Saturday, March 30, 2013

keep your eye on the prize.

I wrote this post almost two years ago...and never hit "Publish".
Oh, and for the record...we still haven't found a new home church.
Nor have we tried very hard. 

I've got a lot of work to do...internal work, heart work, soul work. I've allowed myself to get to a place that I don't like very much. I was telling myself that I didn't mind being where I was at. But that's not true. That was an excuse. I don't like where I'm at...or how I'm thinking...or how I'm feeling. Or how I'm acting for that matter.

We haven't been to church in about 2 months. That's a long time for a family who rarely missed a Sunday for over 10 years. We are a church-going family. We go to church...we pray before meals...we tithe...we serve and do bible studies and play instruments on worship teams.

But for the last 2 months...nothing.

It's not for lack of wanting to...but circumstances. Things happened. People happened. Humanity happened. And suddenly...we found ourselves without a home church. It was a weird feeling.

We visited a church we thought we'd like to attend...but on both visits not one person said one word to us. Not a hello...not a get out of here...nothing. Weird.

We took that as a cue from God that it's not where He wanted us. And that was fine.

Instead of continuing to look for a new church home, we decided to take some time to get our house in order...specifically the backyard. And it's been good to have the time to do this. For the past 10 years every weekend has been full of church or baseball or wrestling or something other than taking care of things around here. Now our weekends are full of making our backyard habitable. It's been really good.

But eventually we need to get back into church.

The thing about church is that people are at church. And people are...people. Imperfect people. Messed up Joyce Meyer literally just said on TV, "Hurting people hurt people." True dat. It's not an excuse...just a truth.

And I will say...I got hurt. Pretty bad. That's the thing I've been trapped by for the past...oh, year or so. Hurt. I like to fancy myself more Godly...above being hurt...above being trapped by self-pity...ha. Like everyone else...I'm part of that whole "people" thing. I am imperfect. And I'm sure I hurt people, too...not on purpose. Not anymore, anyway.

No excuse.

There comes a time when we know better. And when we know better...we are expected to do better.

To whom much is given...much is required.

Can I just say...through all those years of hurt and confusion I learned a very valuable lesson. One morning I was praying...and I asked God why I was being treated in such a way by this person that I trusted.

"Why are you allowing this, Lord?"

And just like God always does...He answered quietly and simply and directly...

"Now you know how NOT to treat people."

Simple. And so HUGE. God allowed it so that I would learn from it. And so that I would never treat people the way that I was treated. And I pray...earnestly...that I NEVER inflict that hurt and that confusion and that pain on anyone else. If I fail...I pray for forgiveness. I ask the person I've hurt for their forgiveness...and I mean it. No sense in giving fake apologies...or empty forgiveness. Don't bother. Do it for them...not just to make yourself feel better.

No. I mean it. I don't want to hurt others. I want to encourage others. I want to build others up. I want to be a part of their success...not their stumbling. That is my desire...Lord I pray I do what my heart desires to do. I pray I am goodness and light to others...not a stumbling block...or a cork...or a hindrance. And if I am...SHOW ME so that I can STOP.

Yes...I've got some work to do. I need to get out of this rut. I need to get my focus back...keep my eye on the prize...and that prize is living my life for God. The prize is powering through my days here on Earth...being light in the that one day, when I'm in heaven, I will see what it was all  about...what it was all for...Jesus.

Jesus is the prize. He is the way...and the truth...and the life. Keep my eye on the prize...on Jesus...and my paths will be straight, my feet will not stumble, I will not grow weary, I will not faint...I will not be burned, I will not drown...keep my eye on The Prize.

Jesus. He is the prize.

And if I can just keep my eye on HIM, nothing else will matter. No hurt. No anger. Nothing.

If I keep my eyes on Prize above all prizes...all other things will fall into place.


rhondajo said...

Thank you for this beautiful post. If you had hit publish 2 years ago, I might not have ever read it.

I used to take my kids to church three times a week. Then, when the oldest were out of High School and getting on with their lives, the divorce happened, and everything went Topsy Turvy. I haven't been to church in 20 years myself. I keep thinking that I need to find a church to go to, but at this time I am working on Sundays. I still keep a watch out, looking for that church that I may want to start back to one day. I even think it would be good to worship on Saturday.

Thanks again for this post. I related to much of it. God bless you,


Beegirl said...

Thank you for this beautiful post. I am sorry that you were hurt.. Sometimes I think you are talking directly to me. Thank you for sharing this... xo

Mika said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you. We left our last church for very similar reasons (people hurting people), and this just..struck me so deeply today. I'm not very eloquent, and I'm really moved at the moment, so I will just say...thank you. For bringing out something that's been so deep in my heart.

Denise said...

wow - these comments are so touching. It is like you hit publish right when it was needed.

God's timing.