On the one hand, I love that my whole family is usually together, and after long, crazy weekends, we need the rest. On the other hand, I find myself constantly feeling guilty/worried/anxious about church.
We've been attending a church here locally off and on since we moved back, but we're still one foot out the door kind of people. I know. Bad Christians. But seriously, I would like to see a movement in the church where we cut out all the judging, get rid of all the Christianese (Can I get an amen?) and get to a place where we truly are just walking this journey out together.
No labels. No criticism. No appearances for appearances sake.
Wouldn't that be something?
So when we woke up Sunday morning, we considered trying a new church. I mean, we should, right? Try out every single one. Make sure we're not missing out?
There was just one problem. Nobody wanted to go.
Sophia commented on how crabby everyone was. I foolishly expected to find something suitable to wear in my closet. Ethan was near-tears at the thought of getting out of his pajamas. And Sam just wanted cookies.
Fun times on Sunday morning.
But after miscalculating the start time (that's what happens when you're a church-tryer-outter. You fail to catalog start times appropriately...) we saw an opportunity. We never arrive in time to get the kids in their classes. This would be their day.
And that's what we did.
Each of our kids complained about this (having been the new kid over and over for the love of all that is holy I can't say I blame them. I don't like to be the new kid either.)
But a funny thing happened. We really loved it. Or at least I did, I can never tell what's going on in Adam's head on days when there is football to be watched. But sitting in church as a twosome? We haven't done that in years. Actually, we haven't done that ever.
Suddenly, a whole new world kind of opened up to me, and wouldn't you know it? God spoke words I needed to hear. Words just for me.
The best part was picking up our kids. After a fountain of tears, Sam calmed down and ended up loving his class (Sophia stayed with him.) Ethan also had a blast and walked out with a goofy prize that he's been carrying around ever since.
And I started to see the need to have it in our lives. Church, I mean. Colorado was about observation for us. It was about being in the background and rediscovering that personal relationship with God...in a new way. And I found myself closer to God than ever...but it wasn't because of church.
No, church is about something else entirely. It's about connection. It's about the people. It's about growing in a place that allows for your failures...and helps you move past them. It's about sharing your gifts and being celebrated for who you are in Christ.
I began to see that maybe my own critical eye had been turned toward the church at large. Maybe it's had everything I need from the very beginning. Maybe, just maybe, I could feel at home here.
Yes, I still wish there were fewer "crowd pump-ups" (you know where the pastor says "Everyone say...insert Christian phrase here...) but really... is that something to get hung up on?
It was a revelation for me this week. A reminder that while I hole myself away day after day with little to no face-to-face interaction, this is not how God created us. He wants us to be light in the darkness...and you just can't do that if you never leave the house.
And getting refueled in a place that challenges and inspired you is one of the best ways to do that...
Hm. Who knew?