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Change of Heart

I was wrong! Let’s start there. I’ll explain.

 

Image from lutheransonline.com

Image from lutheransonline.com

In one of my first post’s I talked about how I was and did give up on corporate church. I was a leading voice in the, no need for church, but you can still have faith and walk a believer lifestyle. Why did I make that decision? I made it based off of assessments and observations. What!? Over the years I have found my heart becoming bitter and angry with the church and some of it’s people. I felt that they were not correctly utilizing the funds that they were being given. Spending way to much on unnecessary things, instead of supporting the poor, orphans, more missionaries, or more productive causes, other then outfitting the place with advanced technology. I felt that they were not addressing things that needed to be addressed, namely Gray Areas. Lastly, I felt that a lot of people (mind you not all) at church were insincere and were just going thru the motions of living and acting a “Christian” Life. It felt like the church was sweeping things under the rug in an attempt to remain politically correct as not to offend anyone. At times even guilting people into doing what they wanted and expected them to do. Was that the right decision? Ultimately, NO.

I started to attend church again a couple of weeks ago because my husband felt it was the right thing to do, and I wanted to respect him and that decision. So I returned with him and the kid’s. It had just seemed so pointless. Not only were there all of the above issues for me, but long hours at work before attending church, and having to contend with our children were obstacles as well. With six children that vary greatly in age and three under the age of five, things can get a bit difficult at times. All three end up going in opposite directions, and they tend to be quit loud. In a quite church service, that does not prove to be such a great thing. Long story short, I would get nothing out of the church service except some extra exercise and stress. By the time it was over, I just wanted/needed to go home and sleep.

This last week we attended church again, and this time I was faced with a challenge from Tony. He said that when he attends church, there are times that he goes up to people he knows do not want to talk, and starts talking to them. He said you need to do that. Yeah, no way. I told him, that if anyone did that to me I would be so mad. I have a bubble and like my space. If I want to talk, I will talk. I do not need to be forced into something I do not want or care to do, and do not want to force another to do the same. He said ok, I get that. Then he said that he challenged me to just talk with one person or a couple of people for a total of two minutes, before or after the service. He said start small. Oh man, he said challenge. I knew then that it was a done deal. I would try to meet that challenge. So, this week I did. Before the service this week, I took a few moments to talk with a couple of different people. It was not so bad. Then it came time for the service. This week they allowed the three youngest children to attend the nursery (none of them will go without the others, all or none I guess they think), and our third oldest went with, to help with the nursery leader. That left our two older teens, Tony, and myself. What a different experience. When the sermon was all said and done, I felt like I had been deceived and bamboozled by Satan. I had bought into the lie, that I was good enough on my own. That I do not need church or people to help guide me. I was also left feeling massively disillusioned in myself. Not a good place to be. Hebrews, especially Hebrews 10:25 kept repeating over and over again. It was resonating with me. Something was stirring. A dear brother in Christ delivered the sermon that day and he spoke directly to me, or at least it felt that way. You can listen to that sermon here. He said that God calls us to go to church. That we need to be obedient to that call, if we want to be obedient to God. No other person had ever said that to me. It was always said, that it was good to go, never a command to go. Why go to church? Because God calls us to go to church, that’s why.

I was wrong! And now, something needed changing, and that change was my perspectives and preconceived notions. The “gray areas” of the bible that factor into the world today, for me, led into a very legalistic thought process. I felt that if I was obeying what I thought God would want, then everyone else should too. That if I just obeyed the laws and rules, things would be good. What I now understand, is that those laws are made up by humans, not God. I needed to lay down a good amount of my legalistic thinking and additionally allow the church to spend the funds given to them, as they saw/see fit, because they will have to answer for their spending one day.

After taking the time to think about the people, it came to me. What if a portion of the people that I saw as cold and insincere, are deep down going thru trials and struggles that no one knows about, or care about to take the time to ask? Mind you, not all, but possibly some may be like this and in need of someone to care and listen. Some people are just plain mean though, no rhyme or reason, they just are. I realize that not everyone is like me and lives their lives with such transparency, which for me has been very freeing. Instead, they shut down and force themselves into a cave, not allowing others in on their hardships and feelings. I feel so bad for those people, because it ends up being a hard, sad, and very lonely life to lead. I will tell you that at times in my journey with living so transparently, I have had second thoughts. For everyone to know all of my struggles, my hardships, my thoughts, prayers, and inner most workings. WOW! It really puts you out there and makes you very vulnerable. That is very scary, but so worth it. If it helps even one person, I would do it all over again, and will continue to as long as it continues to help others and honestly, myself.

I have some major growing to do in this department, but I’m game for the challenge. It’s not going to be easy, as I have to break thru a whole lot of prejudices and preconceived notions. Over the years they have built up, resulting in very large walls being put up for self preservation. Today, I now understand that these walls are needing to be torn down. What brought about this turn around? An eye opening sermon, that’s what. Praise God for the ability to change!

I’m going to continue to attend church every week that I can, as well as helping out in the church where I can, when I can. I have also stated before in other post’s, that a couple of my “bucket list”, (for some reason I hate that phrase but whatever,) items are helping at a mission, helping homeless people on the side of the road, and helping out at an orphanage. One day, I will get there. For now I will, as my husband says, start small. I am working with my children so that they have a good foundation, though not perfect. I make many mistakes as you continue to read, in Christ. Making sure that they are encouraged and continuing their walk with Christ. Aside from that, it’s up to them to decide what happens with their faith.

I want to be a different person in many facets of my life, and only I, with God’s help, can make those changes, but I believe it’s time. No longer confined to or defined as I once was. I want to make a difference not only in my life, but in others’ lives as well. So, today I started off my day, by reaching out to a handful of people. Why? Just to check in with them to see how life was going for them. What for? To see if they were going thru any struggle, joys, or hardships and if they could use anything from me. Again, what’s the point? Some may see it as a meaningless waste of their time and mine, but I see it as a meaningful way to show someone they are not alone and that there are genuine people out there that really care about theirs and others struggles, joys, and hardships. I do not ever want to be judged as the cold, selfish, insincere person that cares nothing about anyone else. I want to show people that I am not that person. Whether at the time, it is welcomed or not, that is all up to them to decide. If anyone wants off that list, no problem, just let me know. I have no issue with your decision. Once again, it is not up to me to exclude anyone, but up to you to exclude yourselves. Life is not about living in emptiness and loneliness. I do not want anyone to feel that way. If your feeling that way right now, I’m sorry. You can always feel free to contact me, and also continue to pray to God, that he will bring someone into your life to be there for you no matter what. Allowing grace and mercy as well as love is what will bind and bond people together.

See you at church!! A New Beginning Starts NOW!

Mandy

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