Run from any man who preaches that if you have enough faith, real life with all its pains and strains will cease. Being blessed, or experiencing the power of God, isn't about escaping real life, it's about navigating real life by following Jesus and embracing the church. I'm going through some of this right now.
A Real Life Kind of Day
I randomly woke up early on Sunday morning and couldn't go back to bed. So I was fighting some fatigue. We got ready for church as normal and then, at 9:00 when we usually leave we realized we couldn't find the van key. We both remember Marin playing with it, but neither of us could find it. We searched until 9:45, turning over everything. Literally. Like if you walked into our house at 9:50 you would have thought two behemoth men had an all out brawl.
So we switched the car-seat to the truck, turned off the airbag, and squeezed in so we could rush to church. When we got there, a few new people walked in. That's great! Visitors!
Well, one of them had been struggling with intoxication that morning. We love her and welcome her back, but it took about 45 minutes to, as kindly as I could, have her removed from the activities of the day. I won't go into it because I don't want her, should she ever read this, to feel shame - there's no shame in Christ. But I'm sure it was difficult for her, and it was also difficult for me.
After getting home from church, I found out that my grandmother had died. (I was close with my grandma and intend to write about her next week after the funeral.)
I tell you all this because I think it's important to know that accepting Jesus doesn't guard you against having days like these. They happen to all of us, including pastors. There is no magic formula to get rid of them. Serve him, give to the church, give your body to be burned and real life will still find you. However, Jesus does provide us with a new option for responding to real life.
Trust Jesus. Trust the church.
I'm taking some time away from regularly scheduled life to have some fun. Jesus is not against this; this is part of enjoying him. You do need a chance to grieve and process emotion, don't get me wrong. But there is nothing holy about moping around and feeling sorry for yourself for an unhealthy amount of time. Yesterday, we went out for ice cream and then went to a friends house.
I'm also taking time for extended spiritual discipline. This morning I read some scriptures and got a few things done. But after this, I'm taking Marin outside and, for about an hour, we'll just walk and pray.
Lastly, I have to admit that I can't do everything. I need the church. Now, Jesus has taught me this lesson before, so I feel this time it's easier, but somewhere deep down in all of us, there's resistance when we reach out for help.
By God's grace, I'm surrounded by a lot of brothers and sisters. Someone is watching Marin for us as we head out to a wedding this weekend (and they're taking a day off work to do it). And one of my deacons has already emailed me and offered to take over the service for next Sunday, so he'll be delivering the message on Sunday night. Just these two things alone will make my load lighter and give me space to walk through this tough week.
There's a time for everything. Sometimes Jesus does miracles; sometimes we get to see something clearly supernatural. Other times, and I'd even say many times, we're called to navigate real life in a Christian way.
Photo Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/xelcise/