Sunday, 30 September 2012

Losin’ my religion


It was supposed to be just another Sunday today. Or so I thought.

There was nothing particularly ‘spiritual’ about today. The weekend was entirely too short (as usual). I was almost running late for the workers’ service (story of my life). I was feeling a bit overwhelmed by my schedule for the day and slightly disorganized (like I said, nothing unusual). We still don’t have copies of the new Sunday School manual, so I had no idea what I was going to be teaching the young adults this morning. I meant to wake up early to plan the lesson for my teenage class, but of course I forgot to set my alarm. It was eleven minutes past 7 am and I needed to get to church by 8. I was just about to dash into the shower when I had this idea to check the church’s Sunday roster. I never check the church’s Sunday roster on SUNDAY. I mean, I may get in over my head sometimes, but I’m not that disorganized! I tend to check it on a Wednesday about once a month to make sure I don’t have any surprise responsibilities.

Well, this morning, I checked it, and guess whose name was on the schedule for September 30th to lead prayer during the workers’ service? I kid you not. There, as clear as the blue sky, was MY NAME on the roster.

I blinked and wondered what date it was on Friday. Friday was the 28th. That meant today, Sunday, was the 30th. How was this possible? The last time I checked the roster I was so sure I didn’t have to do anything else until October.

I wasn’t in the mood to lead prayer today. I hadn’t taken the time to prepare during the week as I normally would have, and it had been a challenging week. I felt depleted and, frankly, didn’t feel like I had anything left to pour into anybody else. I toyed with the idea of asking a known prayer warrior in my church to swap with me. Why do the church a disservice by arriving unprepared?

As I stood in the deliciously hot shower with my eyes closed, it occurred to me that I couldn’t be the only one that woke up and didn’t really feel like going to church today. I couldn’t be the only one that felt like I just didn’t have anything more to give. Not for today, at least. And so I decided to just go with the flow. Yes, I’m not prepared, but if anyone else felt like me today, then whatever I had to say would be for them. I was just going to have to ‘wing it.’

I got to church at 8:00 am on the dot. Not a second to even try to rustle up some ‘powerful’, last-minute prayer points. As I walked into the sanctuary, the music hit me. A young person (our worship leader) was busy playing the key board and singing a worship song to the Lord with all his heart, waiting for others to arrive. Gosh, I wish I could remember the songs he sang – they were so powerful.

I picked up a microphone and began to sing along with him as church members began to trickle in. I sang along with the worship leader and right now I can’t remember any of the songs! What I cannot forget, though, is how God met me there, standing at the altar, ‘unprepared,’ without my list of anointed prayer points, and without carefully selected scriptures to back them up, for good measure.

We took no more than three prayer points – all revolving around ourselves as ‘workers’ in the church. ‘The thing about workers,’ I said, ‘is that we tend to forget we’re sheep, too. We spend all our time pouring into other people, and we forget we need to be filled, too. And we still show up in church, and on time, too. We have to – we’re workers, after all. How we feel isn’t supposed to matter because we’re supposedly mature enough to handle things on our own. But guess what? When you’re running on empty, you’re no good to anybody …’

And so we prayed for God to fill us again, to strengthen us again, to revive us again, to meet us at the point of our needs.

I began to cry and could barely pray coherently (actually, I really started crying when I started singing). What was wrong with me? I had never cried in front of my church members. Sure, if I were particularly touched by a song or a message, I would privately blink away tears – but to stand in front of the whole church practically bawling for no particular reason … this made absolutely no sense.

My mind wandered back to the previous day to try and figure out if anything had happened to affect me – maybe this was some sort of delayed reaction.

It had actually been a good Saturday. I did absolutely no work, even though I’d brought work home with me. I had already decided not to write a blog post this weekend. I don’t want the blog posts to start feeling like work deadlines. I want to ensure that the blog remains something that relaxes me, rather than stresses me out, so I thought I’d just take a break and not think about it. I started watching a documentary and then dozed off for about twenty minutes or so. I woke up really energized. So energized that I baked two pans of brownies, walked around the corner armed with one of them to visit a good friend of mine, sat and talked and laughed with her for an hour, walked back home, and cooked up a mini-storm: a huge pot of turkey vegetable soup, a huge tray of meatloaf, and some ‘barbecued’ fish (Nigieran style). Like I said, a really good day. Nothing to set me off at all.

At the end of the prayer session, I told them I had one more thing to say. I was still crying – I mean really crying – and making everyone else get all emotional (I think they were really just more in shock than anything else). I had totally ruined my make-up – my Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner that I can’t live without.

‘I just want to thank God for brokenness,’ I said.

This statement met with a round of thunderous applause.

‘Why are they clapping?’ I wondered. Maybe they were just embarrassed. Or, on second thought, maybe they were just really happy for me. Getting to the place of brokenness can be hard, after all.

‘I have no idea why I’m crying right now. But I do want to say that I’m glad I can be vulnerable here, in front of all of you. I don’t want to come to church each Sunday like a piece of wood and not be moved. I want to come to church and be touched, and be changed. I don’t want to come here to waste my time, and you shouldn’t, either. I’m crying, but it’s okay. This is the way it’s supposed to be. Let God do whatever He wants to do in me and in you.’

Needless to say, everyone got more than they bargained for this morning. I was so overwhelmed that I couldn’t teach my youth class – someone else had to. I sat in my car for an hour until I’d composed myself.

I’m losing it, folks, I’m telling you – I’m absolutely losing it. But in a good way.

To God be the glory. 

6 comments:

  1. Amen. Been there, done that. And it's okay. Actually, it's great and the church could do with a little more brokeness in our shiny, perfect, mega church worlds. Then maybe we'll finally be fixed.

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    1. How beautiful: the idea that we need to be broken in order for us to finally be fixed. Wow - good word. Thank you.

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  2. Nice one! Brokenness indeed, best place to be that, in front of one another,the family/body of Christ -more Lord!

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    1. Hear, hear! More, indeed. Thanks.

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  3. Girl. I cried at church too! And I didn't have on long wear mascara. Isn't God good? He meets us right were we are.

    God bless you RMJ!

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    1. Did you, really? Awwww. I'm guessing your mascara didn't hold up, either - lol. He certainly is good and faithful - even when we're faithless. Bless you back - thanks.

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