I park a few blocks down from my children’s school and I walk to the school to pick them up. It’s easier this way, as the pickup line is often long and congested. Today I brought my Chorkie ( chihuahua/Yorkshire terrier) as per my daughter’s request. I call her the rat dog because she is so tiny, her eyes bulge out of her head lol, but she is cute and we love her.
I walked her to the school and I am the second parent that has arrived. The first is this wonderful woman who has her bible open and is reading it cheerfully to herself. At first I didn’t want to sit at the tables, just not knowing how she felt about dogs, even a small one can intimidate people. But she started in on how cute the dog was, so I went ahead and sat. We began discussing the weather ( as strangers often do lol ) and it lead into a few other conversations, ending with a discussion about church and religion and the like.
The conversation came to an old familiar tune. People make excuses to not go to church… with the main excuse being that there are hypocrites in the church, or they have been offended by Christians. I never did voice the fact that I, myself, am taking a break from attending church. And the main reason is because, I have been hurt.
I got to thinking though— what is, if any, the difference between an excuse and a reason? And the answer is accountability. An excuse tends to put off accountability, it’s something that’s beyond my control and therefore I can’t even control my reaction to it. Reason is taking accountability for your part in it.
I do have my reasons for not attending church for a season. I have been hurt by other Christians, but I’ve also allowed my thoughts and my judgement to become clouded. Instead of approaching everything with clear and critical thought, I approached everything in a manner that would make me popular. I was a people pleaser to a debilitating degree. Colossians itself talks about not being deceived by fine sounding arguments. 1 John 4:1 tells us to not believe every spirit but to test it, see if it is from God. I needed to take a step back, I needed to re-evaluate what it was that I actually believed. I needed to discover what it was that I needed, and who I really was in God, not who I had proclaimed and pretended to be all these years. I don’t know how long my healing will take, but I do know that my relationship with God is growing strong as a result of stepping back and saying, whoa, wait a minute.
So today I found it an interesting challenge that my old way of thinking was confronted with my new way of thinking, with what I am just now discovering for the first time. I knew where this wonderful woman was coming from, part of me immediately objected to what she was saying ( there is a bit of defensiveness in me still) until I realized it wasn’t her I was resisting.. it was my own old thoughts and beliefs that I had set aside. She was obviously genuinely happy and settled with her walk, with what she held dear to her heart and I finally came to the conclusion that it was ok, and actually yay for her! And in the same breathe, it was ok for me to not take quite the same stance, after all relationship is personal.
Still healing, still learning, still growing.