. 

so, i have stopped responding.

{{but i feel the urge to run just under the surface of that healthy boundary, so i think this silence with them will only be for a time. because i am sick of running, hiding, avoiding their judgments and questions i have no answer for. i am sure i will need to stand, as myself, even in their presence, at some point.}}

but not yet. right now? i run, and run wild.

"Don't you dare!" I yell back. "This is not about you. I'm sorry that it makes you uncomfortable to see me this way, but you're not going to rob me of this richness. I am with God. He is here. Imagine that. In the darkness. There is no place I'd rather be. And I will come out when He says we are done, because I want to be healed this time. I want the holes in my body to be forever mended, even if there are brutal scars to show for it. When i resurface, I want to be able to contain the fullness of God within me without it leaking out all over the place. Down here, I am closer to my life to the full than I ever was soaking up sun on the beaches of pretending and performance and duty and devotion. Leave me alone. This is something I must see to."    

                                                                                                                          -Mandy Steward, Thrashing About with God


AuthorJamie Bonilla