My husband randomly sent me this image one day and it got me thinking. I feel that there are a lot of misconceptions floating around about church. This is something that has been on my heart for a while, so I thought I’d take some time and address one misconception that bothers me.
Before I dive right in, I’d like to share my spiritual background. Ever since I was a little girl I’ve known about Jesus Christ. Who He was, what He did, and why His life and death were so important. I was baptized for the first time when I was 7, and I attended church regularly when I was younger. When I was in 6th grade, however, we moved from the city to the county, and for some reason we stopped attending church.
For a long time, this was a source of shame for me. I remember being asked (on several occasions) by my classmates what church I attended. Being the “new kid” was hard enough, and I didn’t want to be the “heathen kid” on top of that, so I did what any kid in my situation would do, I lied. I told them that I went to this country church I knew none of them had ever heard of, and although it wasn’t a total lie (I did attend the church a lot growing up, it was my grandparent’s church) it wasn’t the total truth either. For several years after that I’d go on occasion, holidays and such, but I didn’t have a church home. If I’m being completely honest though, I wasn’t really interested in finding one. It seemed that every church I attended had the same message, “You’re going to hell no matter what you do.” I wasn’t being fed spiritually and I didn’t want to sit around and listen to some old man shouting scriptures at me without telling me how to apply them to my life. I’d leave feeling beat up and had no clue what I’d just learned.
I never turned my back on my faith, but I became disenchanted with the idea of church. I got to the point where I just didn’t care to go at all. That feeling followed me to college. I remember taking a biblical studies course in my freshman year and I learned more in those few months than I ever learned sitting in church. That class made me hunger for something more. I branched out from Christianity and began studying other religions. With every religion I studied, it seemed to all come back to one unifying principle, love. It really made me think about my experience with Christianity. I’d always been told that God is love, but the love aspect of it all had been left out of most of the messages I had heard.
That same year, I met Nick. He had a similar upbringing and had also become disillusioned with church. Faith was important to both of us and we discussed our spirituality with each other and our feelings about it, but we never actively sought God in our relationship or tried to find a church to call home. We let the world guide us for a good while and that led us down the wrong path. About 5 years into our relationship we began discussing marriage. It was important to both of us to start our marriage on the right foot and we knew that getting back in church would be a big part of having a strong marriage.
So that’s what we did. We found a church and tried it out. Luckily, we found a place where we felt like we belonged, a place that we knew we could learn and grow. When we walk through those doors every Sunday, we leave the same imperfect people we were when we arrived, only a little lighter and filled with a little more hope.
You see, the church doesn’t exist for the good or the perfect, it exist for the troubled, the imperfect, the lost, the lonely, the broken, the weak, and the weary. If you think you aren’t good enough for church, you’re wrong. If you think you need to work on yourself before you go to church, you’re wrong.
“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”- Luke 19:10
One of the most amazing things to me about church, and what really makes me feel good is knowing that I’m among people who are just as screwed up as I am. We are all broken and are looking for healing. We are all lost and are looking for guidance.
Being together with other believers is one of the most powerful things you will ever experience in your life. That’s when the Holy Spirit works and that’s when He will work on you. Let Him work on you.
“For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” Matthew 18:20
Stop thinking you’re not good enough for church. It’s a lie and it’s an excuse. The reality is, you’re not perfect and you never will be, and that’s okay. You don’t have to be perfect.
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”- Romans 3:23
God doesn’t expect perfection. He wants you just as you are because He will use you and all of your flaws and all of your mistakes and make you and your life greater than you ever dreamed. If you don’t believe me, try it out for yourself. What have you got to lose?