Here’s the experience of a friend of mine – and maybe yours as well:
I feel too awful to leave my house to get to Church. Church seems to be a place for those who have there masks on tightly, or well enough, to function at an acceptable Christian level. I can’t. My mask has well and truly fallen off. And I’m left with supposedly the ‘real me’. And guess what, I hate her. I hate her mess, I cry all the time, emotionally I am completely unstable, fragile. I can’t function properly, or do normal everyday tasks. I can’t look after my kids. Make a sandwich, cook a meal. Be the wife I want to be to my husband. I am broken, and hurting, isolated, clinically depressed, have an anxiety and a panic disorder. I am so lonely, but equally terrified of people. they can hurt me more (and have hurt me more) Sometimes I can’t put the light on, I keep my curtains drawn so I can’t see the world outside going on without me.
Most days I spend everyday in bed, which is where I feel safest. Imagine that walking into a Church? Church doesn’t feel a safe place, when you are a Christian, but ‘sinful, messed up and miserable’ it feels like a place you will be judged, a place where they worship – put you can’t lift your head to songs that make you feel worse – you’re not living a victorious life. The sermon urges you to put your faith into action, to love your neighbours, get involved in your communities. And your whole being cries out. I CAN’T. I ‘m dying right here in your Church. I’m broken, injured, damaged. I can’t even stand up. I can’t do the things you want me to do, I can’t be the person you want me to be. Church is not where I belong. Church is a place where all my failures and fragilities are highlighted more. The shiny masks look so beautiful. But they scare me. I’m bruised all over, my soul aches, I’m in so much pain, my face is a picture of torment, my body shakes. I’m really ill.
Some days I just want to die.
How would you react to a Christian walking into your Church looking like that? One prayer (could- but probably won’t) heal the damage that has been done to her. The state she is in.
I know Jesus is the answer, though He doesn’t feel that close at the moment either. I know my Bible. I believe and am trying to trust God more, believe him, thank him etc etc. I know that Jesus cames for the weak, the broken, the hurting, the wounded.
But Church. Church is different. How can the Church help me?
What would you say?