Day 27: My Testimony: The Path Since Then
A few weeks ago, I sat tucked deep in a wooden booth at a local pub with my brother and his wife. We are talking life. And family convention has predestined that we question and wrestle with it. This life.
Our talk turns to church. It is no secret that we’ve had our share of struggles with church. And this church is no different. I’ve gone for almost 9 months but if you count missed Sundays during colds and overslept mornings and travel, it’s more like 4. And I’m struggling.
While a lot of the messages resonate with me, while many friendly faces greet me in passing, I feel as though God has plunked me down in the one church that would push all of my buttons. The place that has the outer culture of everything I have wrestled with my whole church life.Wealth, beauty, success, comfort. The inner sanctum of belonging that seems to include some but not others. But maybe I always carry a little of that with me.
“I feel very strongly that God has told me to go there, that I am to submit and be obedient, but it’s a struggle for me. It draws out all the former things I struggled with growing up,” I tell Jordan. He nods in understanding. He feels it too. We don’t fit.
“How would you expect to find community while you intentionally withdraw from it at some point? The disobedient cannot believe; only the obedient believe.” ― Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Discipleship
So, I struggled. I prayed and sought answers because I felt deflated. I felt like I would never find a place within the community and fabric of church where I would feel woven in and covered.
And I continued to struggle, doubting the value of church, and wondering if it was really worth the effort when I felt so disconnected.
And then I am standing in the common area, my hands cupped around a small white paper cup of coffee too hot to drink fast even though I am seriously lacking in caffeine, and she is introduced to me.
She says her name and we chat about how long she’s been coming to church and where she moved from and the ages of our children, she has two daughters tucked behind her, the youngest one clinging to her thigh. “Wow, this is the most people I have met the whole time I’ve gone here,” she says as she looks at us. And when she leaves, I am unsettled.
I am disappointed that the church isn’t better at including and connecting new people. I am bothered that I still feel disconnected. I am wondering why things aren’t more organized to let people know when and where they can connect.
And then it hits me, God speaking directly to my judgmental heart. You.
You could invite her over for dinner. You could grab a coffee with her. You could seek people out. You.
And I don’t want to be the problem.
I want the problems solved around me by the people who have the gift of hospitality and don’t stress out when they have new people over.
I want someone else to reach out and I just want to come along and be a part of something already up and running. After all, I home school 3 children, run a business, run a blog, tutor, suffer from very serious depressive episodes, I am only ever busy.
I’m the girl who puts ear buds in as soon as I take a seat on the plane even if no music is playing just so I can avoid conversation with my seatmate. When asked if I’d like to be on the connections team, I almost broke out in hives thinking of phone calls and chit-chat. Give me an envelope to stuff any day over having to call random strangers.
I can’t take that on. And I’m not guilt tripping and thinking I have to save every lonely or disconnected person by scooping them up and collecting them like lost puppies, but I also can’t ignore my place in it all.
If I see an issue and sit back with nothing more than judgments, then I’m not loving this church the way God has called me to. And if I’m not doing that, then it doesn’t matter if I’m front and center ever Sunday, I’m still not being obedient. And maybe the issues I see have more to do with my own heart than anything else. Maybe it’s always that way.