I’ve written about it before. That thing I’m naturally prone to be. That thing I’m not proud of – the tendency to want to quit. If it asked on a questionnaire which trait you would most want to change about yourself, mine would definitely be that. I fight against it almost everyday. Yesterday, even, I made a pact with myself that my family would switch to clean eating. We made it through breakfast and I ended my day with a bowl of ice cream sitting in front of the fireplace on the 8 degree night we were experiencing. Oxymoron? That’s me, apparently. I stand resolute and confident, well until I actually have to commit.
Over the last few years, my greatest desire to quit could be found in the area of my life I am probably most passionate and believe in the most – the Church. I just want to be done with it sometimes. It disappoints me. It sickens me. I just can’t do “it” anymore. My life has been wrapped up in the Church from the seconds I entered the world. I’ve never known anything different, but I’ve seen the Church become so different – and so indifferent- that I just honestly get over it. I’ve seen it become so self-righteous, judging those that walk in darkness because they are expected to walk in light even though we’ve been left here to TAKE the light to them. We write nasty posts about the sinful and become more known for what we are against, than what we’re for…what we’re supposed to be for – LOVE. I wanna run from it – the association I have with the Church. I have friends that have left the Church and I have questioned why, but I think the Church has let them down.
I firmly believe in the “assembling yourselves to worship”. I firmly believe that it should be the picture of us being the lifters of each other’s arms – yet it often becomes the place of lifting our own agendas and our “rights”. I believe in the Church – the Church that is so beautifully portrayed in Scripture. I see people sacrificing their stuff, their way to follow Christ. I see their sacrifice overflow to go into the homes of each other to worship together, to live out Jesus where they live, work and play. They do not hide behind pompous agendas and attitudes, but they are known for their love. Their love is their definition. Their love is Christ. Their identity is not where they assemble to worship. It is not their title. It is not their heritage. To live is Christ. Love fleshed out and real is nothing short of beautiful.
You see, quitting the Church oftentimes for me is just to stop going to a building because the path ahead of me seems so enormous. It is overwhelming that we are making a difference. If those I hold dear as models of Christ-followers leave the church because they are over it and just want to lose their association with it, then why should I keep going? When those I’ve invested my life into leave to find something “better”, I struggle to be passionate to care to invest again. You see, aside from growing up in the Church, it was not that aspect that put this calling and hunger on my life to see lives changed. It was the day that God changed my own life. The day that I stopped living for myself and my opinions, rights and attitudes, but His love took over. His love threaded through every part of my days, my relationships and my journey. I couldn’t escape it. Sure, I want to disassociate myself with a lot the church has become, but God has called me to be a change-maker.
“The call of God is not a reflection of my nature; my personal desires and temperament are of no consideration. As long as I dwell on my own qualities and traits and think about what I am suited for, I will never hear the call of God. But when God brings me into the right relationship with Himself, I will be in the same condition Isaiah was. Isaiah was so attuned to God, because of the great crisis he had just endured, that the call of God penetrated his soul. The majority of us cannot hear anything but ourselves. And we cannot hear anything God says. But to be brought to the place where we can hear the call of God is to be profoundly changed.” My Utmost for His Highest
Over the last couple of weeks, God has reminded me of what Oswald Chambers so eloquently describes above. My whole identity is not wrapped up where I serve, my title, or simply who I am. It is all about who I am in HIM. It comes down to Jesus being enough, and when I embrace that – when I live that, I don’t quit. I don’t let the opinions of others keep me at bay from what God has called me to do. I don’t let the ugliness of other Christ-followers define who I know God to be and who He can be to others. When I want to give up on all of it, my peace is found in the simplicity of who Christ is. Here’s what I know to be true. The Gospel is quite enough. Jesus is quite enough. He doesn’t need me, He doesn’t need you. He doesn’t need us to try to sell reasons to people to worship with us. He doesn’t need any sort of talent we possess. He simply needs and wants us to love with every fiber of our being – to love everyone we meet and that our relationship with Him be what matters. Don’t quit. I don’t know who more this is for than me, maybe. All I know is God just doesn’t need me, but I need a whole lot more of Him. LifeSong Church doesn’t need me. We need Him. Plain and simple. Jesus. He’s enough. He’s simply enough.