Let me give you a brief synopsis of life in my world the last little while.
I haven’t been that happy.
And I haven’t wanted to talk about it. To anyone. At all.
But here I am, talking about it, because it’s time.
Well….. I’m typing about it, as if blogging it seems to have less of a heavy weight of having to get it out there, even though more people are going to read it than I would actually spill my guts to…. but I’ll pretend I didn’t realize that logic, and on I shall write.
Though not entirely certain why I haven’t been all that happy, I have a few theories, and I imagine it’s a culmination of the lot of them, rather than one specific thing.
Theory # 1: I’ve gained 45 pounds in the last two years. I feel gross. I also struggle with emotional eating. Big time… SO ipso facto colombo oreo, I get mad that I’ve let myself gain weight, and I eat because I’m mad. But it’s not just when I’m mad that I eat. It’s when something is awesome, or stressful, or celebratory, or because I’m bored…….. really, I don’t need a reason. I like food. But it’s come down to this: I’m unhappy where I am, and eating is only going to make it worse. Plus, this is not what God wants for my body. For my mental health. For me. I always feel better after I’ve eaten better or gotten exercise, but that “in the moment” default action gets me every time. I have a support system in place to help me break those patterns…… but it’s going to be hard.
Theory # 2: I’m single. I’m not going to whine about this, because I’ve hashed it all out before, and I’m at a point right now where I genuinely don’t care. It’s not worth fretting about, it’ll happen eventually, when the timing and the guy are both right. Whatever. But has it been a contributing factor? I certainly wouldn’t doubt it.
Theory # 3: Work is a struggle right now. There are people I’m not getting along with, and big political S words (strike…) are being thrown around, and I don’t like it. But I’ve talked about all that too. And I won’t hash that out again either, because I’m sometimes hourly giving that back to God, as I have enough life experience to remind me that He will take care of me, and worrying won’t. Which is the better option? duh…. haha.
Theory # 4: I have hardly spent any time with God, in the Bible, etc. in the past little while. Part of running from yourself involves running from the One Person who can see all of you and everything about yourself that makes you sick, too, I guess…
Theory # 5: I had a convicting summer where I was challenged and stretched and yanked out of my comfort zone. And it made me think about how I do things. Things like not getting involved in the ministries at church. And here’s the hard part to admit, that I don’t know if I could admit to anyone sitting across a table from me… so please respect the very raw nature of this post. I have had a tendency throughout pretty much my entire church-going life……. which is my whole life….. to get involved as little as possible. I don’t want to give up my time. I’m selfish that way. I can give up money, fine, whatever, not an issue. I can sing, I enjoy that. But I don’t want to teach Sunday School or Junior Church, and I don’t want to volunteer here or there or anywhere really, and I’ve wanted people to just leave me alone about it.
I started to feel convicted about that. I started to feel like I wasn’t giving/doing enough, and like I needed to check my heart and my motives. I started to think thoughts like “this church isn’t doing anything for me.”
Of course it wasn’t. I was doing basically nothing in return.
So…. long story short, I fled. I ran. I left. And what I left behind broke me even more.
I left behind a community of people who love me, support me, affirm me, encourage me… and I intensely value and appreciate the love and dedication to me that these people have shown. They haven’t let me run too far, even though I left them behind trying to run from my self.
I thought I could run to a new church and be anonymous. I thought I could go, and sit, and learn…. and not be asked to do anything else. I could just exist.
Well, I don’t know what I was thinking…. but God obviously met me in that stupid idea and said “I know what you can try…. go to the Meeting House.”
What I quickly found upon arrival was that I couldn’t do that. Even moreso than in the community that I left, I felt like I needed to be involved, to be serving… we are, after all, the hands of God… and faith without works is dead. My second week in they put out an all-call for volunteers and I rationalized away… I don’t have time. I can’t. I work with kids all week, I don’t want to on Sunday morning. I need a break. Oy.
God met me there and convicted even harder. But at the same time, I started to deeply miss the community that I left behind. And I left them behind for stupid reasons. Family programming that doesn’t let me in (technically speaking I suppose) because I don’t have a family…. I translated that into “I don’t belong anywhere.” That was never the intent. The intent behind that programming is to foster an environment where families can bring their children, get to know other families better, and fellowship in their similarities while being a community where they feel comfortable raising their children… who will later become the church. Family ministries should be strong and well developed. I respect that intent. I support it. I love it, in fact. But I was too blind to my own selfish whining to see it.
And…. what I found when I got to the new church was that they do it too. Who knew? A thriving church would have a good family ministry….
I left because I thought I could go and meet Mr. Right and settle down and get married. It could happen… sure. But I promised myself a long time ago that I wouldn’t let my desire to be married get in the way of what God wanted from me or where He wanted me. So if that’s my only reason….
Shame on me.
I left because of some silly other little reasons.
Basically, it all comes down to this:
I thought if I left and went where no one knows me I would be safe from having to explain why I was perfectly comfortable sitting in a seat and refusing to get involved, and I would be able to just hide in comfort, with no one asking questions and no one prying… no one asking if I’m ok.
Well, yeah, I could. I could easily just blend in and not be noticed. Come and go without consequence…
But it turns out that I went to the wrong church if I thought I was going to be able to sit and merely exist. In fact, part of last week’s sermon involved the truth that you can’t and shouldn’t just go to church to learn, that the church IS the body of Christ, and we need to ACT. The past 6 weeks that I’ve been there, I’ve been convicted a bit each week about something else that I thought I was running from…. to the point where this past week when we were urged to get involved and use more than our heads, it became pretty clear that while it’s a great place to be, it’s not the right church. I love the preaching, but I can get that online. I’m pretty thoroughly convinced that I’m not where I’m supposed to be and that I need to go back.
I need to go home. Back to my church home.
I don’t know if I’d go so far as to say that God had me leave so I could get stirred up to want to come back and actually be a part of the community that I was taking for granted, but the thought has crossed my mind.
At any rate, I’ve spilled my guts now.
I’ve wrestled and come to grips with the fact that I was where I was supposed to be all along. Maybe I needed to drift away for a bit to see the value and figure that out… Maybe I’m a prodigal church-goer. Who knows. What I do know is that God met me in my brokenness without my even knowing He was doing it, without my even knowing what I wanted or needed. He met me there.