, , ,

To be honest, I’ve never liked church.

As a little girl I was forced to sing “be careful little eyes what you see…be careful little ears what you hear”. I was told the Father up above was watching down in love…watching to see if I was obeying his many commands.

Things didn’t improve much when church became a popularity contest and the kids who didn’t “fit” got ignored. They never came back. They didn’t dress the right way or act the right way. The “good kids” with polo shirts and shiny loafers stayed. No one cared about the “other” kids. No one asked why they left.

In college, it was singlespalooza…or “this is not a dating service” (I would have hated to find a husband at church).

After college, I was done with forced, fake worship services, hypocrites, and feeling unwelcome in the very place I was supposed to be loved and accepted.

I gave up on church. Not God, his people.

A few years ago, my husband and I began attending church again. How did that happen?

We participated in the Celebrate Recovery ministry…a place for the broken…for sinners…for people in need of a Savior.

For the first time “church” felt like it should be…a place for broken people in need of redemption where all are welcome and no one is perfect.

We decided to visit a local church. On our first visit we were running a little late. We couldn’t see into the sanctuary, but we could hear what we thought was an Evanescence song blaring inside…maybe we were at the wrong place?

We decided to stay at the “Evanescence” church. We love our church, but I still do not like attending it.

I would rather be elsewhere on a Sunday morning. There are so many other things I could think of I would rather do. Yep, blasphemous.

I hate being forced to worship, especially when I’m not really feeling it. The music is usually way too loud and way too much like a concert. I am not a great singer and sometimes I just don’t like to sing. Worship means something different to me and it usually does not involve music.

Everywhere you look there are families with their kids hurrying about, overwhelmed with the pressures and priorities of everyday life…People bustling about, socializing, laughing, and forgetting.

What about the single person longing to find a mate? What about the couples struggling with infertility whose hearts long for a child?  What about those people? Who is reaching out to them in the midst of all the hustle and bustle with kids and social obligations?

Church is not usually a happy place for me. Honestly, it often feels fake. Maybe that’s due to my lackluster experiences with church growing up.

I’m tired of putting on a face. I’m tired of pretending I like it or pretending it gives me the warm fuzzies. Most of the time, it doesn’t.

Is Jesus mad at me because I hate going to church?

I don’t think so. When the hypocrites of his day were asking him why he ate with sinners and tax collectors, he told them he came to heal the sick. Healthy people don’t need a doctor.

I think he does want to me to go to church, anyway. Why?

Because of the single person longing for love who needs to know their life is meaningful….because of the couple struggling with infertility in need of hope and prayer…because of all those people…the sick, the hungry, the hopeless. They need the Healer and I do, too. The Body of Christ is supposed to be the best place to find him at work.

God has placed the ones others rarely notice on my heart. I have to do something, even if it means enduring worship I really don’t like or shaking hands with strangers when I really don’t want to…even if it means getting out of my comfort zone.

Otherwise, I’m the hypocrite. I’m the fake.

Have you ever hated going to church or have you ever stopped going?