I’ve been trying to write this post for months. Literally. It’s been sitting in my draft folder like,
I think “trying” is the problem, so I’m just going to write and see what happens. I pray whoever takes the time to read this will be blessed!
First up, transparency.
My husband and I had to make a significant change in our lives. Since I’m honest, we waited a year because…uh, we didn’t want to do it. We were comfortable in certain areas of our lives and feared the unknown. By the time we decided to be obedient to the Lord, things had gotten pretty interesting, to say the least. You all know that changing churches can be kind of a big deal. I think what made our situation teeter toward shocking is that we didn’t say anything until it was time for the mandatory evacuation. LOL
I’m laughing, but I’m serious.
Finally, we knew what we had to do. We met with our then pastor twice, and was very clear that our leaving had nothing to do with the ministry and that we would recommend the church to anyone. (And we have.) He asked questions that made us discuss things that had nothing to do with why we were leaving. Again, had we let him know a year prior that it was coming, things would’ve been different. To be honest, my husband and I didn’t want to leave, so it took an entire year for us to go. (Maybe I’ll post the whole story one day.) Check this out. During the 6.5 years we were there, I probably learned and grew more than all the prior years I had been saved combined. I won’t bore you with any more details except that we left on a good note. Unexpected but good, as evidenced by the nice email the pastor sent out regarding our departure.
I thank God for His mercy and grace because we chose to be disobedient by staying as long as we did, which shows that we clearly didn’t trust God in that capacity.
Of course, the enemy will try to use anyone who will allow him space. Ephesians 6:12 says it best, For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
No matter what people have said, boldly in our faces or cowardly behind our backs, we have kept our eyes on Jesus and our mouths closed. (Character/integrity before feelings.) Because of that significant and unexpected (though delayed) change that we HAD to make, we are at a point in our lives where we WOULDN’T be had we not listened to the Lord. It’s not for anyone else to understand.
Now, onto the #CheckYourHeart topic.
I know that was a long introduction, but trust me, it was necessary.
Lately, I’ve had several conversations with people who are contemplating leaving their church. Most of them have been Christians for over a decade and operate in some leadership capacity. The reasons varied, but the leading and most commonly stated was they were no longer being fed.
A good friend of mine (friends for decades) told me to post what I told her because it gave her a different perspective on attending church, so here it goes.
You must hear from Jesus and listen when deciding, including staying at or leaving a church. Whether you decide to stay or leave, you have to focus on Jesus and connect with Him daily, more than ever. If He hasn’t told you to go, then there’s a reason for you to stay. Take in more of Him than ANYTHING, so if the pastor (or whoever is speaking) misses it in his message, you won’t be affected by it. Go Full So That You Won’t Feel Unfed!
Side note: Our hearts have to be open to receive. Can we blame the messenger if we’re sitting in church with heart issues? This is another whole topic. End of side note.
I go to church to worship Jesus and to serve. Do I expect to hear a word from the Lord? Yes, of course. Does it matter who delivers it? No. Here’s the thing. It’s not the goings-on at the church that gives me strength, peace, joy, validation, life, breath, ability, etc. It is my relationship with Jesus. I must consume more of Him than anything else in my life. What I used to do Isn’t Enough.
It took me a long time to realize that I had been doing a lot in my own strength, and I think there are a lot of people…God-fearing people, who are doing the same. We have to rely on the Lord. The people I mentioned are all super busy with their lives as well as serving in their churches. If we don’t leave ample time in our schedule to connect (pray, study, read & meditate on the Word, etc.) with our Source (God), feeling empty and unfed is inevitable. He’s our lifeline.
I may be going out on a limb with my next statement. For those of us who have been in the Lord for a while, the messages we hear at church should be a confirmation or a reminder of what we’ve studied. Ask not what your church can do for you. Ask what you can do for your church. LOL (Yeah, I know JFK said country. Country didn’t fit, so I improvised.)
On another note, sometimes it’s necessary to take a break from serving/activities in church and outside of the church. We have to take care of ourselves. The word “no” is a complete sentence. Don’t let anyone make you feel bad about needing a break. It’s all about finding the right balance.
I’m not exempt. I’m just…
Blogging It Out!! Oh, and I guess since I stopped trying, the end happened. LOL
I can’t wait to read your comments. 🙂