How to articulate heartache

The past few days, I’ve found it difficult to sit down and write. That’s somewhat unlike me. Once I get an idea in my head, I can hammer out a blog or a video pretty quickly. This is a weird funk in which I currently find myself. I sit down at my computer and the words just don’t come together in coherent thoughts. I delete everything I’ve typed, close my laptop, and tell myself I’ll try again later.

I believe I’m finding it so difficult to write because my thoughts are preoccupied. There is something that I have simultaneously wanted to write about and have avoided. The few times I’ve thought about sharing what’s actually on my mind, I end up getting cold feet. I’m not sure why that is. I’m no stranger to being completely honest and transparent. What is going on with me? Well, I’ve come the conclusion that I just don’t know how to articulate heartache. But, I’m willing to try today.

See, here’s what’s been on my mind: I recently made the very difficult decision to leave my church. This was a choice that, sadly, I had to make alone. I wish my husband could’ve played a part in this decision but he is not a Christian. (That may be another blog for another day.) I didn’t take this decision lightly. I prayed about it continuously, I sought counsel, and I met with leaders in the church. While I don’t believe it is necessary or appropriate for me to air out all the details of this decision, I believe I made the right choice in disconnecting from my church.

I’ve been so afraid that I’ll be called a church-hopper or it’ll be supposed that I believe church is all about me. Perhaps you will come to the conclusion that I didn’t like the music or there wasn’t a fancy enough coffee bar at my church. I’ve become defensive before anyone has given me reason to. I feel the need to assure everyone that I was quite justified, even though no one asked.

This whole debacle has left me with quite a bit of heartache. While my decision to leave my church was my own, it is still painful. Again, how do I begin to articulate this heartache? How do I express to fellow Christians that, often, the way we behave is just wrong. What is the most heart-wrenching about all this is that my situation is not unique. My experiences are quite representative of the norm. I’ve seen blogs, videos, and listened to podcasts where in which Christians express concerns identical to my own.

Our sermons are water-downed at best; heretical at worst. Church has become a social club where we gather to make ourselves feel good. We’re most focused on looking right than doing right. We invest more money in theatrical lights and sounds boards than community outreach. Christians can be down-right cruel in the name of “tough love”. I could go on but, as I said, this has become the norm.

I start to wonder, is there a church that actually cares about serving their community? Is there a church whose members care about sharing the Gospel? Are there pastors who actually preach from the Bible? I start to wonder and it’s really starting to drain me. I know these churches do exist, but it seems as if I’m having a hard time finding them…

However, I know I can’t give up on the church. I don’t mean to sounds pompous, but I know how important church is. The assembly of the saints is a crucial part of the Christian life and I don’t wish to forsake that. Too many Christians are flustered by the church but they choose to disengage completely. If we all leave, what will be left? We need Christians who actually care to stay and work. Again, I truly don’t mean that arrogantly. I don’t mean to say that I’m a perfect Christian and others should follow my example. No, I’m simply stating that I know that church is important and I will find another church to plug into. Yes, the American church is facing some trouble, but I’m not willing to give up completely. I walked away from one church, not the church as a whole.

In conclusion, I know this blog is a bit of a drag. Certainly this is not my most encouraging post, but I did feel it was necessary. If you’ve made it this far, thanks for listening (well, reading). If you have any thoughts, let me hear them.

P.S. On a more positive note, we may be starting a podcast. Let us know if that’s something you’d be interested in.

Take care and God bless!

13 thoughts on “How to articulate heartache

  1. Matthew 18:18-20

    19 “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”

    I’m not sure this is much comfort, but this is the first thing I thought of. I believe this tells you that just meeting with other Christians in the name of Jesus is church, and it doesn’t require a specific building or a pastor. It is important to have good support, but I believe as long as you meet in search of understanding of the word of God; you will find what you need.

    My wife and I recently faced the same question of whether or not to leave the church, for many reasons. I have recently lost trust in my pastor, but not in the other members of the church. I chose to stay and do bible study every Sunday instead of going to a normal service. It is tough for me to comprehend that I don’t trust the senior pastor and how to make that work, but I’ve decided that my blog and my own study of the word of God is a good place to start. In my situation, where there are a lot of great Christians, it made more sense to stay and continue my growth with them. I’ve wrote many blogs so far on the same topics you’ve mentioned and I’m glad I found this blog.

