This is the longest I’ve ever not gone to church since I started attending back in the spring of 2014. It feels like it’s going on about six weeks now? Been trying to evaluate just why it is I go there in the first place. I know why I started to go five years ago, but why do I go now?
Is it to specifically be around other Christians?
Is it a worship thing?
…Or an obedience thing? …but shouldn’t my heart be right?
Does God want me to go JUST to go?
Am I sinning by missing so many Sundays in a row?
According to my pastor my absence shows “the breakdown of the value of commitment” and it’s “an indicator that something’s amiss.” …”It’s not good! It’s not good!” (taken from a sermon I listened to online because I was trying to catch up on what I’ve missed)
Yes. Something truly IS amiss. But is it ALL ME?
I just don’t know anymore. I’ve been feeling frustrated for some time now about certain things and I just can’t seem to make myself go there. Lately, the act of going feels forced; not genuine. A couple weeks ago, the night before church, I began to feel extremely anxious and sick over the thought of going. And I don’t want to go if my heart isn’t right. That’s just who I am….or is that a lame excuse and I’m really just not committed to my God anymore? Well, I don’t see it that way, even if the leadership of my church might. I haven’t turned my back on God and I’m thankful for His patience and understanding and so glad He’ll always meet me right where I’m at…no shaming needed.
I admit I haven’t been up for the social aspect of it, either. My least favorite part of service is that awkward fifteen minute break between worship and the message. I’m not an extremely extroverted kind of gal and I’m tired of trying to rewire myself to be someone I am not. I tried the food pantry thing…that lasted MAYBE a year. Then I tried the soup kitchen thing…that lasted maybe two. I cleaned bathrooms for three and a half years until, like I said earlier, my heart wasn’t in it anymore. Of course, getting a full time job made it rather difficult continuing with the bathrooms every weekend. It became too much. But, in all those things, I learned a lot about myself and grew because of it. BUT, walking into a crowded room whilst being in desperate need of finding my seat so I am “safe” has never truly left me. I was told once to “get over myself” when I tried to talk about the social anxiety I, at times, struggle with. And I have been trying to push through it almost every Sunday for five years now.
And what’s with this guilt thing? Why is it I feel so guilty for not going? Is it because I feel I’m letting God down or people? I know I fall so short from who God intended me to be. I’m very aware of all that I lack. I fail every day. I’m always concerned about being RIGHT with Him and I’m having trouble separating works from grace and understanding if I’m acceptable to Him just as I am. I’m still trying to wrap my head around what God’s grace truly means and how deep His love goes. I know I could be and do so much more if only I could receive much needed deliverance from God only knows what. I need Him to remove this barrier that keeps me from freely receiving all that He has for me. In my head I know He could do it anytime through anyone or even NO one. Yet I still long to attend an Encounter Ministries meeting. Go figure.
I’ve been feeling quite alone there, which wasn’t always the case, or maybe it was but my focus was on other things at the time. Or perhaps it’s just always been due to my own insecurities. Well, whatever the case, despite myself, I’ve grown quite a bit since I started attending this church. I’m not the same broken person I was when I first walked through those church doors. And that’s a good thing! And that’s also thanks TO this church, so don’t think that has gone unrecognized! But now I feel farther away from the mindsets of everyone else there. We just don’t seem to be on the same page. I don’t understand how, if we all have the same Holy Spirit living inside us, we don’t all share the same theology?
If there is only one truth, the ABSOLUTE truth, then why can’t we all agree on
There are many things I strongly disagree with but can’t talk to anyone about because I’m just told why I’m wrong. It almost comes across as though they are on a level of understanding I just haven’t reached and I’m just the silly rabbit who didn’t know Trix were for kids. Even trying to explain my absence from church was quickly interjected with a “it’s demonic” comment. It was rather insulting, to be honest. I’m tired of trying to reach out and talk to them about things because they speak in such a way that, by the end of the conversation, I walk away without any peace or conclusion (not every time but many a time) and sometimes even more confusion. Up until now, I’ve tried to not let it affect my attendance and I don’t want to ever assume that I’m right and they’re wrong. We all believe in Jesus Christ. That’s what should matter the most…right? I don’t want to be guilty of an arrogant attitude or of being “unteachable” as some there like to say. But these inner struggles have been present within me since mid 2016 and I continue to pray about it all, yet have not found peace in any of it.
There’s been times when I felt “brushed off” when I needed to hear their take on things I felt were important. Instead I got zero response after I was told they’d definitely check it out and let me know their thoughts. They don’t see me as someone who has discernment, in my opinion. When I say I feel the Holy Spirit warning me of something I’m told that’s not the Holy Spirit but my own fears. And it doesn’t help that I struggle to find the right words to express my thoughts and end up fumbling what it is I need to convey. What’s also frustrating is that one of the sermons was about the gift of discernment and approaching leadership when something doesn’t feel right. I don’t feel safe to do that very thing.
I don’t feel a deep connection with anyone there, it’s just a surface kind of thing. I do love many there but I just don’t feel understood. I am most definitely misunderstood many a time and I wish they could all truly know the real me. But I don’t feel as though I can truly be myself there.
Reading this back I see how I would be called out on how many times I’ve said “I” or “I feel.” Yup. It’s ALL ABOUT ME.
Maybe it IS me.
Maybe it’s not.
Maybe it’s both.
DISCLAIMER:Of course I don’t believe anyone there is purposefully trying to come off in the ways I’ve expressed and that my feelings and interpretations could all very well be ON ME and no one else.
I pray for the baptism of the Holy Spirit and FIRE for myself and anyone in my church who has also not yet received these promises of God Almighty. May the Lord remove everything in me that needs to go and may He bless the leadership of my church as well as fellow churchgoers and open their eyes to anything they may currently be blind to, as well as myself, in the Lord Jesus Christ’s name. Amen.
This site was inspired by the passing of my dear friend, Jill Ann Considine. She was an amazing musician and song writer. She was incredibly caring and unique and she got me. I’ll forever miss her but she will always live on in our hearts and ears.