Keep Choosing Church & GraceFull Tuesday Link-Up

Keep Choosing Church

Keep Choosing Church

There is this struggle that can be so hard to say out loud. At the same time, it is often easily said online — just how disappointed you are in the church. In your church. And we say harsh words, blame the church for the hurt. Sometimes rightly, I am not saying that.

But rarely do I hear anyone say, let’s keep choosing church.

A few years back, I went through the hardest time. I was used and abused. I was in sin. And as it all unraveled, I carried the guilt of someone else. I took the hard fall because it was easier to blame me than to blame them. And it hurt. For months. My own sin hurt, too, like it always does. But going to church just hurt.

Still I kept going, every week, even though it meant coming home absolutely exhausted and crying. And honestly? It was worth it.

And I want you to know that, friend. Because we need to keep choosing church, today and every day. Mostly because I think that is what Jesus would have wanted for us.

Maybe you were hurt, too. Maybe you were wronged, maybe you were abused and used. Or maybe you raised your voice to speak out a concern but there was no one to listen. Maybe gossip spread faster than light, taking your reputation amongst everything else.

It hurts. I know that. But that shouldn’t keep you from going to church.

We are all fallen, messy people living in a broken world. So we do what fallen, messy people do. We look out only for our own benefit. We choose ourselves before others, and place ourselves in front of others. That isn’t reason to give up on church, though.

You Gain So Much From Church

Sometimes it can be hard to reconcile what you had imagined the perfect church would be like, with what happened. And I get that. What we tend to forget, though, is that church can grow, too. It can move forward. Yes, things went wrong and you got hurt. Probably so many others did too. And no, not all things are perfect right now either. But that doesn’t mean that growth is not happening.

So it might be hard right now. I know that. But still keep choosing Jesus. And keep choosing church as well. Maybe they did what was wrong. Maybe what you did, how you reacted was wrong. Or maybe how they treated you wasn’t right. Still choose church. Still choose to believe there are better days ahead — but also give the better days a chance.

As I look back on what has happened at my church over all these years, I can only say I am glad I didn’t leave. Because I have gained so much. I have a family that is not blood related but we are bound by the blood of Christ. We are in this together — broken together, helping and growing and loving and watching out for one another.

So I get come broken and wrecked, knowing I am still loved. Knowing I am still accepted because really, which one of us is not broken at all? And I wouldn’t know this if I had left. I wouldn’t have seen the beauty of forgiveness and grace. I wouldn’t be able to extend such forgiveness and grace myself.

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19 Comments

  1. Oh, Good for you! Church can be so complicated, but it’s part of our obedience, and in the loving and forgiving, we learn about our own sin tendencies and have to seek forgiveness and accept undeserved grace.

    1. Church indeed can be so complicated at times, just like all the other relationships! But I think there is so much for us to learn — especially about ourselves, like you said, Michele. Thank you for stopping by here today!

  2. Amen! Amen! Amen! Great post. The best advice you gave, keep choosing Jesus, and keep choosing church. Thank you so much for sharing!

  3. This is beautiful. I too kept choosing church even when I felt I needed to come in late and leave early to avoid others. And eventually that feeling went away. And I keep pressing on even though I still feel disconnected in many ways. It’s the right thing to do and I always benefit from being there. And in the mean time I pray pray for that connection again. laurensparks.net

    1. Lauren, I am so glad to hear that! Not that church is hard, but that you are still pressing on and doing the beautiful thing of seeking for connection. That really is just so wonderful. God bless you!

  4. I love how you and I tend to write about similar topics so often! Never exactly the same but complimentary.

    Your advice to keep choosing church is important, especially when it feels hard. It is so easy to give up, but God loves the Church. If we stop loving the Church it’s like telling a friend you can’t stand her husband or her kid. The church isn’t perfect, and it won’t be this side of heaven, but when we press in, when we lean in to Him and keep choosing love, we can keep choosing the Church.

    1. So true, Rebecca! Church definitely isn’t always easy but just like with the rest of the life, we were never promised easy. Still that doesn’t mean we can’t and should love the Church. Thanks for sharing this space with me. God bless you!

  5. I so appreciate these words, Ronja! I recently went through a season that was incredibly painful. After years of trying to repair a broken situation and having my concerns silenced by leadership, we ultimately needed to change faith communities in order to heal. But we didn’t give up on the big-C church even though we needed to move away from that particular congregation. I love how you put it: “let’s keep choosing church”. So well said!

    1. Thank you, Aimee! It’s sad when something like that happens but yes, sometimes it is better for us to change church. Still, we need to keep choosing to find a church and then to get to know that particular church. That’s isn’t easy but there’s so much we can learn and so much we eventually receive!

  6. At times it’s about focusing our eyes on Jesus, knowing we are still this side of heaven… all our brothers & sisters in Him are being perfected at different maturities but none have reached that perfection yet.
    While attending church in obedience to Him & fruitful blessings eventually come 😉
    Blessings,
    Jennifer

  7. Thanks for the encouragement to keep choosing church. There have been seasons where I’ve wanted to give up on it too but thankfully I’ve always found reasons to keep going, and in the end I’m always glad I did.

    1. I’m so glad, too, that you always found reasons to keep going! I think we will receive so much when we just push through and keep choosing church.

    1. That really is a difficult place to be! A wise pastor once pointed out how Jesus went to the synagogue every week though sure none of those were perfect… that’s such an encouragement to keep pushing through the hard part. We may not find a perfect church but a good one at least eventually.

  8. I suspect there is no one who has been in church more than a month who hasn’t experienced some of this. I have been hurt at times, not listened to when I spoke up, and all the rest, but I’ve also grown, learned, and been blessed in ways that only God can orchestrate. But my natural tendency is to run and stay away. But I have learned that’s not what God desires. Thanks for writing this very important post. I’m pinning this one, Ronja!

  9. It’s not always easy, I totally agree—church is full of humans after all! But I have to remind myself that Jesus chose the church as His bride, and He loves her dearly. So yes, I choose church, too! 🙂 Thanks for sharing… I’m stopping by from #momentsofhope

  10. Wonderful advice! Church isn’t always easy – and often our biggest hurts happen there. Maybe because it’s where we try to convince ourselves the hurt won’t happen. Or maybe it’s because satan has placed the biggest target on its back. Working things out is difficult. Staying is difficult. And leaving when God calls you elsewhere is difficult. … But it’s always worth it!

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