I have alot on my heart tonight.
I've been thinking lately about my life. About having joy. Joy in the hard times. Joy when life sucks. My dad hates it when I use that word, but sometimes there aren't any other words to describe life. Sometimes, things just suck. Big time.
I've lived alot of life in my 26 years. I've had my heart broken -no, shattered. I've cried late into many nights and greeted the dawn with puffy eyes. Did I think my life would look like this? Not always, no.
You see, I was born into a very conservative Christian and church going home. ((We're talking, Bible believing God fearing, homeschool-your-children-public-school-is-evil type Christians. Good people, loving people)) .I was raised to fear God, and love God. I somehow transfered that into fearing God more than I loved him.
Growing up in the church has its advantages. It also has it's disadvantages. I love my church family. I don't love the criticism and clicks. I used to be one of those hypocrites. Praising Christ on Sunday. Sneaking alcohol on Tuesday. I eventually realized that lying to people really bugged me, and so I stopped going to church all together. Coming back to church has been redeeming. Refreshing and renewing.
Yet I sense something that I dislike about churches sometimes.
It's in every church. Sometimes I don't even think people know they are doing it. God forbid I ever do it.
Church has.... Hyprocites. Back-biters. Gossipers. Slanderers. Some church people can more hurtful than some non-church people. I really hate it when church has it's clicks. The cool people. You know, the groups?
They really bother me.
(( Ever think about getting to know someone new? Walking up to a total stranger and asking them to join your small group? Your worship night? Word gets around in churches. You would probably be surprised how many people are hurt by exclusions.))
While there just isn't room for everyone in your immediate circle of friends, being someone who openly and lovingly has a "spirit of welcome" around themselves - those are the people I gravitate towards. And wish to be.
That is why it is sometimes hard for me to go to church.
Guess what? Thats just life. Those are just people. Sinful people. These people will let you down. Our pastor - his sermon today was about this. Don't think that people won't let you down. People in the church. Friends. People you look up to. They will hurt you. Intentionally or unintentionally. That's just life!
Don't let that keep you from God. Don't let that keep you from seeking out and running towards a loving, open-arms, merciful Savior.
Sometimes I don't feel brave enough to walk into my church. Everyone knowing every thing. Everyone knowing about my life, the sins I have commited. The bad choices I have made. Although my church is not small, my family has attended since I was born. These people have been my fans, cheering me on from the sidelines, for years.
I've made most of my best friends through church. I've had people dontate cars to me through church. I've gotten random gas cards, random notes of love and encouragement. Wow..these acts of Gods love, provided through church people, still send shivers down my spine!
Yet sometimes I feel selfishly grumpy that everyone knows me. That I can't just walk in and be anonymous. I toy with the idea of going to a new church to fellowship in. Where no one knows me, or has pre-concieved notions about how far I should be in my spiritual walk by now.
Yet Sunday after Sunday I walk in. I sit. I usually cry. I try to soak up truth. Prepare my heart for the long week ahead.
And sometimes I get hurt. Come on ladies, you know what I'm talking about.
"Why didn't she look at me when she walked past?"
"Did he give me a funny look just now?"
"Ugh - I DO NOT want to see that person. Pretend I'm looking into my purse for something..."
I avoid people who I think wronged me. I hold grudges I don't even know I'm holding. And I'm ready to let that all go now.
Some people are selfish.
Some people are self seeking.
Some people are rude.
God is not.
DON'T LET SINFUL PEOPLE OF GOD KEEP YOU FROM A SINLESS GOD.
In the end, these people are just on this journey called life along with me. Fellow sojourners. Friends and family. Friends and family hurt each other. But God never hurts. God never is rude. God is never hypocritical.
So I'll say it again -
DON'T LET SINFUL PEOPLE - AND WE ARE ALL SINFUL AND CHURCH IS FULL OF PEOPLE -
BLOCK YOUR VIEW OF WHO GOD IS.
PEOPLE ARE NOT PERFECT AND ARE NOT ALWAYS LOVING.
Dont seek church status, friendship status, or the title "MOST spiritually mature."
Seek God and his reckless love for you.
Seek the Son of God who poured his lifegiving blood on a splintered wooden cross-
He will never fail you.
Today I heard a great line in a worship song, and I wrote it down.
"Redeeming love has been my theme."
that just about sums it up.