Every Sunday feels the same. I wake up early enough, but then proceed to waste time doing a plethora of unnecessary things instead of getting ready for church. I then am filled with regret as I rush to find a scarf to wear over my head, rush to pack my things into my small bag and also try to fill in the Sunday School workbook before I arrive at church. Church starts at 7.30am, and every Sunday during announcements I chorus this with the rest of the church.
In reality, I haven’t been able to arrive at church before 7.30am since the start of this year. Walking to church most Sundays, I feel a heavy weight upon my shoulders. Life simply seems bleak, and there seems to be a void in my heart that I cannot fill.
I was in church on Tuesday. It was a cool day, the second day back at university. I had packed a booklet into my bag in the morning, determined to go to church and give it to the rightful owner. That was why I was going to a weekday service. To simply hand over the booklet. As I walked through the church gates, greeting the security men as I passed by, all that was on my mind were the assignments which had already been dumped on my shoulders. I wasn’t going in with any expectations of what I wanted to hear from God on that very day. I just wanted to carry out a menial task. If not for that task, I wouldn’t even have gone to church.
I was trying to come up with a plan for how to tackle them. I touched my rough hair which although being braided with attachment not less than 3 weeks ago now resembled hair of 3 months old. I realised I didn’t bring a scarf with me. That was fine, I wouldn’t be the only one without my head covered today anyway. All through the service, I was in a state of limbo. I kept zoning out and coming back in, half in anticipation of the call from one of my lecturers so I could resolve the issue of a change in timetable. All in all, I forgot most of what was preached by the time I stepped through those church doors at the end of church.
Though I forgot a lot, one thing stuck with me. The lady who preached was speaking on the theme “Abba Father #4” and she said something along the lines of being dedicated to God if we truly loved him. It was in that moment I did a quick reflection, and came to the realisation that I did not love God.
What is this love for God people around me continue to profess? When it comes to the love for God, I see people putting this in their Instagram bios while living lifestyles that are a complete opposite, me included. The only difference is that I haven’t claimed to love God in my bio.
If I loved God, I would make an extra effort to be in church on time.
If I loved God, I would wake up each morning with him being the first thing on my mind. I would not immediately reach for the familiar shape of my phone, waiting with unread notifications which will take up about 1 hour of my time.
If I loved God, I would open my bible as frequently as possible, not just when I’m in church. Even when I’m in church I simply stare at the projected bible passages though my Bible is neatly tucked away in my small bag.
If I loved God, I would pray. I would endeavour to grow my already withered relationship with him.
If I loved God, I would be an embodiment of all he represents. I would endeavour to always act right, always carry a mindset and speak words which glorified him. I would treat people fairly.
If I loved God.. I would have joy.
When I’m in church, I love the feeling of safety it gives me but I know I’m not truly there. I am simply a speculator, watching as wonders happen in the lives of others while I struggle with myself each day. During praise and worship, I watch people so engrossed in songs and I feel a slight joy in my heart. I wish I could be like them, surrendering all instead of thinking of which assignment or work I have to do when I get home.
I don’t love God, and that is the truth. I can only say perhaps that I love the idea of God.
I don’t want to be a speculator forever. I don’t want to forever watch others experience God in his fullness while I’m left with the crumbs from the table.
I don’t want to become a miserable adult, stumbling through life and it’s plethora of decisions without any proper guidance. I need to realise myself, realise my relationship with God and get back on track. There was once a time I felt a closeness, but as I took actions which I felt dirtied me, I went farther away from his presence.
It’s funny how I only ever hear people doing bad things then finding God one day, but why doesn’t anyone ever talk of backsliders? Why doesn’t anyone talk of those who are physically in church but mentally far away? Those who now come to church as a result of a built in routine, most of the time without any proper expectations? Those whose relationship with God starts and ends on Sundays, lasting 2-4 hours or so? There are many of us, some even being workers in church, acting under the facade of false righteousness.
I can’t live like this anymore.
I want to love God. I want to love him wholeheartedly. I want him to be like an umbrella over me. I want to take each step each day knowing that he is guiding me. I want God to be more than just a distant idea. I am not entitled to crumbs from the table, I want the full piece of bread. I want to experience fullness and joy in his presence. Right now, the only time I begin to feel my spirit awaken is on Saturdays, just because church is right around the corner. This is wrong.
I have to start somewhere.
I felt this quote by Roald Dahl really helps explain my feelings. A relationship with a human always takes effort to maintain and keep good, how much more with God? I don’t want to be lukewarm, as lukewarm people eventually get spat out.
Have you ever backslidden? Can you relate to this post? Share your thoughts on how you were able to overcome backsliding, or simply how you maintain your current relationship with God! I would highly appreciate it.
*The Soul category is dedicated to tackling issues having to do with Christianity and struggling with the faith, as well as other things which may affect the soul. It is intended to be a category to help one grow.*