Psalm 42

“As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God.”-Psalm 42

As I look through my notes throughout the past year, I came across a sermon on Psalm 42. The preacher ask us to take out a section of the verse and replace it with something we place above God.

“As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for____.”

What do I place above God in my current stage of life?

The list is currently pretty long at the moment.  I seem to place pretty much everything before God.  I place my time, energy, people, experiences, career, baking, laundry, eating….the list could go on.  All these things have a common denominator.  They all cause me to be busy.  I am a sucker for busyness.  I hate having downtime.  I plan my days, weeks and months away.  I don’t factor in precious time with my Lord and Savior.  My busyness covers up other sins that I apparently don’t feel like dealing with.

I try to be busy and cover up my pride.  My pride has gotten worse since I have had a child.  I don’t want to ask for help from family.  I don’t want to be one of those parents that pawn their children off on family all the time.  I want to prove to my family I am capable.  I want to prove to them I don’t have to be co-dependant on them.  I don’t want to look like a failure.  I don’t want anyone to have the power and the reason to boast to others that they helped me.  I can be so foolish.  God placed a community of people to help me out when I need it.  I should take this to my advantage.

I try to be busy and cover up my anxiety and fear.  My fear has gotten worse since I had a child.  I work for the court system, so I hear terrifying things everyday.  I fear that something bad will happen.  I fear that I won’t be a good enough wife and mother.  I fear that I will place to much expectation on my child.  I get anxious about finances and career choices.  Why do I fear anything?  God has always came through and always will.  I easily forget his promises and His answered prayers.

I try to be busy and cover up my resentment.  I have a lot of family issues that I need to deal with.  I have had bad experiences happen to me as a child that I essentially blame my family for.  I don’t feel like dealing with it and honestly don’t know how to.

I try to be busy and cover up my hurt.  I don’t speak my true feelings sometimes.  I bottle my feelings up, which causes more anxiety and resentment.  I think my hurt is no big deal and it will eventually blow over.  I don’t recognize that I am allowed to have feelings and am allowed to express them.

It seems to be a never ending cycle of sin.

The crazy thing is that when I was on maternity leave a couple months ago, I had a lot of time to sit and think.  Pride, anxiety, fear and hurt were all brought up.  Past wombs from childhood and beyond came to the surface.  I didn’t have a 5 page checklist to check off.  I didn’t have tons of events to attend.  My job was to take care of my child.  I would sit at home while taking care of my baby, obsessing over these sins.  I need to start dealing with them.  I need to start repenting to God.  I place so many things before God it is embarrassing.  God deserves my entire life.  He deserves to be my first priority.  My goal is to let God start taking away these sins and start removing them from my life.

Churches and Christianity

This Fall, we attended some family members churches out of obligation and love for our families.  They wanted to show off our sweet baby girl to their friends. To be perfectly honest with you, my husband and I attended one of the churches for over a year when we were church hunting.  After attending our current church for a couple years, I was blown away at the differences.  I have to say how GRATEFUL I am for my church.  They absolutely preach the Bible and cut out the fake Christian facade that other churches embody.

First off, I was blown away at how little of the Bible they actually preached.  The sermon barely touched the surface.  They were throwing out Bible verses most Christians and non-Christians know.  By the way, I totally get that preaching a sermon is a huge endeavor.  I was disappointed that they didn’t get very deep into scripture.  I had higher expectations for of a church of this caliber.

Another issue that bothered me (this also bothered me while we attended the church and it was one of reasons why we left) is that the sense of perfectionism that manifests throughout the church.  It is like everyone is perfect and has it all together.  The preacher never uses real life examples of struggles in his life.  One of the qualities that I appreciate about our church is that the preaching staff uses real like examples of sin, struggle and hurt in their life during sermons.  Preachers are REAL people.  They have struggles.  They deal with sins on a daily basis, just like we do.  They are not perfect individuals that we should admire because of their perfectionism.  Actually, I admire them because they are not perfect.  They have courage to put their real life on display for the congregation to relate to.

I will be the first person to admit that I struggle with the embodiment of perfectionism and “looking” like I have it all together.  But the thing is, I could go talk to anyone in my church about a sin in my life and they would be willing to talk about it with open arms.  They would graciously help me work through my sin and help me turn to the Lord, without judging me.  In other churches, you have to hide your sins and struggles.  You are looked down upon if you have something deep you are dealing with in your life.  There is not a sense of openness in other churches that I receive from my church.  It saddens me that Christians cannot feel comfortable about talking with their struggles to another church member for fear of embarrassment.  Our church family is where we should turn to in times of hardship.

Just to be clear, I am not saying that everyone is like this in every church that embodies perfectionism.  I know several people in these churches that I could turn to.  In my opinion, there are Christian churches that do not welcome being open about sin and struggle.  They are hiding under this idea that Christians have to be perefect and without flaw.  There is this fakeness about the members that people can’t relate to.  Everything seems to be sugar coated.  Everyone is “good” and “doing great.”  I know this is not the case ALL the time.  Not many people seem to want a deeper relationship with other believers.  They are just there on Sundays or just there to volunteer for a program at the church.

In my opinion, these churches are filled with believers who love God wholeheartedly.  I just don’t think they are truly living up to the potential God has for them.  They are limiting God.  They will never experience deep Christian relationships with others.

The Bible is filled with believers who dealt with sins and were flawed.  That is literally the whole point of the Bible.  God is here to take away our sins.  We can’t do anything works base to save us.

Maybe these churches don’t know they are giving off this wall of judgment.  I pray that this would change and everyone gets to experience Christianity in its truest form.  We are all broken and that is why we come to God and attend church.