Sunday, February 2, 2014

Why I Skipped Church Today

I look forward to Sunday mornings -teaching Sunday School, enjoying fellowship with others in the congregation, the service, Holy Communion, time with God, hearing His Word. I truly enjoy church. I crave it.

And today, I'm not going.

There are a list of reasons why - my 17 year old son is going to have a girl over (never leave teenagers alone in the house...); and I'm waiting on a phone call from my husband to see how he's doing; and some of the kids aren't feeling very well; and I think I'm developing a cold; and I still have to finish digging the car out of the snow so we can go shopping this afternoon; and I have to get the house clean and laundry finished.

These are all true and legitimate (to a degree) reasons. But the real truth is...

I Don't Want to Go to Church

Last night I argued with myself about going - I'm supposed to read Scripture today during service, so I really should go. But I just plain don't want to. I don't want to worship God. I don't want to deal with people. I just plain and simple do not want to go. But, I'm supposed to. But, I have to read. But...

Well, quite frankly, if the only reason I'm going to church is out of obligation, I don't think that's right. That isn't truly honoring God.

Ok, so yeah, that's just another excuse. I just don't want to go. My heart isn't in it. And people just suck. I don't want to deal with the fake concern. I don't want to hear another person say "I'm praying for your husband, and you, and your family." I don't want to hear another person say "If you need anything, let me know" when they don't truly mean it. Or, actually, even if they do mean it.

Don't get me wrong - I know some of the people saying these things really do mean it. And I don't mean to offend anyone. But there are people saying these things that never give my husband the time of day.... never give me the time of day. They are so embedded in their own lives that any other time of the year, they don't even realize we exist. But suddenly, because he's sick, they feel the need to say something to me.

So, here are a few of the things that are nice to hear when they're meant, but the problem is...

I'm Praying For You

This really is nice to hear from some people. And for those people I know mean it, this really is all that needs to be said. I know that when they say "I'm praying for you," they really are praying for me. Their thoughts and hearts and love are directed in my direction and the direction of my family, and they are asking God for healing and comfort for us.

But for those who usually don't talk to me... it comes across as being just something meaningless, uttered because they feel it's what they're supposed to say or do.If you want it to mean something - get to know the people you're praying for. Try to understand what they're going through. Don't just pray because that's what you're obligated to do. Pray because you mean it.

Want to go a step further? As the person if you can pray with them... right then and there. Drop what you're doing and send a prayer up. Hold the person's hands and say a prayer. Chances are, the person you're praying for can't find the words to pray him/herself. He or she needs your help - your words.

Let Me Know if There is Anything You Need

 Again, a very nice sentiment - when it's meant. But, the problem is, when someone is going through a rough time, they often don't know what they need. Their mind is going in a hundred different directions, and they just don't know.

On Monday, I called 911 around 9:30 in the morning. At 3:30, we were driving from one hospital to another while my husband was being transferred by ambulance. My kids were home, and scared. My mind was frantically worrying about my husband and my children at the same time. A friend called me. She asked how he was doing, and how I was doing. 10 minutes later, I got a text from my kids... this friend had called over there and informed them she would be ordering pizza for them for supper. She didn't ask me on the phone if I needed anything. She just jumped into action.

I'm not saying you need to spend money on the person. I'm just saying, instead of only asking, actually do something. Call the person just to see how he/she is doing. Stop by with a pan of brownies (chocolate makes everything better for a few minutes). Stop by and offer to shovel their drive, or mow their lawn. Stop by with a cup of hot coffee or a hug. Offer to listen... and then actually listen. Offer them a shoulder to cry on... and let them cry.

Sentiments Are Easy

It is really easy to say "I'm praying," or "I'm here if you need anything." I know. I say these things all the time as well. And, I do mean them. But, I often forget that they can sometimes come across as meaningless if they aren't supported by actions. And so I do apologize to those I've said these things to without considering what they're actually going through.

That said, I'm going to go back to sulking and hiding and ignoring the world and skipping church.

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