I see it now.
That my growth at every level in my life has been stunted until recently.
I truly am free now, never to be caged again by anyone or anything, unless I allow myself to be. Some would call this new found freedom an arrogance of self. I call it a gift from God. In fact, all freedom comes directly from God. I have been told for thirty years that you can't do that, it's not right. You fill in the blank.
It's not okay to be yourself, the way God made you to be. It's not okay to have passion about something that doesn't fit the bill. It's not okay to dream dreams. It's not okay to not have someone controlling you. It's not okay to step away from fruitless, religious establishments. It's not okay to think for yourself. It's not okay to come to a different conclusion than your counterparts.
It's not okay to fly away...high above the noise and the roar of those around you.
But now I've flown higher and farther than ever...away. Away from all that keeps me from being freetothink, free to breathe again, free to roam, free to see with both eyes instead of just one. Free to create and be a doer on all levels and free to dreams dreams. Free to be sympathetic to every man's plight and free to help those who were and are just as caged and imprisoned as I was.
What caged me? What enslaved me? What kept me? What ensnared my soul in attempting to perform the same acts of madness done to me to others?
Religious, unclear thoughts being touted as a totally secure and crystal clear way of life, believing those thoughts with child-like faith and adhering to them and pushing them on others. There really is a monster in the closet, mommy. Why, yes, dear, there is. Johnny, my mom said there is a monster in the closet...be very afraid!
The dangers of teaching clarity on issues that are ever unclear, no matter the merry-go-round of tactics, are never ending. The religious fetters of men were placed upon me and they could have a hold on you. Cold, hard steel, unforgiving steel, was forged just for me. Iron bars around me, around my freedom, clasped tightly around my heart and my ability to be fully whole.
I have been a pawn in the hands of religious men and women. It will take some doing and much more undoing to stop this maddening cycle of playing chess with other people's lives. Pushing people around on a board of my conjuring like mere pawns in my own hands, in my direction, must come to an end.
Because I believe the kingdom of God is so much wider than any direction I can take you in. The Spirit of Christ is so much more powerful than my plans for you or my own opinions. And God, His true nature, and His pure plan for just you is so much more wonderful than any religious replacement that another can create for you or that you create for yourself.
So, yes, there was stunted growth, privately and publicly, secretly and prominently in my life.
And now, slowly, I am becoming acquainted with myself for the first time. The God of heaven is like a mother to me, patiently waiting for her child to see, to experience, to grow and to develop and His love never waivers and His grace never falters. He hears my cries of pain and He mercifully waits for me to come along beside Him.
I feel like I have been handed a billion dollars, but I am not quite sure what to do with it yet. I am bound and determined, though, to take as much time as I need to find out.