Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE sleeping in as late as I want on a Sunday morning. Who would have thought that
Sundays, of all days, would be the most relaxing day of the week? It’s right at the end of your weekend and you’ve finally reached PEAK relaxation. Not only that, but it is also your last day before another work week that we ALL know entails all the emails, phone calls, meetings, conversations, tired nights, and lunch breaks which are all too short.
I Grew Up In Church
It can be a lot and trust me when I say, I GET IT! I’ve been that Christian churchgoer that while growing up was at church EVERY SINGLE SUNDAY. I was the poster child for the church girl that somehow helps in every department and just bounces from cutting paper to helping stack chairs. There did come a point in my life, where it was as if I ran right into a brick wall.
I had just finished a year-long ministry school, which involved Monday-Thursday extra-long church days with small groups. But also going to at least 1 church service on a weekend. I’ll tell you what, at the moment, it was amazing. I don’t like using this phrase but I would really call it the most “spiritual peak” time of my life by far.
How Skipping Church Led To Absence
Over and over I pushed it farther and farther in the back of my mind and also out of my sight. I got married in August and mind you, my fiancé and I at the time were going through this exact season together. The continual enabling of skipping church was laughable! Then before I knew it, it was Christmas time and hey, our family is going to church we should too! Then again we continue to miss and nothing sparks inside of us and no initiative is made to change course.
Then I was hired on, funny enough, AT a church that was big enough that this went mostly unnoticed, so even while on staff my church-going was not even remotely what I’d call admirable. If anything I’d label it embarrassing.
And the cycle continued. Months go by and then Easter rolls around, well, of course, we go to church! Everyone goes to church on Easter, right? Some may even believe in a spaghetti-god, or some other non-Christian deity and still go to church on Easter! It comes and it goes and nothing changes.
In fact, here are some statistics about church attendance in the USA, that may surprise you. According to several Gallup polls, only 20% of Americans attend church regularly. What’s more, in a study conducted by Marler and Hadaway, it was discovered that the majority of Christians they interviewed don’t belong to a local church, and only attend church services about 12 times per year.
At this point, it had been over ONE YEAR that church had become my absolute lowest priority. Could you imagine the guilt and shame of someone that people know as a Christian but had no church community whatsoever? Yes, I worked at a church so physically sure I “went to church” because it was where my desk was (mind my sarcastic tone) but there was no worship in my life, very little prayer, and even less listening to any drop of spiritual wisdom from someone on a stage, podcast, or otherwise.
I Justified Not Going To Church
I explain all of this to you because during all this time I had realized something. I was justifying myself by saying the same thing so many of us have said or thought: “I don’t need anybody.” Somewhere along the line, maybe it’s the hook of learning so much through a ministry school, or my own life experiences steering my ship, but I began to truly think that I knew enough and people would only slow me down.
Like it or not, and I did NOT like it, people are messy. Just like me, people are flawed, imperfect, with mistakes galore. And to me, I thought it would be best if I could just skip that altogether! Who needs people when all they have are problems? God, you must be sick of them because I sure am, so who needs ‘em?!
And that’s where I missed it. I had inadvertently, without searching for it, grabbed on for dear life to that destructive thing we call Pride. I thought I was better, smarter, less messy, whatever it might be, than everyone around me. So
much so that I couldn’t even stand to be around the people I once saw as a community, a home, a Church. Some people like church because they LIKE fixing people and that’s their own prerogative, but I, however, had the opposite problem.
It Wasn’t Easy, But It Was Needed
I will tell you this… it took time, and it’s still taking time, to learn how to give people a break. To love when it’s hard to love the way that I have been loved by God. In fact, I will be very honest with you. Jumping back into church wasn’t easy for me at all. I had many afternoons after service where I thought the VERY wrong thoughts of: “I would have done this differently” or “I don’t like how this looked” and even “That phrasing could have been smoother.” The list of criticisms went on and on!
I know I can say this and be vulnerable about how yes, I don’t always have the most gracious thoughts because I
know so many people struggle with the same thing just like me. But instead of letting that pride sink in and allowing it to push its roots right into the deepest places of your heart, take the time to assess why.
Why are you wondering about this or assuming that?
Why have you forgotten that God has been gracious to you?
How can you extend that out to your own community of believers, the church, and others around you?
So maybe it’s not just the idea of sleeping in that’s keeping you from going to church. For me, it sure wasn’t. But whatever it might be for you, uncover it, root it out and confront it. Don’t live a life unfulfilled because you don’t want to face the dark parts that you think that you can’t let go of. Live life in community, in freedom, and in love.