When You Go Down to the Deep

There’s a place of great depth in me that I rarely visit. It’s this place that takes work and serious effort to get to most of the time, like repelling into a cave would be, I imagine, or going down to the ocean floor. It’s a place that is mostly dark but a place where light still shines down too. Sometimes, I surprisingly find myself in this space when a song lyric pulls me down there, or a line of a book beckons me deeper, or a friend speaks a truth that floors me completely.

I’m realizing it isn’t a place I want to hide from. I’ve been doing that for too long—the shallow swimming, the skimming along the surface, the Instagrams of the flowers and the coffee mugs and only happy handwritten quotes. The deeper place is the realest place, and I want to go there more.

I write blog posts about the books I’m reading, because that’s easier than writing blog posts about where my heart is struggling. I share quotes from other authors because that’s easier than putting my own thoughts into words. I cancel plans and stay at home because that’s easier than answering the questions I know that dear friend will ask me from across the coffeeshop table.

I ignore the deep place, the real place, the sometimes-dark place, because it scares me. We’ve been scared of the dark since we were kids, so it shouldn’t surprise me that it’s still true of me now.

I think I’m scared of what I’ll find in that place. I’ll probably discover that old wounds still haven’t healed. I’ll probably find that those big questions are still unanswered. I’ll probably realize my truest desires and longings are still unmet. Those things won’t be easy to grapple with.

Mysterious and terrifying and wondrous creatures live in the depths—I learned that from Shark Week. But isn’t it true of our souls too? Mysterious, terrifying, wondrous things live in the depths of who we are. We can ignore them and keep swimming among the colorful reefs with schools of fish blissfully floating along, but the deep water creatures are still alive and well and thriving down there.

I want to go down to the deep. I want to leave the shallow swimming for the fish and take the plunge. I want to shine a light into the dark and illuminate what’s been hiding there. I want to let myself go to those places where I’ll be met with old hurts, old heartbreaks, aching pains, and honest yearnings. I want to trust that the Lord will do work in those places, but only if I open up to Him and let Him lead me as we go there together. I want to believe that the Lord will make those dark places light again, that He will heal the hurts I’ve been trying to keep hidden, that He will meet the needs I’ve been afraid to say out loud, that He will bring new life and new freedom to every ounce of my soul.

He isn’t afraid of the dark places. He isn’t repelled by my secrets or my shame. He wants to go there. He wants me to go there—to face those things bravely instead of giving them power over me.

I’m going down to the deep. I’m getting real, with myself, with my Savior, with my words and with my people. I’m taking the plunge.

Rachel Dawsonfaith, soul, instagram, reality