    I’m sorry hear about your situation with your church, but I know you’ll find the place God wants you to be.

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    1. Thank you for the encouragement. Sadly, and I mean no offense, but I find more support from Christians online than I do in church. Of course, I am willing to extend grace to my brothers and sisters in Christ. Of course. However, I just reached a point where I could no longer justify staying. I trust that God will put me where He wants me. But like you said, lots of Christians seems to be turning to smaller groups and home churches and away from the traditional church setting.

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      1. I agree, that does seem to be the trend, but some aren’t doing it for the right reasons either. I didn’t grow up in a christian family going to church every week like many in my church have. Every time I was exposed to it, it was a negative or uncomfortable experience. I didn’t feel it was genuine, honest, or welcoming. My current church was the first place I felt right in, not just welcome, but immediately part of something more than just talking about God. It’s also the only place I felt truly spoke and taught the word of God. I had to try others when I lived in a different city, and I just didn’t find one.

        I know some who have left my church to do home church because they are cliquey, and just want to hang out with their friends. Home church is getting together around a grill with food and drinking beer. They said it is because churches are getting too corporate. I definitely think there is a huge problem in Christian leadership, many churches, but there are good ones.

        From reading what you write, I do not believe you are leaving for the wrong reasons. I also agree with you that there is a great community online and that counts too. I’m not saying you need a church, only that wherever or however you meet in the name of Jesus, that is church. Well, as long as the main idea isn’t beer and burgers ;).

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      2. haha well thanks. I’ve been checking out a church that’s literally a walk from my house. They have around 30 people on Sunday. They do a TON of outreach in my community. So, maybe they’ll be a good fit

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  2. That’s rough.

    We are a military family, and for the first time in my adult life, we have THE church. It’s like this stroke of amazing luck because our church is loving and biblical and I’ve never had my right eyebrow twitch at the behavior or the sermon content or the community outreach. These people work really hard in our community at things that actually provide aid, comfort, and service.

    We’re so lucky, and we know it…and we only get to stay here for two more years before they’ll send us somewhere else and we have to start over.

    But don’t totally give up on corporate worship. There are marvelous and beautiful churches out there. Rest from it. Grieve the loss. But don’t totally check out. That’s my advice.

    Try a different denomination, one that still believes things you agree with. Try one with a different culture for worship or with a more studious focus on Scripture than the one you’ve left. Church isn’t everything, but it has added so much to my life and given so much support and accountability to my faith life.

    I’m so sorry you find yourself in this position, and I get it. There are legitimate reasons to leave, and I wish you didn’t have to feel braced for criticisms on that score from people who don’t even know the circumstances. No judgment from me…just a virtual pat on the shoulder and a promise to pray for you tonight. ❤

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  3. I’ve been in this place more than once myself. It’s a very uneasy place, but I really think that this may be part of what is necessary for the Body of Christ to remain healthy. Some people, I think, are just more intuned and sensitive, kind of like how some parts of the physical body have more nerves than others. So maybe you are helping others who are not so sensitive but could be damaged without change before they realize it. Will be praying for you!

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      1. You’re welcome. There may be a good number of people at that church thinking the same things as you, but just are afraid to say anything. I just don’t want you to feel guilty about your decision…I have to believe a huge change is coming for the entire Body Of Christ. Some people are just more attuned to the signs that He is about to do a new thing.

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      2. I’ve heard people say, “All of this will pass away when Jesus comes back for His Church” but I’ve got a strong feeling, He’s not coming back until His Church has got it together! And for that to happen, it will take, just as you say, an awakening! Maybe right now instead of “Come quickly, Lord Jesus” we should be praying “Come mightily, Holy Spirit”?

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      3. Amen and AMEN! And I’m not even sorry for what about to say…globally, the church is doing very well. Christianity is spreading like wild fire when we look at it on a global scale. This seems to be a problem specifically in the western world, even more specifically in America. You have no idea how many times I’ve expressed my concerns and people either accuse me of lying OR they say exactly what you said. They shrug it off and say, “Oh well, Jesus is coming back”. Sigh.

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