Sunday Meetings have been a struggle for me. I get up most Sunday mornings and attend to my Sunday morning routine without much thought and almost no ceremony. As long as the kids are clean and presentable and fed (usually) and the animals are taken care of and no one is sick, we pour out the door into the truck like a bunch of ants. I Flip on K-love and quickly go over my Sunday school lesson and walk through the doors hand in hand with Cowboy with a huge churchy smile.
But underneath that, at least for a while, I was utterly terrified of having to face all these people. I’m not perfect. I am a sinner. I messed up a lot B.C. I messed up a lot after Christ as well. I was and still am at times afraid of “ them“. It’s so complicated in my mind and while my husband rolls his eyes at my unreasonable anxiety, I worry about what “they” would think of me if they knew all the demons I chase and face and have faced… and the ones that still chase me. I coped an attitude and made jokes about how I was afraid the Christians were going to get me. I have bounced between churches and hunted for reasons not to be a part of it. I have done everything I could think of to keep my distance from these people. Why go at all, you ask? My husband asked me too, My kids need me too and in spite of my fear, I have a ravenous hunger to be closer to Jesus, to understand the cross and to fellowship with a church family that loves us. And because no matter what I try to come up with, God keeps drawing me back.
Over the last year or so… God did a lot of work on my heart. I realized that this fear stems from trauma that occurred way before I ever met any of these people. I wanted to really do the work to get passed this. I want desperately to be real, to be honest and to not feel like I have to hide. I just want to be me and feel safe doing it. So….. It was time to grow a spiritual pair so to speak.
Because the truth is….I love ” them”…
And in spite of my fear I also know….
What damage trauma can do…..
What becomes of a wound unattended…
What lies we tell ourselves….
What burdens we carry around that only exist in our hearts and minds….
What excuses we use to get out of doing anything outside our comfort zone…
My testimony is an amazing secret all covered up by the cloaks of fear and anger I put on in front of others that I truly love, respect and admire. What would happen if I took them off? If I just disrobed and went naked to church? Spiritually, emotionally and mentally naked.( Not Physically.. that’s a felony.) How freeing ! What could God do with my testimony? What impact would my story make? What would happen if I behaved like I BELIEVE what God had to say about me as His child?
Who could God create in me if I just got out of His way? What if all those things I keep hidden were tools waiting to be used? What if I stopped thinking only of myself and canned the attitude? What relationships would develop if I were just open to them.
I’m not talking about having an expose about how many women in my Sunday School class read 50 Shades or who has a couple of beers on a Sunday afternoon watching the game. I’m talking about simply being open enough to share the things that might bring others to Christ or help them heal. Our Experiences have purpose.
2 Corinthians 4:2
Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we received mercy, we do not lose heart, but we have renounced the things hidden because of shame, not walking in craftiness or adulterating the word of God, but by the manifestation of truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.
What if I wasn’t afraid….
If they knew….
About my traumas and experiences. What if I gave them a chance?
If I could put it out there, what would happen? Maybe the lightening strike is all in my head. Would it make me a better disciple or would I get plowed over like before? There is always a risk of rejection. But If our hearts are in the right place, it is about how God uses our experiences for his glory, not ours.
2 Corinthians 5: 17-19
…Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation.…
And that’s it. Isn’t it? Reconciliation is a ministry. It’s the ministry of every loving family to its members. As long as I trust God with my most vulnerable parts, they can be used to reconcile others to Him. But If I hide them, they stay close to my heart, hurting me and helping no one. I have to be brave enough to feel and deal with the stuff that comes with serving others. Reconciliation takes work.
Mathew 5:15-16 nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.
” In such a way” indicates that there is an art to it. No two artists create the same way. Not everyone has the same tools. We all have our own style, skills and strengths. We have the ability through the Holy Spirit to make it available to God to use, filtered through the love of Christ to become a perfect vessel of healing for others. Or maybe just ourselves.