I’ve been pretty upset with God for about 8 months, but just put 1 and 39 together and realized that was the little culprit to all this Sunday madness in my life.
Let me explain a little:
Church is probably one of my least favorite experiences in the whole wide America. It’s on the same level as going to the dentist or trying to renew your license at the DMV. I think it has a lot to do with the structure: stand up, sing, sit down, watch a video, listen to some guy talk, pray, stand up, sing a little more, pass the tithe bucket, sit down, grab purse, leave.
And, boy, do I leave. I’ve been called out so many times for bolting after church that it’s become a joke. I’m suffering from a severe case of post-church crowd anxiety. I’m talking skin crawling, knotted stomach, “fish out of water,” can’t stand still kind of feelings. I think a lot of that stems from coming back to a church where I served in the “inner circle” for so long to find myself in the outer wings of the congregation and probably from my own insecurities. Let’s be real.
I’m okay with the non-inner circle part for now. I don’t think I need to be held responsible for any sort of big church responsibility with all these wild struggles in my heart and I’ve felt that way for a long time. I think it’s because I’m angry.
Friday night, being Good Friday, meant we had a great worship sesh at the church house. We have an incredible worship team that, if I may commend them without sounding judgmental, has really begun to let the Spirit move during worship rather than locking it all down to 2.5 minute songs. It’s amazing to see people really connecting with the Lord during that portion of the service. Friday was no different.. but when they broke out into, “Set a fire down in my soul,” I lost it, and not in a pretty way. It wasn’t a, “wow this is my heart” moment. It was more a “wow, this really makes me angry” moment, ugly tears and all, and “geez, why did they ruin that really good song by transitioning into that one?”
I stood there for a minute, really only wanting to walk outside, but not letting myself (I love to put myself in uncomfortable situations). I finally sat down and broke open this journal I’ve been carrying around for about six months (with only 15 pages filled, half of them with notes from some sort of meeting) and started to write (or just word vomit) – my life cure-all. What came out surprised me:
I’ve been angry with God because I waltzed back into an environment of legalism based entirely on fear and emotion last year after having lived for eighteen solid years in the midst of twisted theology and doctrine, while thinking I was doing something great by abandoning all my favorite clothes and foods to continent-hop with a bunch of people I didn’t know (see? I love to make myself uncomfortable).
Really, are you kidding, God? You’re going to put me in another extreme of the exact same thing, full of lies and manipulation, and to what end?
The really sad part is that I didn’t realize it. Sure, I was uncomfortable with being forced into having some sort of hidden baggage and needing to get over my “issues” during those long worships and speakers in Toccoa. And, yes, I was pretty confused by some of the literature being thrown at us and the processes we were supposed to go through, but I didn’t recognize it for what it was until someone else broke it down, pointed it out, and exposed it. I didn’t see it until people started getting their feathers ruffled.
I don’t think I wanted to see it.
And that makes me boil just a little more. How could I, after my whole life, not even recognize? Or is my heart not quite as discerning as I like to boast, because Lord knows I like to boast about my knowledge of scripture? Or am I just that oblivious to what’s going on around me?
Since August I’ve been skeptical, pridefully indignant, and have all-around struggled with reinserting myself in to a community that I left for a year, and a lot of that has been fueled by anger and distrust – of myself, God, and everything around me. I don’t really have a solution right now, besides needing a fresh new Bible, but I know this and I’m clinging to it and counting it:
But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is perfected in weakness.”
While everyone was up in arms over this stuff, I was learning:
I spent December and January knee deep in the Kings and Jeremiah digging through the walls of Israel, probably with a spoon, and was awed by the boldness of, “I will build you until you are rebuilt, virgin Israel,” after 30 chapters of mourning and “how could you?” and righteous anger from God.
February, March, and April were marked with my own mourning coupled with a profound realization of how deeply rooted the Holy Spirit is within the Body – moving in such a way to cause intercession by members even so far apart that they aren’t sure what they’re praying for (this is a whole story in and of itself, but let’s sum it up by saying that we’re all connected by a guitar string and when it’s strummed, we all feel it).
In May, June, and July, I realized how whiny and entitled David was, and yet he was somehow after God’s heart in a such a remarkable manner that it was noted in scripture.
Each of these months was marked with some glimpse into the glory of God that could not have come otherwise. His power was perfected in my weakness and inability to truly discern the issues around me.
All wasn’t lost, I’m realizing, and God has reconciled it all to Himself. I don’t place blame for the insanity that we experienced, because that would be worthless and would nullify any good that came of those experiences (my life is forever changed because of those 11 months. There is absolutely no denying that), but it’s high time I get over it and let go of all this nasty anger.