As I thought about how to begin today’s post on the last question in my pastor’s New Year’s Eve sermon, I thought about all the frustration and anger I’ve experienced over the past few weeks and months. If you’re involved in a church or Christian community, you know what I’m talking about. The messiness of life. It’s hard for me to express messiness or conflict. I tend to bury it and try to forget about it, but this has built to the point where I can’t. When I’m considering finding another church, I know I need to write the words down so I can deal with the feelings.
There have been many changes in my life over the past few years, and more changes are coming with my younger son graduating from high school. I’ve written about this before, and I’m continuing to think about and work on what’s next in my life after graduation.
Where my frustration is coming from is how out-of-place I feel at my church. I don’t feel like I have a place to serve or even that I’m wanted, and I want both desperately. I want to feel like I fit in despite all my unique quirks. I want to be able to say the hard words and have things be okay afterwords instead of feeling like I’ve been shunted aside. I want to feel like I can ask questions instead of being told I shouldn’t. I want to feel like I’m where God wants me to be.
Then, there are the failed promises and the ‘It’s okay despite’ statements. The day I felt like a failure taking care of kids and never getting the apologies I was promised. The day I was told ‘It’s okay if you come to a prayer meeting (with elders’ wives) even though he’s (my husband) not an elder. He’s serving in another place.’ And how about the times I was asked to find an elder or an elder’s wife so they could pray with the people who were asking. That one has been the most frustrating of all. I am a Christian woman, a layperson, and I AM CAPABLE of praying. I’m also capable of serving. I know the leadership of the church gets frustrated with the people who sit in church on Sunday mornings and do nothing else, but I’m not one of those people. I want to pray; I want to serve; I want to feel like I fit in with my Christian community, and right now, I don’t.
So, these are the things I’ve been mulling over during the last few weeks and months, and you might wonder what that has to do with the final question. God brought that question to mind yesterday as I was dealing with how out-of-control my life has been. Where is my true loyalty? The answer to that one should be easy. My true loyalty, as a person of faith, isn’t and shouldn’t be to my church. It should be to my Lord and Savior. It should be to the One whose Son died on the cross for me over two thousand years ago. From John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” That is my true loyalty, and nothing else!
The last statement of the previous paragraph settles my heart in a way nothing else can. God is present in my life no matter where I go to church. He has led me to writing and relationships as a way to express my heart for Him. I don’t know what will happen with the rest of it. I don’t know if I will ever feel like I fit in. My place might be to stay with the oddballs in the background and look at the “cool kids” club with envy. I don’t know if God will lead me to another place to serve Him. I just know that I want to have a heart like His no matter where I worship Him!
Praying God’s blessings on you all today!