Finally, after several busy weekends, I was able to go back to church on Sunday. It's amazing how crazy life gets and, before you know it, a month has passed. I'd definitely been in a bit of a funk recently and I know some of that is attributed to the lack of going. I just get so much out of my time at church, be it teaching or worship, and it really affects me when I'm not in that community for too long. At any rate, the message this week was just awesome and exactly what I needed to hear.
I go most frequently to Redeemer but I'm also actively searching elsewhere to find a true church home. I believe so deeply in Tim Keller's vision and teaching but I don't connect with the church as a whole. I'm very emotionally driven when it comes to church and I'm not someone who just goes on Sunday to feel better about myself. I want to go and find a place where I can really get involved and where I'm passionate about that. I also don't believe that going to church makes you anymore of a christian than standing in a garage makes you a car. Church and fellowship groups are for nourishment, in my opinion. Just like you feed your body the nutrients it needs to perform, you have to feed yourself spiritually as well which is what keeps you sharpened, growing, and challenged. I do also believe that church is a discipline as well, though. I mean, do I honestly feel like going every week? No, but I remember that I need to be "fed" and it's essential to keeping my spirit refreshed and alive. That's how I know this funk I'd been in had a bit to do with not going. Every person is different but I know when I'm spiritually "starved" just like I know when I haven't gotten proper nourishment before a long run.
Anyway, Tim Keller wasn't there this past Sunday but the message was terrific, nonetheless. It was focused around the concept of remembering who we are...and to stop comparing our lives and ourselves to others. The pastor gave some very relevant examples from his own life experiences and I identified totally with everything he said. For years, all I did was put every ounce of self-worth into other people and things. I'd find my purpose in what others said about me and I'd create my self-image through the eyes of others, not myself...and certainly not god. I'd remain in a consistent rut of disappointment and heartache. I couldn't often see the bright side and I'd usually allow myself to wallow, thinking I'll never be good enough anyway so what does it even matter. I've put a great deal of work and effort into changing many patterns in my life and these thoughts are exactly what I started with. Hearing this intelligent, seemingly poised pastor tell details of his own battles with this stuff was pretty grounding. You realize you're not alone in these battles and you also realize something even more crucial - it's ok to be human and stumble. The point of his message on Sunday was to remember just how amazing you are because god created you. I look at myself and realize I have wonderful things to offer, I'm blessed beyond measure, and I'm needed, right here and now as I am. I am good enough. I am better than good enough. I am a gift.
It was so refreshing to hear his words of wisdom and to remember who I am. It shook me out of every part of the funk I'd been in and I felt so light afterward. There is absolutely nothing to worry about when I know that my entire life is in god's hands. I just need to 'be' and to remember what a treasure I am; to remember that I am "fearfully and wonderfully made" as so beautifully stated in Psalm. That, my friends, is truth.
Side note: Happy birthday to my amazing and incredible mom! I love and miss that woman to pieces.