As many of you know, my husband and I have recently moved to Vancouver, Canada. However, that’s not what this blog is about.
In September/October last year I had a bit of a quarter life crisis, and although I’m not totally through the other side, I am in a much better place and have gained a lot of perspective.
We stopped going to church as a result of what happened – it was mostly caused by my work situation, and I was working for church at the time, which meant I really didn’t want to be at church on Sundays.
In January, after leaving my job, we faced facts and decided we should go to a different church. In February we started going to Tom’s old church in Southport. It’s a great church, with incredible vision for the town, and awesome people too.
Knowing that we were going to Canada in just a few months made it hard for me to properly commit or connect to the church and its people. I constantly had in my mind that we would be leaving soon so didn’t want to get too involved.
Now that we’ve arrived in Canada and are starting attending church here it’s hit me how much I’ve missed church in my life. Not so much my old church, to be honest I’m still harbouring a lot of hurt and pain in regards to that place, but I miss being part of a church community. I miss having a support network and family around me; people who encourage me in the Word; a place to learn and worship; somewhere to be challenged to be better and be more like Jesus; a church HOME.
You know that phrase “absence makes the heart grow fonder”? Well I kind of feel that’s relevant here. Because of how things happened with my old church it really affected how I see church in general. For months I have been thinking only negative things about the organised church – seeing the negatives far outweigh any positives and always looking out for them.
It’s hard to know how to handle that situation. You don’t get taught about that at any point. I have been praying for God to change my heart. I know loving Jesus also means to love the bride – His Church, so I know I can’t go on having this resentment toward it.
We joined a small group whilst at the church in Southport and the first night we went the leader announced we’d be talking through our relationships with God, our community and the church, and then praying for each other. Timely, right? I briefly spoke about where I was at, and someone said to me: “Don’t get the body of Christ and Jesus mixed up. Love Jesus and then loving the body will come from that.”
I’ve been thinking on it ever since, and still haven’t got any closer. I’ve still been in a negative frame of mind. A year after I started going to church I started working there, so most of my Christian development and growth have been alongside that, and don’t get me wrong there were years of good experiences and fantastic opportunities. However, I think this has been a huge stumbling block for me, because now that that element has gone, I’ve realised how much I’ve tied my identity in Christ to my job.
Like the person said to me in the small group, I need to focus on loving Jesus before anything else. Realistically, that’s what I miss the most about being at church. I’ve not been reading my Bible, or worshipping God, and my prayers have become like before I met Jesus – vague requests rather than intimate conversation.
So yeah right now, I’d say I’m homesick – homesick for heaven. Homesick for having Jesus by my side and walking through life with me day by day; decision by decision. I know how much He has done for me, and I know how great He is.
The absence from Jesus that I have put in place in my life has really made my heart grow deeply fonder of Jesus, making me long for those days to come back. When life is clouded by an event, it’s just tough to see where truth lies. I know what I should be doing deep down, but I don’t fancy the dig to get there because it’s hard!
I’m hoping through “journalling” these thoughts into this blog it will help to keep me afloat and accountable.
I know my situation is quite unique, but I’m sure many people can substitute “working for church” with something else they have anchored their faith in, and depended on in their journey, to have it crumble and then feel clueless as to which way is up. Maybe it’s a different job, a relationship, a health issue, I don’t know. But that feeling of not being able to talk to anyone about it, and not even knowing what you would say if you could – it’s a crappy place to be.
Let’s be honest, it’s really not where God wants us to be. He didn’t create us for misery and darkness, He created us for relationship with Him, for sharing His Good News with the world around us, bringing light to dark situations, and hope to moments of despair.
So here begins my slow journey back to a good place. Step by step. One day at a time.