It’s funny how many times we know the solution for our struggles, but rather than taking action with what we know works, we search for easier answers elsewhere. This is true with so many things. If you want to lose weight, we know that you should eat less and move more. Yet we search for quick fixes and other solutions that seem more appealing and easier like diet pills and potions. If you want to be more organized, you should keep less and assign a home for your things. Yet we buy organizing tubs or books hoping that quick and easy purchase is going to fix it all. I don’t know why we do this, but we all do it. Recently, I realized that I’ve been doing the same thing for several years now with another situation without even realizing it.
When I first started attending church, my focus was always upward on God – praising Him, thanking Him and getting to know Him better. As my focus continued to be on Him, it is amazing all of the wonderful people and things He brought into my life – including my organizing business and opening my eyes to what I was really created for. I was super active and super involved at church and the people there became very important to me. They were my family, my support, my everything (I was estranged from my own family at the time – thankfully that’s been rectified now).
Unfortunately, about 4 years after I started attending this church, the Pastor left. Slowly one by one, all of the people I loved and now considered family were leaving as well. I didn’t understand it. I was completely confused. Why would they leave? I felt hurt, sad, rejected and confused by it all. Top that with the fact that at the very same time the church was falling apart, my marriage was ending. That came with its own losses, changes and feelings. Though I struggled hard to keep my eyes focused upward, it became increasingly difficult because I was so heavily burdened with my own feelings.
Eventually I ended up leaving too because it was just too painful to keep losing more people each week. That was 7 years ago! For the past 7 years I have visited and joined so many churches that I’ve lost count. Some of the churches I would simply visit once, some of them I’d spend a year or two there. However, I never felt like I really found my new church home. Because of all of this loss, the past 7 years have been an unbelievably painful period for me.
It’s been hard to get up every single Sunday for the past 7 years and make myself walk into a church completely alone where I don’t know anyone. My experience most of this time has been that I walk in alone, go unnoticed and then walk out alone. I’ve been angry, hurt, confused and a million other things during all of this. Because I really never wanted my other church home to fall apart, I was looking for the same church out there somewhere else. Of course, I never found that.
What God has impressed upon me for the last month is that my focus has been on the wrong thing. When I first came to church, I came because of Him. I came because I loved Him, I loved that He loved me, I wanted to know Him better and I wanted to thank Him and worship Him for all that He’d done in my life. I didn’t go to church looking for a church family, looking for my life’s purpose or looking to start a business – those things all just came because my eyes were focused on Him, where they should be. While visiting churches I’ve tried to keep my eyes focused on Him. But I realize now that I was more caught up in myself and what the church and people there could do for me, rather than just praising Him.
Once God started opening my eyes to this, I shifted my focus completely 100% back onto Him. It’s unbelievable how He has shown me all of the ways I was making this transition more difficult on myself. He showed me all of the ways that I was not letting people in, all of the while blaming them for not doing their part to help me fit in. Honestly after going to my new church relatively unnoticed for 2 years, since my focus shifted back on to Him, there hasn’t been a week that someone hasn’t stopped me and asked me to sit with them.
My point is that as a believer, you’re given the solution to all of your problems the minute you give your life to Him. When you keep your focus on Him, everything else falls into place. Rather than continuing to read scriptures to know more about Him, I shifted the focus on to me and what He could do for me. I wanted a Bible passage that explained step by step exactly how to transition to a new church when you are full of hurt. Guess what? I never found that passage. But, when I stopped looking for how the Bible and church could serve me and shifted my thought pattern back to Him and all that He’s already done for me, everything fell into place. I knew the answer to my problem from the beginning was prayer and keeping my focus on Him, but I went off looking for a different answer with a quick fix instead!