All these stories in the bible about demon-possession, casting out spirits and all that – that’s got to be just some kind of quaint historical relic, a product of a pre-scientific worldview that had no other way to explain disease, or why bad stuff happens.
Except, I’ve got one. There’s really no other way to describe it. If God is life and love and wholeness and beauty, then the thing in my head that is spouting despair and anxiety and aloneness is most definitely Not-God, and it’s not quite me either.
I got myself out of my house this evening, because sitting here feeling guilty/depressed/useless about the work I wasn’t getting done was not terribly effective, and I made it to the weird little franchise cafe whose main appeal is that it’s a block away from my house, and I continued reading Pastrix.
There’s one chapter where she talks about putting together a renaming service for a trans guy in her congregation, on the same Sunday when she’s preaching on Jesus’ baptism. And immediately after the baptism, in the text, Jesus is tempted by demons. Immediately after the voice from heaven says, “This is my Son, the Beloved,” the devil says, “If you are the Son of God, turn these stones into bread.” And to that she says, “Only God can tell us who we are. Anything else is temptation.” Anything else that tries to tell us who we are, or who we’re supposed to be, is a demon. Anything that makes us doubt that we are children of God.
So I’ve got a demon, and I have decided to fight it with all I’ve got. It feels oddly appropriate to take this Bi Pride Day to come out, again: I have bipolar.
And I’ve been struggling, and lonely, and not liking living in Delaware, and having good days and bad ones, and sometimes crying in front of people I’m really not ready to cry in front of. And medication has been helping, but not always, and not enough.
And I have decided today – no, remembered today – that this is not who I am.
Who I am is someone who sees both the incredible beauty in the world, and the incredible brokenness, and chooses beauty anyway. I am kind of socially awkward but I will be your friend anyway. I have terrible balance, but I’m going to do roller derby anyway. Churches are dying but I’m going to be a pastor anyway.
I’ve never been one to let anyone else tell me what I can’t do. And so, to the demon telling me I can’t be happy, I say NO. Because f–k it, I am a child of God and I am better than that.
What is faith, anyway, except the irrational insistence that all this crap is not the final word – the bull-headed stubbornness that sings resurrection when everyone else is screaming despair. And I am choosing resurrection. I am choosing not-death.
I am Bruise Almighty, fighter of demons.