“Freedom came from mountaintops
And I found I could never fit where I wasn’t meant to be
Now I can see the treasures of my heart
I traded pews for evergreens
I abandoned feedback for birds songs
The open air makes things more clear now
And I hear the voice I always needed the most…”
I was on a much needed weekend retreat with fellow classmates at the University of Alberta, in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. This was a retreat for international students with over 36 countries represented. We stayed in cabins, worshiped in different languages, and watched each other display gifts through song and dance of our native lands. It was incredible weekend for me, much needed because it brought me to the place pictured above. This was the place of deciding. A place where I looked into the vallies of decision and decided I would choose deconstruction and undefined freedom over systemic security that would drain the life-blood made me, me. I sat at the peak alone physically but engaged in a heartfelt conversation with the Lord and my conscience.
I was wrestling internally with a question when the solution was all around me externally. My question to the Lord on this mountain peak was, “how do I fit in?” Where was I trying to fit in? ; the church. I had accepted a position at a church to accomplish two things: one, help grow the church and two, receive mentor-ship in ministry. Although I had great experiences with people within the church and contributed greatly to the service, I was dying. I saw the trade of authenticity for efficiency and I could feel myself dreading the decoy I was becoming Sunday after Sunday. I hated the service and I desired relationship over ritual. Thus, I was thrust into a moral dilemma, ‘how do I reconcile my desire to worship God when the institution I perceive to be the vehicle is destroying the purity of my desire, which is in turn diluting the potency of my offering?’
I was searing my conscience and I knew I couldn’t keep at it without losing myself in the service. So, I asked the Lord on that mountain top, “how do I fit in?”, and the answer came in the unraveling that the next question evoked, “am I supposed to fit it?”
I waiting for the Lord’s response with my pen poised to jot down something poetic in my journal. I was looking at the order of the lines running across eat sheet, ready to fill them. I knew His answer wouldn’t be generic, because I was desperate to hear His truth, His answer would be my life and existence. His answer started with one command, “look up and look out”, that’s it. I wouldn’t need the pen because the Lord knew I already had the answer etched inside of me and as clear as day around me, “look up and look out”.
When I raised my head from the pad and looked at the expanse of the green-blue water and mountain laying across the terrain, my answer was there. The biggest question posed to my heart was, “why would I want you to fit in, when there is such a vast expanse I’ve made for you to spread wide in?” The answer was in front of me quite literally.
On this mountain top was the moment I took heed to the Lord’s voice and perception. I broke into tears the moment I understood his answer to me, for unintentionally I had accepted an idea that He wanted me confined. I felt a great sense of repentance and sorrow that I had limited the beauty of His desire to love me and see me expand beyond borders and systems.
This was the beginning of my undoing. My deconstruction. My detox from confinement.
Since this day my creativity and expressions of my passion for the Lord have expanded and taken shape as I knew they could. I grew Intentional in free fall from all I knew, allowing the Lord to lead me in depth, height, width and length of His love through relationship, remembering “man shall not live by bread alone but every word that precedes out of the mouth of God.” Existence, life and His words were my existence that lead me forward and I’ve never looked back. I lost my religion for good on that mountaintop and found a freedom that awaited me, long overdue.
This poem displays it all – Lost Religion, Freedom Found.