I'M FRUSTRATED WITH THE CHURCH, PEOPLE, & MYSELF
I've been frustrated with the church during this pandemic, I've been frustrated with people during this pandemic, and I've been frustrated with myself during this pandemic. I think the devil likes to prey in uncertainty and uncomfortable situations, and that's what this past year was; there were so many opportunities for the devil to sneak in and change a person. When people start to question things, become filled with fear, or worried about what happens next, the devil wants to be the first answer. And with the world going through constant chaos, I'm sure people's lives have been flipped in unimaginable ways. I have seen it in my own life. I have felt the unexpected pull away from God this past year, and this "new normal" that I am so exhausted living in and getting used to, hasn't helped that relationship prosper.
Matt and I have struggled a lot with church this year. I've attended the same church in Nashville since 2016, but this year, it just didn't feel like home anymore. So we started looking. This pandemic has made the search feel like finding the needle in the haystack. Churches have been closed, then open, then only online, then back in-person, you name it, it has been difficult to find a new church home. I honestly didn't think it would be this hard because Nashville is flooded with churches, but after almost a year we are still virtually church hopping. The rules and regulations came on so quickly, that I don't think churches had a solid plan for continuing their mission. I mean, how could anyone anticipate this? For some churches, I feel they ran with it and realized this was a different opportunity to reach people, and for other churches, I think they saw this as a free pass - a free pass to slow down and take a break. For some of the churches that ran with it, I've noticed a few changes. Similar to influencers on social media who have felt the need to change themselves, their perspective, and their look to gain more attention, this has been a trend for churches too. I've noticed churches changing who they are, changing their church foundations to "entice" new members or save their "viewer count" from dropping. And this is why I'm frustrated. I'm frustrated that some churches care more about the body county/viewer count they have on Sundays and the monetary value related to each person than they do preaching quality truthful sermons that will bring people closer to God despite what's happening in the world. Now, money is a huge thing for churches, so to some extent, I understand the struggle.
This last week I saw a girl post on Facebook looking for church recommendations that supported this, this, and this of her beliefs. I was shocked by the comments and the number of churches recommended; I guess a lot of people were looking for the same thing. One church that was recommended by multiple people was a "progressive Christian" church. I decided to check them out because I had heard of that before but didn't really know what it meant. The first tab I clicked was "About Us". The "About Us" page mentioned nothing about building a relationship with Christ nor did it even mention the words "Jesus" or "God". Instead, it mentioned a home for people to feel loved and a place to be themselves. Now, these things aren't bad and should be a value for any church, but I believe a church's main mission is to help spark a relationship with God and foster that into eternal life with Jesus. For this church, it appeared they cared more about not hurting anyone's feelings than they did about preaching truth and God's love for humanity. And this is why I've been frustrated with people. It is not the church's role to transform into what you believe so you don't get hurt. If I moved churches every time I felt hurt, I would have gone to like 25 churches by now; at the end of the day, we are all still imperfect humans, even pastors. It's the whole saying, "hurt people hurt people". If a church is so fluid on its beliefs, I personally don't feel that church is capable of producing truth or being a solid rock. It's the same as if a person's values shifted constantly, you wouldn't be as inclined to trust them, would you? I believe a church should welcome everyone, but not sacrifice their beliefs to make everyone comfortable.
Lastly, I'm frustrated with myself. I'm frustrated that I can't control things outside of my own life ← which I feel is a constant struggle for the average person. I'm frustrated that people don't fit into this box that I've learned or perhaps created since I was little of what a "true Christian" looks like and that it affects me way more than it should. My headspace has been so taken over by the way I believe things should be or the way that this person should be when in reality it has no relation to my life. Why do I let these things affect me? If God is the true judge, then why does it matter what box my head puts people in? What box am I in in their mind? Ultimately, how does one get better at "loving a person, but hating the sin" and can you truly love someone while hating their sin? These types of questions frequent my mind weekly and I may never have the answers. At the end of the day, I can only pray to become more like Jesus and train my heart to be more loving and my mind to be less judgemental.
I honestly don't even know how to end this post and my brain is going crazy from all the essay etiquette I learned in high school that I've clearly forgotten. So I'll just say this: I think it's okay to question God and your beliefs, and most of the time you'll come out even stronger and more educated. I'm still learning and I'm always trying to grow into a better human. I'm not perfect by far.
Whenever I need advice or peace I turn to music, and one of my friends (Emma Klein) wrote a song about her journey with God that describes perfectly how I feel. It's not recorded yet, so if you want to listen to it, watch this video on her Instagram
[ https://www.instagram.com/tv/CDuDE_pBuNq/ ] and fast forward to minute marker 2:45...or you can hear her story before the song too :) I listen to this song constantly when I'm feeling a bit lost.
Thank you for reading,