What if the only way to go deeper is the way I don’t want to go? The way that I have resisted year upon year. An edge along which I’ve danced but which I’ve never gone over.
Never over that edge.
I have been the good girl. The one who doesn’t lose control. Whose make up is careful and hair ever in place. The one who, in group conversation, is mostly quiet. Who focuses on placing the other at the centre of attention and hides from the spotlight herself.
I have been that girl. And so I have tamped it down again and again, that longing for him that threatens to destroy me.
Not that they realise this, of course. When it bubbles up, the mess I make is big enough. The space I take up is big enough. And I’m sure at those times they think Spirit has overcome me.
But truth is other. Truth is having been determined to hold the lion’s share of it in. Not to let it flow over. Not to be the one who can’t get off the floor again. Not to be the one who could be louder and more desperate than they ever imagined.
They already know me as loud, you see. But truth is that this is volume under control, half my attention on pitch, on tone, on what the worship leader is doing. This is behaviour under control for the sake of the other. It is niceness, wildness tamed.
I’ve chosen it because order. I’ve chosen it because others. And I’ve chosen it because fear of offending and shame at the mess of it. These last two, pride by another name.
And so even as I’ve surrendered, I’ve yet fought him. Refused that further step.
I’ve thought I did it for them. But now the one after whom my soul runs, he tells me revival was never pretty. That desperation is ugly to those who cannot read it. That blessed is the one who is not offended by him.
And I sense him calling me to lay it down now, this fear of offending those Christians who will judge me and judge him in me. To stare shame in the face and then go where I have not dared go, give way to the burning thirst that defines me. To surrender this attempt to stay small enough not to offend, neat enough not to irritate, quiet enough not to deafen, cultured enough not to terrify.
To let the primal yearning for divine union reverberate as violently as it might. No longer to hide it as if my shame were shame of him. To let it be loud. To let it be big and let it be ugly. To let it be all the mess that is this surrender of control.
Loud and ugly and mess. Not for its own sake. But because this is all my offering, all that I have but also all that he wants. Because this is the prophetic intercession, life of desperation that one day will command ‘as in heaven so on earth’.
And tonight I am convicted of sin in fighting this utter surrender. Convicted that in sabbatical it is time to finish this. Walk up to the edge. Hurl myself out upon the waters.
Yes, tonight I am praying six months will be enough to learn to pray like I ought. But, also tonight, I’m anxious. For what if his demand is more than I can meet?
This is one in my series of sabbatical posts. I started this series in 2013-2014 and, now, the generosity of my employer means that I pick it up again. Technically, this time it is called study leave rather than sabbatical. But I don’t have a blog category for that.