Months ago, I wrote a post that I have not yet published on my blog about the affair with ourselves against the church. I wrote about how the church is a living and breathing thing that we not only take for granted, but also treat as a second rate relationship. My words, I believe wholeheartedly. My heart aches for the bride that we have abused. However, I have not been able to bring myself to share that specific post because I have entered into my own selfish realm. My negative feelings that I am about to share are not geared towards our God or the bride of Christ that he desires for us to love. Although I’m sure she will feel the pain of my angst.
In an effort to not be a hypocrite, here are my most recent and truest thoughts. Forgive me if I offend you. I am not quite happy with my own self at this point. I will understand if you share in that.
So here it goes…
I despise going to church. There are hundreds of places I’d rather be.
These intense feelings began around the fall after a long and wonderful summer of camps and weekly house church. All of a sudden, I lost all energy and desire to be apart of church.
When I force my body through the doors, the hairs on the back of my neck begin to rise. My skin begins to crawl, forcing my hands to remain clasped within my 2 young sons hands, guiding them to Bible class, with a forced smile on my face. Under my breath I pray for the Lord to protect them from ever feeling this same anger that boils within me.
Every time I enter my car, I immediately turn on the noise because I am afraid of hearing God’s voice calling me. Its quite a paradox; I feel lost, but I refuse to use the tools in front of me to get to where I know I should go. I am avoiding the sea, as to not get swallowed up by the whale. I know the prayer to pray. I know that my Father loves me. But now, I am having a hard time finding him, I’m not doing a good job searching either.
Over time, this anger has exhausted me. The energy I expound in forcing myself through the doors is about to deplete. When that energy and willingness is gone, so is my desire to care. As you can imagine, this is not a good place to dwell.
Some of my most wisest counselors challenged me to figure out what is behind this anger. I have come up with a few. What I wish is that the church would not be afraid to speak about anger. To talk about how it’s okay to not be emotionally moved during worship. That we should really stop caring about minute traditional details, and talk about how to love our unchurched brothers and sisters. About how exhausting it is to be expected there multiple times a week when those nights, on occasion, could be spent loving on family and friends outside the church. We are the church, are we not?
However, I am fearful that I am the only one. The odd sinner out, who doesn’t love going to church anymore. Who, after getting my boys dressed and ready with bottoms in the pew, has little left over to get myself there too. I find myself looking around the large deep room, voices singing, eyes closed, hearts open…everyone looks joyful. Everyone looks put together. Everyone says, “I’m great! And you…” as we both continue cross before ending the sentence with an inflection. All you moms, how do you get to the building on time, with children fed, hair combed, Bible in hand, smiles of contentment on your faces. Really? Are you really that happy? Am I the only one who feels like a zookeeper on Sunday mornings? Oh how I would just love to join in as the grumpy grizzly mama bear and throw a few tantrums to show how I truly felt. Toddlers have it good sometimes; they are expected to not have emotional discipline.
It’s obvious that much of my emotion comes out of bitterness that can ensue in a mother of young children. Church has become a place that I go because I need to, and I want my kids to be at too. Im tired of being a people pleaser. I’m feeling church-commitment remorse at having chosen to place membership at the church of my childhood where I allow fear to dictate what I don’t say rather than having faith the church will have open hearts. When I cry during the service, Its not tears of joy, its not a deep wound that wont heal, its not a dark hidden secret, its the grieving of the, hopefully temporary, loss of yearning to be there.
I have faith in the only prayer I can pray right now,
“Father continue to reveal yourself to me. Dont forsake me. Give me the energy to pursue you.”
I know he will remain. Because of this I am not scared. This anger is not darkness. This anger will fuel me to be a greater confessor of my brokenness and acknowledgment of my dire need for His grace.
I am not sure where my feelings toward the church will lead me. I have grown an even deeper love for my parents and kind and unfaltering husband who won’t let me dwell in this emotion forever. Because of this, I will continue to attend, and continue to pray for energy to do so.
Allow me to leave you with words from Solomon that bring me continual peace and needed restlessness:
For everything there is a season;
a time for every activity under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die.
A time to plant and time to harvest.
A time to kill and a time to heal.
a time to tear down and time to build up.
A time to cry and time to laugh.
A time to grieve and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones and time to gather stones.
A time to embrace and time to turn away.
A time to search and a time to quit searching
A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to tear and a time to mend.
A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
A time to love and a time to hate.
A time for war and a time for peace. (Eccl 3:1-8)