Monday, September 19, 2016

When Church is Hard

Church can be a hard space. I don't know anyone who's been in the church for more than six weeks who hasn't felt the tension of real people gathering together with all their junk.

I went to our family (member's) meeting this weekend and was struck with such a sense of home. But think less comfortable and cozy and more where you feel a shared vision and heart. Which I'm learning is more important than people you can feel warm fuzzies with. I'm learning I'd much rather feel safe than good if that makes sense.

If I'm honest this building has been a tremendous space of hurt for me in the last year. Not because I haven't had a seat at the family table. But more because I've had a harder time figuring out where to sit. When you're the family that needs the church to be the hospital for sinners rather than a museum for saints, it's easy to feel more brokenness than belonging. Coming to church feeling like you have a sort of a scarlet letter on your chest feels much different than coming to church with your stuff together. (Although coming to church feeling like you have your stuff together probably means you have some other issues to deal with...I've been in that space too.)

But that's exactly why this room felt like home this weekend. I was with people who have walked with our family through all of our junk. Sometimes beautifully. Sometimes failing. But always loving us; trying their best to extend God's grace. 

It's been messy. And hurtful. And hard. And that feels like family too. 

I'm figuring out it's safer to be in a space where you're known (scars and all) than somewhere you feel good and happy and put together. Because feeling uncomfortable and vulnerable is always better than fake: hiding who you really are. This is the space where true change can happen. Where people who know you can call out your blind spots and point you to Jesus. Where people who have a history with you can help you remember God's faithfulness to your family, because they've seen it themselves. Where people can hurt you (and you can hurt them) because our ultimate hope isn't in our relationships with each other, but in Jesus. And because of that there's forgiveness and reconciliation and repentance and true heart change.

It's freeing, really. To lock arms with your tribe and acknowledge that you're family and you're all in it for the long haul together.

So I'll keep finding my space at the family table. And help others find their space too. And as we learn to bring all of our junk and heap it together right there, maybe we can keep reminding ourselves that church is the perfect place to feel at home in the midst of brokenness.

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