Today is Sunday.
& every Sunday for the last four years of my life I spent this time standing in the front row of church; Putting on my best face, my cutest yet modest outfit, my best version of who I thought I was.
I love Jesus, with every square inch of my being, and I believe in the heart of a lot of churches. But I’m thankful that, on this Sunday, it’s just me and my mat.
I didn’t bring my best, I brought my worst; my makeup-less, shower-less, brokenness. I’ve somewhat traded my front row, perfect, safe, comfortable ‘we want to be like you’ influencer position in church for my sweaty, 3mm yoga mat. And somehow, I feel more like a christian than I did when I was immersed in church.
Sometimes God takes you through the most unusual of circumstances to get you to see the most important lessons.
Sometimes it’s not about how you appear to others as a christian. Instead it’s how your heart appears to God.
Sometimes it’s not about the things that you don’t do because you’re a christian and instead about the things that you do actually do.
So on this Sunday… & the several months of Sunday’s before and after this one that I’ve been absent from church and present on my mat… I’ve never felt more alive. I’ve never felt more connected to God. I’ve never felt more connected to me.
My blinders have been removed and I can see things more clearly now. I can see people’s intentions very clearly. I can see how my ignorance was bliss… Actually, my ignorance was lust. I had a lustful relationship with church… It was never true love, it was always conditional, for both of us. It was a very passionate thing, until it wasn’t. It was my life, until it wasn’t.
It’s still confusing to me why my break up with church happened when it did. When I needed it to not happen the most. It’s still a little unclear why it hurts so much to watch from the outside as if time stopped for me, but no one else. It’s weird to me that despite all of the bitterness that I’ve been hoisting up onto my back everyday, I can’t even try to blame it on God or resent my faith. It’s messy to me that my heart was broken by the one thing associated with healing broken hearts.
However, one thing is very, very clear now; we can make our plans, but God gets to determine our steps (proverbs 16:9).
I’m not saying all of this to suggest that church is bad or wrong or that you should never go or stop going. No. I’m saying this for me. MY relationship with church was bad. I had it all wrong… And maybe that’s my fault or maybe it’s how I was taught what church is. Regardless, this had to happen for me. We had to break up. I had to spiral. I had to get lost so that I could be found. I had to detox out what I thought being a christian meant. I was stagnant in my walk. I was blind to ugly truths; both about myself and church. I was ignorant, judgmental, proud, self righteous and broken. And I looked like everyone else that church’d. God says that I’m set apart but I wasn’t doing anything to be set apart. Sure, I was doing a ton (I mean a ton) of things. But with what heart? I talked about having the right heart, but did I really?
See, you may think that your walk with Christ or your spiritual journey should or will look a certain way… And maybe it will… but despite the plans that we make for our lives, God reserves the right to determine the steps that we take to get there. He cares, deeply, about our desires… what we want… but he also sees around the corner & arranges our lives in such a way that we don’t have to encounter what’s lurking there. It’s called grace & it’s beautiful. & it’s for everyone. Including me, who broke up with church (for now). Including you, wherever it is that you’re at in this life.
So I need this… this Sunday on my mat. Not to isolate, not to pout or resent, not to prove something… just to be, for once, myself. My raw, broken, sinful, beautiful, gifted, loved self. Like so many bible characters were; they just were. & just as grace is; it just is.
Stop being and just be.
“What happened to the girl
That you used to be?”
Like static filling my mind.
I died to self alright,
Tasting how it feels to be loved by your kind.
Peeling away the things that made me stand tall.
Some days I feel everything all at once
Others, I feel nothing at all.
Come as you are..
But not like that
Hold onto hope..
But let fear sit where hope sat.
Have I died?
Or was I ever alive?
Gone without a trace.
This tastes nothing like grace.