Sunday, May 29, 2011

Sunday Sentiments: Church Rut

Sunday Sentiments is an attempt to record what God has been teaching me and the way in which He does it.

I tweeted this morning: "God and I are cool but I'm definitely in a 'not going to church' rut." 

I went to bed last night fully intending that I would go.  I tossed and turned, restless sleep. And when it was almost 7, I knew with assurance that I did not want to, nor could I go.

I love the worship and sermons at my church but I have not found true fellowship there yet. No one knows if I miss. I have no husband or kids motivating me out the door.

Sometimes I'll go Saturday night because I do enjoy having lazy Sunday mornings to read the newspaper and drink my Irish Breakfast tea. And sometimes I just wish that I had someone to sit with, so I'll attempt to go to the 8 am service when I can sit with my best friend and her family.

I was at a different church a few weeks ago while out of town and found myself distracted. The worship time was a show, the sermon difficult to follow and surface level only. It reminded me of my uneasy truce with church attendance.  It's not that we should go to church because of what we get out of it, though certainly there should be some sort of challenge and growth as a result. But we also shouldn't go out of a legalistic sense of duty.

It seems like for every 3 or 4 weeks that I attend church, there's a couple of weeks of absence. I wonder sometimes if I don't go to church because I can choose not to go.  I didn't go last week or this weekend but  I'll be back next week because this has been my trend the last few years.

Apparently I'm not the only one that feels this way. As I told a friend, I'm not sure why it happens, if it's me or if it's church itself or The Church. 

Is it a bad trend?  I'm not sure.  As my friend MK reminded me, maybe God is telling me to simply be still before Him and to listen.

Communion with God occurs in unexpected places. Today I am going to be still and I am going to listen.   

How do you feel about church attendance? Have you ever fallen into a rut?  And if not, what's your favorite flavor of Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream? 

7 comments:

  1. I do not fall into ruts but God has moved me from church to church over the last few years and I am in that place again...

    It feels so weird. This is the second week I woke up planning to attend and yet will not be. Today was supposed to be a park & potluck event and I even made a dish to share.

    I have had it in my spirit that this was ending but I thought I would have these last few days to meet with the group. It is a small group so it would seem like I could tell someone...

    When I am in a larger church where no one will really notice if I attend or not if I feel distracted and unmotivated it means it is time to move.

    Either God has a new one for me to check out or in this moment I am feeling more that I need to step out and do something for Him to gather others like us into a local group and see what God will do.

    I have experienced the power of a home church. I don't need a leader tho I am always open to following those who go before me as they follow Christ.

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  2. I have times where I completely agree. Today I went to church, more because I felt I needed to than anything... but when I arrived none of the people that I would "normally" sit with were anywhere to be found. I felt out of place and alone. But on the flip side, I got a wonderful message from God that I'm going to be blogging about (hopefully) today/tonight. :) It's still a battle though of what I really wanted & how I felt when I arrived there. :(

    BTW... I'm a chocolate chip cookie dough girl.

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  3. Oh church, the ever present question. I used to feel like I had to go...the more I let that go...it's funny, the more I want to go, but the more I want to go, the more dissatisfied I am with this this thing called "church", but at the same time I desire to see it better, a place where people truly can connect. I always though other people could, but I wonder how many truly to. People think because I'm a mom I do, but I realized today that the only people I know at church are carbon copies of me...husband, two kids. I have no idea how to connect with everyone else, I feel like no would want to.

    Anyway, church is many thing to me now and really it's community, so as far as I'm concerned your a big part of my church! :)

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  4. oh, i understand. MK is right. Be still before God, listen to what he is saying. he has something for you more wonderful than you can imagine.

    in the meantime, I'm your prayer partner in your search for community and fellowship with the body of believers that God chooses to surround you.

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  5. I used to have that exact problem about wanting to skip church. Once I realized about my codependent tendencies to go for other reasons than to feel God's presence. I used to be so disappointed that I wouldn't be noticed for 4 years and my pastor kept preaching, get into a small group, get into a small group from the pulpit. I finally joined a small group and God blessed me with friends coming out of the woodwork. My CR Sponsor once told me that all that I did in church was to help others and I needed to go to the service to be fed from God's word and God's people before I could feed others. Ever since then I really enjoy the service and time I get to hear from God. I am trying new churches right now and I love the freedom of being able to listen to different pastors and picking out what God has to say to me. I hope that you will find a church that helps you draw closer to Him, after all that is what it is about. My favorite ice cream is Cappachino Chunky Chocolate from Braums!

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  6. @SingleMamma, interesting that you've felt led to go from church to church. Once I've committed to a church, when I feel unrest, I wonder how I can be the change I wish to see there.

    @Julie, I definitely find that God will meet me if I show up. So I know I shouldn't base my church attendance on whether I "feel like it" because at the end of the day, that's not what church is about. I need to be with other believers, laying aside the burdens of the week and focusing on the One who matters most. I just wish I could get to the bottom of my malaise!

    @Jenn, oh friend. Yes, I desire to find the church a place where people can truly connect. I adore my church and have made friends there but have found it difficult to form community there. My friends are disparate, attend different services, etc. I don't know that you need to connect with everyone at your church but I'm sure there are people there that would love to be better acquainted with you. As a single, I'm so grateful for the married folks that have brought me into their lives. We all have much to learn from one another! If we were at the same church, our friendship would be a given:)

    @Doug, thank you for your prayers! I'm not convinced that I'm not at the right church because I have learned and experienced much there. After all, this is the church that makes me cry almost every time I'm there, that's how spiritually rich it is. The community will come in time.

    @Brownie, it sounds like you've grown so much! Like I told Doug, I'm not sure that the church itself is the problem. I've been going to different churches in the area since a friend moved here, to keep her company and to see what else is around since I settled at my church right after moving here. (I was familiar with it due to going there whenever visiting my best friend.) We shall see!

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  7. that's cool how you feel about the church. spiritually rich is definitely good :)

    i wasn't trying to suggest switching churches in your search for community. though I see how that could come through my thoughts and underlying my own transitions, which I think you're aware of.

    community in the body of Christ is so much more than simply one church congregation. I've recently joined a softball team, playing for a church league. My Pentecostal roommate recruited me to play with the Baptist team he was playing on last summer. It's going to be a fun summer.

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