It used to be that enthusiasm would enthrall my heart as the weekend drew nearer. I began to look forward to the possibility of not cooking on Friday evening. Then Saturday would be a recreation day for our family and then Sunday Church. We would see our friends at church and then many would gather at our home for a pot luck dinner. Weekends were always so much fun!
Now as the week comes to an end and Saturday approaches I find myself more and more dreading knowing that Sunday is almost here. To the point that I begin having panic or anxiety attacks. Seldom do I find peaceful sleep or rest on Saturday night. Church was meant to be a wonderful place for believers to come together to worship. That absolutely is not what it has become for me.
Somewhere along the line it has become what I might call a “traditional play or skit” for people and they’re calling it church. The audience sits waiting for the performance to begin. Every week its 4 songs, announcements, pass the plate & someone shows off their best singing voice. Then the audience listens to the guy stand up and scream at them about what God is saying. There are times that man behind the pulpit has done so many things to tear Christians down, I really don’t want to hear what he is saying. And to think I’m suppose to listen to what God is telling me through Him?
When it’s all over, you file out the door, fake smiles and greetings with people and head for home. On the way home you discuss the entire “traditional skit” that just took place. Did you agree with what was said? Why did she sing that song? What was the song leader thinking by picking out those hymns? Then it may be the ‘ole rip apart everyone that didn’t do things exactly the way you thought it should be done.
One week rolls around and you do it again. Nothing changes. Just change the songs and the singers. It’s the same every week; same song, same dance, same fake smile. Heb. 10:25 does say, “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together…” but that’s a far cry from ‘Do not forsake going to a place and watching a “traditional skit” that hasn’t changed in the years since you’ve been going.’
I used to believe that…. “Not forsaking the assembling,” because that is I was taught. I was taught every believer needed the fellowship, the preaching, and the singing that comes from conventional church attendance. For many people, church attendance is a healthy factor of their personal walk with Christ. For me, it was having the opposite effect.
We’ve all heard the phrase, “You won’t grow as a Christian unless you’re attending church regularly.” Or maybe it was yelled from the pulpit, “If you’re only in church on Sunday morning, you’re just 1 service away from being out of church for good.” For us Baptist that believe our salvation is eternal, this is an interesting thought. Christ is strong enough to secure our salvation but not strong enough to hold our attention on him except inside a church building.
I want to scream right back at them….“God doesn’t just speak to me through the sound system inside a church”
Do I like the feeling of not wanting to go and be with (supposedly) other fellow Christians in organized church services? No. But I know that I am a sick. I know I am very sick. I know I am a contamination to the other believers. I for one, got so distracted from God while I was sitting in the audience watching the “traditional skit.” I for one, have too many wounds from being purposely hurt, wronged, isolated, burned, or ostracized. I’m talking about serious abuse to my family. I’m sure it was due to my own problems and not the church’s problems. Mmmm…. Or was it all me? But the overwhelming judging of others and constant comparing of others became so loud around me that I could not focus on ‘His Still Small Voice.’ That Wonderful – Masterful – Glorious – Perfect Voice.
I feel quite confident there are many more that are even main actors performing in the “traditional skit” and in the audience that feel the same way I do. I feel I’ve been watching re-runs for too many years now. I do know that church isn’t the only place I feel the connection with fellow Christians. Yes, I think God recognizes that too because I am important to God. I know that I am growing and am re-learning how to lean on His Everlasting Arms. I’ve had to do that a whole lot this year.
You see, when my husband and I pray together, I feel a sweet spiritual connection. When he and I have devotion, there’s such a sweet spirit. There is no animosity in his heart toward anyone nor is he an actor in the “traditional skit.” He’s just one man connecting with God. That’s what I love.
I do attend church regularly. I deal with my own panic attacks. I know in my heart, deep down in my heart, this is what I am supposed to do. There are some churches that draw me in and have not been caught up in the performance. I love that. I thank God for these leaders.
For now, I am just focused on trying to be honest with God. ~Jen