The church is my name tag

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The mound of clothes gathering on the trunk in my bedroom is growing, and so are the piles of laundry in both hampers and towels in the laundry room, and the sink is full to the brim of dishes. I wandered around my home for a few minutes collecting odds and ends to be put away and wondering how in the world my house will be in order before our community group peeps show up at 5.

Especially since I’m now snuggled down in my bed not lifting a finger.

I’m finding that I’m in a season where my heart is being shaken up and down, back and forth; a season where sickness, worry, and fear is literally my neighbor, and where issues arise that push and tug and shove on my heart making me lean in and figure out how much I truly trust Jesus with everything, and how much do I try to control on my own.

And with all my thoughts continually shoved into my heart, sometimes it’s just hard to pull out and clear off that cluttered chest or the piles in the corner (it also makes it hard when I have a broken dryer…)

I look around and know that sometimes I just don’t have room in my heart for dealing with the mundane–because issues that burden my soul truly have a physical tiring affect and means I have to choose rest over cleaning. Other times the mundane chores are my healing and sanctuary, giving purpose to my hands as my heart sorts through it’s troubles.

And I know I’m not alone–I have every confidence that probably every single person reading this has some sort of *something* they are working through–life just has a way of being like this. Trouble follows people, right?

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I stood in front of the bathroom mirror just now, laughing because I still had my name tag on from our church gathering this morning, and we even went out to lunch afterwords so I must have warn it with pride. I ripped it off.

But it reminded me that the church stays with us. If we are truly functioning as the church, we can’t just rip the label off our sweater and walk out the door and be done with it until the next meeting. We can’t hide. It’s our grit–it’s who we are.

The burdens of the church will be ours, and the joys of the church will be ours. Our cares will be there and it’s cares will be here. In a way it should be so mixed into our lives that you don’t know where you end and the church begins. It’s with us.

If it’s functioning like it should, that figurative name tag should stay on for the rest of the week, because being part of the church is a day in and day out thing. And sometimes I forget that.

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Sometimes I’m tempted to think of the church as a once a week thing, which might explain why I feel the way I do…

Sometimes I don’t want any part of it, and I’m just being honest with you. Sometimes it feels too hard. And I know beyond know beyond know, we all deal with this from time to time. There are inner wrestlings of the heart, messy business to deal with, peace to strive after, and just hard work that never ends.

Sometimes I just don’t feel like it–the business of worship seems too exhausting. I know–it’s weird to say that, because how can worshipping our Savior be exhausting? But when your own humanity seems to creep up around you and swallow you up, you can’t really see straight and clearly enough to see that this difficult business of worship is actually exactly what your heart and soul need.

Sometimes I just feel weary of it all. I feel like I can’t play and sing even one more word in front of the church because it feels like my soul is open and bear to everyone. Or on the opposite side of the spectrum, because it feels like it’s hidden and no one really knows what’s inside and I feel like I’m fooling people. It’s either too raw and real or too hidden and secret.

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But this week was different somehow. Even last night as we prepared and practiced our music, I felt like it was literally tuning my heart towards Christ. Singing about God being my God and never changing, looking to the hills to find my help, remembering His perfect wisdom that is the answer for everything, being in awe that we have a Redeemer who restores and reconciles.

Yes, I’m often in awe of what we get to sing about, and no this isn’t the first time I’ve been encouraged by it. But in recent weeks it has felt more laborious to me than joyful and supernatural, so this heart tuning was the refreshment my soul needed.

It made me more eager to be with the church than ever, and for probably the first time, this morning when it was time to lead music I almost jumped out of my seat and ran to the piano to play, because I needed it and I wanted it. I needed the spiritual uplifting, and I needed the unified sound of our church singing these words together and towards God.

I mean, don’t get me wrong, no one usually has to force me out of my seat to lead music with my husband or anything–I enjoy it for sure, but sometimes I get nervous and shaky and not sure about this whole leading business, even though I know it’s what God has called me to do right now. (I get caught up in that whole humanity business and have a hard time looking heavenward)

The worries of my heart aren’t fixed, but they are steadied. My questions aren’t answered, but they are carried and heard. The fears aren’t gone, but they are abated.

And this once a week church gathering reminded me that this is just the culmination of a week and the beginning of a week–we aren’t just about a worship service. The worship service helps shape our hearts, ground us in the Word, and prepare us for another week of serving and loving those who are around is.

But it’s also about propelling us forward to seek peace with each other and to love like Christ loves, no matter the circumstances, throughout the week. This weekly meeting isn’t the main event–it’s the main refresher, main teacher, main eye-opener, and then the rest of the week is where it all happens, in all it’s glory and in all it’s mess.

And while I’ll try not to wear a name tag everywhere, Jesus has written his name on my heart, and His people are my people, and I want to love them hard.

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  • denise

    You did a beautiful job of articulating such a raw and real place, once each of us goes to sometimes, even when we can’t put feet on it like you did. Thank you for sharing your heart, and for bringing Christ to bear in the midst. A blessed reminder… of Christ’s true place in our heart, of the fact that we are not alone when we struggle to feel the joy that is ours, that we can do better to love better, to leave our church name tag on our hearts through the week. Sounds like we’ve both been going through a similar season, though I don’t have half the talent in my whole body as you do in your musical fingertips, what a blessing your ministry have been to our church body. Hugs, friend.