You wanna know a secret? I’ve learned this over the years and I have yet to be proven wrong: the more excuses you have not to go to church, the more you will get out of that service and the more God will reach you if you make yourself go. That happened to me today, I was fully on the fence about if I was going to go or not. Eric was camping with Evan and wouldn’t be going, Brit was over tired, I’d have to bring the dog with me and he’d have to stay in the car the whole time, I almost never miss church, so what’s the harm in not going this one time?? As soon as I thought that, I kicked myself in the butt and got up and got ready. And I’m so, so glad I did.
As some of you know, two Sundays ago I had the privilege of giving the message at my church. The weeks leading up to that were a time of deep spiritual reflection for me and a time where the door of communication between me and God was wide open. I could hear Him and I know He heard me. It was awesome. But it was also very draining. After I had given the message, I felt completely spent and was exhausted on a spiritual level, and that was something I hadn’t felt before to this degree. In preparing for this day, I was spending many nights down in our living room praying, reading my Bible, and furiously writing notes as I felt God telling me things. For hours! This was a really special and really precious time for me, but when it was over, I realized how little I’d been sleeping and decided to try to stay in bed more instead of coming down and I just kind of “pulled back” all around in matters concerning God. I almost felt like I needed a break. Not like a Ross and Rachel “we were on a break!” situation where I’d do anything straight-up displeasing to God, but I just didn’t feel like diving in and going deeper. My prayer life has been horrible since that day and I feel that the door of communication with God was closing little by little, because I was the one inching it further and further shut.
Monday night we received the cat scan results for my chest and it showed two little lesions in my lungs. I was devastated. I remember bawling and crying into my husband’s chest as he was holding me, “I just don’t understand!” I just kept repeating that phrase between sobs. I didn’t understand. I felt like I was living a life pleasing to God, so why was this happening? This also pushed me back a little in my walk with Him. I can’t lie to you; I get mad at God sometimes! And yes, I know my anger is misplaced, it’s just that you desperately want to blame someone and, well, there really isn’t anyone else. I’m not doubting Him or that there is a plan here, but sometimes I just feel like I’m not the one for this. That I’m not strong enough, that I don’t have things together enough, that my faith is too shaky to handle all of this. 95% of the time, I don’t think like this, but in the 5% that I do, it can be debilitating.
So fast forward to this morning. I did not want to go to church. I love church. I love going. I love being there. And I love the feeling I have leaving, often like I’m recharged and ready to keep living for Him and His purpose. Today was such a struggle for me and then it hit me- every single time I feel like this I end up having a really special experience at church. Call me crazy (doesn’t bother me!), but I know that that is the enemy’s way of keeping us from these experiences. (If you believe in God, then you cannot deny the existence of the other guy.) I do not much like talking about him because I feel like I’m giving that turd validation and credit and I do not like doing that. But when I feel in my heart that I don’t want to go to church, that’s when I kick myself in the butt and make myself go! And I’m never ever sorry I did. I needed to hear the message today. I needed to hear that we do not always need to understand God’s plan! If God is with us, sometimes that just needs to be enough. I need to rest in the fact that God is with me and that trust is necessary, not understanding. I was able to go to the altar and pray and just kick open that door and let God in again. Ahh, I feel much better!! It’s quite scary how easy it is to fall away from God, of our own doing, not His. Sometimes it’s a conscious decision, like it was in my case the past few weeks, and sometimes I think people just keep making little sacrifices here and there and don’t realize how much they’ve backslid until one day the bottom drops out and they can’t feel God anywhere in what they’re going through.
Don’t get me wrong, I never stopped loving God or being a Christ follower in any of this, but I did have a rude awakening this morning of just how much constant and diligent fellowship with God is necessary. And I realized how much I missed it. I’m back on track now, ready to listen and grow and do the work! Just remember, when the excuses are piling up, and you don’t have an actual legit reason not to go to church (sick kids, you’re away, etc) get your butt there! You’ll be glad you did.
I’m so glad God cleared my mind about understanding. I know that in Proverbs we are told not to lean on our own understanding, and I do try to keep that in mind, but I needed to stop trying to understand the plan. He’s given me some understanding and acceptance that my situation is to be used for His purpose overall, but what I found myself doing was picking apart every little detail of everything that happened to me trying to look for the “higher purpose” in it, and I was just frustrating myself. So glad for the reminder today that I don’t need to understand everything or put the pieces of the puzzle together, I just need to keep on the path and keep the door open.
I stumbled across this, I hope it helps you as much as it did me!