It’s been almost 3 years that I have not really enjoyed church. I’ve wanted more from church, I’ve wanted church to be more than a pep talk, sing a long rally, (that’s what it began to feel like to me). I wanted to see and feel church move to those that needed Jesus not those who already knew and loved Him.
I talked about this with anyone and to some people I talked about it all the time. My dear friend Thais said to me once “Bronwyn, you’ve been talking about this for 2 years, what are you going to do about it?” Family members would give me a funny face and say “You are still going there? I thought you wanted a change?”
I didn’t have the community I wanted in church, I tried and time and time again there was no reciprocation, there was rejection and I began to not care. I was just going to church because that is what we do as believers, because as a parent I need to model the importance of corporate worship and I was hoping my kids were not focusing on the fact that my heart was not in it. Internally, I wrestled with the Christian to do’s. I am a rule follower. It gives me structure, it measures performance and as perfectionist it gave me a standard. The honest truth is I have been known to follow the rules to the detriment to myself, others and my most important relationships. I was just hoping that in the doing church a spark would go off, I would feel refreshed and alive again spiritually. But as time went on I dreaded Sundays and it was hard to get out of bed. Other practices had long slipped away, devotionals, praying, reading the Bible. I became like a parked car hoping to move but never letting off the brake.
Let’s be honest, I am not a single person I have a husband and four kids who are affected by changing churches, doing something new..Etc….Etc… I didn’t feel it was up to me alone. But I wasn’t brave enough to pray “God, if this is your will work in their hearts too.” I just wanted it to happen. I am a preachers kid… before I got married I lived in a house where God spoke to my dad, worked on my mom’s heart and vice versa and we (myself and my siblings) tagged along. God wasn’t speaking to me and when it came time for a big family change. Quite frankly didn’t know what that really looked like and I did not really think it was my job to make those big changes or start something new. I assumed we all would wake up one day with the same feeling.
Yes, I have seen prayers answered. I have asked and received so many blessing from God. Jason and I have seen God move in our lives and answer prayer, comfort and heal us and so on in big and mighty ways. But this feeling I had brewing inside of me was bigger and different, it wasn’t something a quick bed time prayer would take care if. I felt the urgency to change in a big way, a change that profoundly changes you and how you go about life. But no real idea how to go about it and honestly, scared to do anything about it, so I did nothing.
I have an extremist type personality and I had a cock a mammy idea if I pray “Lord, change me; show me what I am feeling and why I am not satisfied with how we have done church and why this does scare me? I am yours have your way.” That we would be moved to the jungle and thrown into big time missionary work; so I stayed silent in my prayers, flowed through life day to day and went on and on about how much more I craved more from the church, spiritually….
This summer we started visiting new churches and I shared with some staff members why we were leaving. It went fine enough but as word has gotten around I feel they have missed the point, or don’t care. That is heartbreaking for many reasons…but I suppose when you feel like you did not have the connections with others, did not feel a part of the community on an intimate level and then it is affirmed by their responses then it is time to move on and what you felt has proven to be truth and that never feels good.
If I am to be fully honest as I think over the last few years, assess my feelings knowing how I am in my stubborn and selfish ways it just may be that my change, possibly my families change is more than what church we attend. I have had a longing for far more in my spiritual life for a long time. I have no idea what it is or what it looks like. I think I am afraid of that. I have ideas but not sure if they are of God but I feel I am to be more and do more for others. I have felt for sometime a change was coming. I want to chalk it up to an easier change like moving…it makes sense. This July marked 8 years in Austin and I have not lived anywhere for this long before. So my easy answer is let’s move, let’s start over, new church, new house, new school, new friends, no one knows us let’s start fresh. (of course, its not easy to move and I am not looking to change that either) But as I think on this in my gut I feel it is a deeper change, a more profound change something I cannot imagine. It may or may not involve moving but that part doesn’t even matter….
I love ministry, I enjoy serving people but I have not done that in awhile. I have been the girl who has gone through some hard emotional heartaches that made me deeply saddened and stay in my small little bubble where I wanted to be fed instead of feeding others…. I have this hole in my soul that I am unsure of what needs to fill it. I feel dry and heavy spiritually and I am standing at the doorstep knowing I need to walk through but reluctant to even knock.
So what do I do instead? I read this…
I said to myself let’s see how Jen felt, dealt and so on when she felt the urgency for change. Good idea?! We will see. I am in 20 pages and you get this diarrhea of my brain and all the thoughts I have had for awhile but only shared with a few. I have underlined, starred and folded corners and shed tears reading today. I just can’t put it down, I don’t want to, I know her answers aren’t my answers and I still have to take my foot off the brake but maybe some bricks are coming down off my wall… I will probably still resist some things and tense up as I brace myself for the unknown… Will this bring me to my knees? I don’t know. I am stubborn, selfish and I fumble a lot. I seem to like the hard road and hold onto things for far too long. I need a new fresh breathe, a relearning of what I know. Being from a long line of Christians, with many preachers and missionaries in the family I may be all too familiar with the Bible and need fresh eyes but at the same time I may not know enough about the Bible.
And when I took a break from reading I picked up my Jesus Calling book and read this. I am drawn to these words, I love these words and I am scared that I feel that way right now. I do not know why I feel like they are talking so loud to me today but I keep reading them over and over… and I am nervous. I do not like adversity, I tend to act like an ostrich but yet I feel drawn to these words.
Expect to encounter adversity in your life, remembering that you live in a deeply fallen world. Stop trying to find a way that circumvents difficulties. The main problem with an easy life it that it masks your need for Me. When you became a Christian I infused My very Life into you, empowering you to live on a super natural plane by depending on Me.
Anticipate coming face to face with impossibilities: situations totally beyond your ability to handle. This awareness of your inadequacy is not something you should try to evade. It is precisely where I want you- the best place to encounter me in My Glory and Power. When you see armies of problems marching toward you, cry out to Me! Allow Me to fight for you. Watch Me working on your behalf, as you rest in the shadow of My Almighty presence. (Revelations 19:1. Psalm 91:1)