Sometimes I wonder why I am a churchgoer. Well not just sometimes, all of the time. I probably think about this more than is considered sane. I would like to lay this consistent self-dialogue to rest. I find writing about troubling topics helps me to set it down and walk away.
Let’s face it, organized religion + imperfect people is a recipe for disaster. Sensitive people like myself are especially vulnerable.
There are so many reasons to NOT go to church. For an obnoxious person like me, there is a new reason about every minute. Embarrassing, but true.
They either don’t trust me to do anything,
or they ask me to do way too much. (I do realize this is a defeating paradox. And sometimes I actually feel both of these at the same time.)
I don’t have any real friends there.
I am not valued.
They don’t like me.
That guy just taught a bunch of crap over the pulpit.
I don’t agree with his viewpoint, or hers, or his, or hers, or his, or hers….this can keep going.
I’m too liberal.
That Bishop just pounded his fists on his desk and yelled at me to “repent”. (Yes, that did happen. And my husband was in the Bishopric. – It’s all patched up now. He was 80% right.)
That group of people I thought were my friends just outed me from the musical number.
That similar group of people outed my hubby from the college intramural basketball team.
That kleptomaniac stole my roast right out of the church kitchen.
They’re so full of themselves.
They play favorites.
No one understands me.
No one loves me.
I’m not a breastfeeding advocate.
I don’t do hypnobirthing. (ha. that’s not even a real word in wordpress)
The same ten people do everything, and my family members aren’t invited to the cool club.
I don’t 100% subscribe to essential oils.
I don’t want to be invited to your Mary Kay party.
They really don’t like me.
They never let me teach anyone older than 8 because they think I might corrupt them.
Those people I have to serve with dump everything on me.
The kids are way too out of control. Everywhere I go. No, not mine…the other ones.
You get the picture. I honestly could go on for at least another few web pages worth.
Why do I go? I go because no matter how dysfunctional they are (and, even more than them, no matter how dysfunctional I am) it’s home. It’s not my home. It’s my God’s home. And I need Him. I need Him more than the air I breathe. Sure, I probably do need Him more because of all of them, but I think that is part of the plan.
I don’t judge people who have left the church. I get it. Every explanation they give, I understand. If I don’t, I try to, with all my heart. I do not see myself as better as anyone because I stay and they don’t. But I do consider myself more blessed. Why? Because through all the crap, I go, I open my mind, and I let God love me…From His perfect house, full of imperfect people, HE ALWAYS LOVES ME. Even when they don’t. Especially when they don’t.
I am very much like Simon Peter. Let me take some liberty with the verses John 6:67-69…the italics are mine.
Then said Jesus unto the Alice, Will ye also go away?
Then Alice answered him, Lord, to whom shall I go? thou hast the words of eternal life.
And I believe and am sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.
Today, on a “thousandth something” of Sundays in a row, I made myself forget all the reasons to run away as fast as I could, and I went home to my Jesus. He sent a very loving message my way to remind me that He is the reason I do anything I do. Thank you, Jesus. I know you get it. Even when the lady in Sunday school today said that we can’t understand the verse about you asking God WHY he forsook you, I know you know about all the times I have asked the same question.
I know I will never experience the pain and suffering you did. I don’t even have the words to thank you for your infinite atonement, but I guess she was right to a degree: even when I feel like you and Father forsake me at times, I know you never have. I know it’s all just in my head. I also know you never will, no matter how much I want that untruth to explain my offenses. Please, please give me the strength to never ever forsake you either. Especially when I’m so quick to have hurt feelings. Especially when they are so quick to judge and misunderstand me.