After becoming a mom I felt this weird insecurity about going back to church. Getting there in the morning felt like so much work and the fear of throwing our son off his schedule was an easy excuse so I let the worries about the little things keep me from showing up. I know church isn’t a comfortable place for everyone, but for most of my life it was home. I grew up in church, my dad’s a pastor, and church has always been a familiar and mostly positive place for me. I think the main reason for this new anxiety was a fear of being uncomfortable or looking… not put together. When I really break it down, it’s kind of embarrassing. My whole view towards church had become about me instead of God. A lie sunk in that it wasn’t valuable for me to be there if I didn’t have my best to offer in return. I’ve heard other people describe this weight of not feeling “put together enough for church” and I don’t think I’ve ever really understood it until this season. It’s taken me a while to call out the lie and replace it with truth, but I’m thankful for the in-between. I’m thankful for the way I’ve had to lean into the message I’ve told others plenty of times: God doesn’t expect us to have it all together to enter his house and either does anyone else. In fact, I would argue that making the choice to show up and worship in the midst of fear of inadequacy, might even be a pretty great act of worship in itself. What I’m most thankful for, is the way God let me experience this unfamiliar territory so that I could become sensitive to the way it feels and my eyes could be opened to see another when they’re in that place. I learned something new about what it means to be Jesus to someone through this process and I’d never trade that in.
God doesn’t expect us to have it all together to enter His house and either does anyone else.
Eventually I could recognize something inside me was missing from the absence of being in our church community. I started feeling convicted that I was letting anything hold me back from obedience to what God’s called me to do. It’s really important to us that we raise Finnley in church and nothing motivates discipline quite like the responsibility of raising a little person. So we got over ourselves, held each other accountable, and got there. As I feared, Finn cried in church AND the pastor pointed him out. I died a little inside, but I know he did it out of love. Everyone went “aw” for 2 seconds and moved on. Everything I worried about came true, but I survived 😉 Our pastor’s sweet wife stepped out into the back where I was bouncing Finn and asked to take him for the rest of the service. “I’d love to spend time with him and I’ll hear the message again tomorrow!” I honestly felt like crying. Finn was with someone I trusted and I got to sit with my husband for 20 minutes and be refilled. It was small, but SO BIG. She told me later that she prayed over him while they played and she just won’t ever know how seriously she blessed me in that moment.
That woman turned a nervous moment into a win and taught me a huge lesson – we have incredible influence to be the difference maker for someone else; to see a need, step in, and be the change. So why do we stay in our seat? It’s comfortable. We don’t know what they’ll think, maybe we assume they have it under control? Maybe! All the “maybes” and “what if’s” might be true. So do we let those hold us back from doing what we know is right? We can’t! What if she had taken my smile and collected appearance at face value and figured, “she’s got it”? I probably would’ve been fine, but I would’ve missed out on an encounter that immensely blessed me and allowed God to teach me something in a new and profound way. Or what if she felt prompted to offer, but I really was okay and passed on accepting her help? She would’ve sat back down and I’d still have been blessed that someone saw me and reached out. What is there to lose, really? There’s everything to gain – the “what if’s” are outweighed!
Sometimes it takes our worst case scenarios actually happening for us to realize that the most negative circumstances don’t change a consistent God. Our calling to be Jesus to this world isn’t based on contingencies. He asks us to love Him and love our neighbors and I don’t see any fine print qualifiers! (Matthew 22) Jesus made people who felt unseen and unwanted feel known and loved. He reached out to the people who didn’t belong and invited them to sit with him. There was never a crowd too busy for him to notice the need of one person. There was never an audience too important for him to welcome the children. He simply stopped and took the time meet people where they were when no one else was willing to.
Our calling to be Jesus to this world isn’t based on contingencies.
We live in a generation that longs for impact and influence, but this is where that impact starts. It starts with a willingness to step out and step into the small moments of need for our neighbors. It requires leaving our comfort zone, or maybe being a little busier, and even opening ourselves up to potential feelings of rejection, but it’s worth it! It has to become more about others and less about ourselves. If there’s anything I’ve learned from my dear friend Lysa TerKuerst (she is yet to know about our friendship 😉 ) it’s that I want to be the kind of woman who walks into a situation so focused on my mission of bringing God’s fullness with me, lacking nothing, and so purposeful in my observation of who might be in need of a refill that I don’t have time to feel selfish and insecure. Sometimes we’ve got to choose it before we feel it. Thankfully, the One who commissions us equips us with His Spirit! We don’t have to work up the courage alone, we don’t have to rely on our own wisdom to navigate the need around us, we just have to show up and be willing.
It’s a new week. It’s sure to be full of highs and lows and likely times your bucket feels full and times you’re running on empty. It’s all too easy to be distracted by the unpredictability of our own feelings and circumstances and that’s why I’m SO thankful that we’re not on our own in this call to be “the light of the world.” (Matthew 5) I’ve started praying for God to give me eyes that see what He sees and I’m telling you, it’s a game changer! Start this new week asking God to show you where and how He wants to use you. Walk into your workplace in the morning looking for ways you can encourage the people you encounter. Put on the Armor of God and ask Him to equip you with his fullness and I guarantee you’ll start to see your focus shift from fearful hesitation to faithful boldness. God is preparing you to have huge impact for His kingdom in the lives of people you’re not even aware of yet. Don’t miss the moments! ❤