I left church today, and I knew I needed to write when I got home. God had convicted me, and there was a course of action I wanted to take. If I recorded my thoughts and my plan of action, then I was more likely to follow through instead of having a fleeting idea. Now that the kids are all in bed, and Matt is asleep beside me, I can begin on this journey to inconvenience….
For a couple of years now, I have struggled with wanting to go to church. I want to attend and participate in church–it’s the actual going that’s the struggle. Matt is the leader of our church’s tech team, which means he arrives at church every Sunday somewhere between 6:30 and 7 a.m. and, as of late, does not come home until around 2 p.m. Therefore, I have the sole responsibility of getting our three children three and under clothed and fed and packed in our minivan for the drive to church. Satan works very hard on Sundays, and I normally feel very angry by the time I’ve gotten to church after rushing around getting everyone ready by myself.
I used to attend the 9 a.m. service, but after Chloe was born, I didn’t think I could make it that early, anymore. Also, my sister and her husband began attending church at 10:45, so I switched services so that we could all attend together, even though I preferred going to the first service. Having my sister to sit next to helped quell the frustration I felt every Sunday that I sat by myself as my husband worked in the sound booth. I don’t think we’ve sat together in the actual congregation from start to finish of a church service in two and a half years. For me, church has been a lonely and disappointing experience, and every Saturday night, the tension would start to build. I knew the morning chaos that would ensue the following day and how I would feel when I actually got to church. And Matt knew it, too.
I made sure on many occasions to let him know that I was unhappy with the time he spent volunteering at church. He already got home late from work; why did I need to give up Wednesdays, some Saturdays, and half of Sunday to the church? Where did the kids and I fit into this picture?
Today I got my answer. Our pastor began a series on inconvenience–allowing ourselves to enter into inconvenient situations for the greater good. To have great success in marriage, faith, work, etc., we have to allow ourselves to be inconvenienced; nothing worth having comes easy.
I had already been mulling this idea over in my mind as our pastor had previously asked for some people in the congregation to attend the 12:30 p.m. service so that visitors could have plenty of seats during the earlier services. 12:30 would be the most inconvenient time for me to attend. While I would have more time to get the kids ready for church, getting them lunch before church would be difficult but necessary so that they could immediately take naps when they got home. They would be cranky since church would get out after nap time normally begins. And we’d probably still arrive late to church, anyway. People with kids know that the time doesn’t matter; it’s the fact that kids are involved that makes all the difference! And when we finally got home from church, half the day would be over. Even with all my reasons for never wanting to attend the 12:30 service, I felt a pull to start attending, and now I know why.
God showed me the big picture today. Going to church at whatever time I attend, whether with my husband by my side or not, is not about me. It’s about Him. I go to worship Him, and Matt serves to worship Him. If I constantly drop negative comments to Matt about the time he spends away from me, he’s not going to want to spend more time with me. If anything, he’ll find another ministry at church! I am so blessed to have a husband that wants to serve the Lord and not an addiction at a bar or an internet site, and I need to remember that fact. If this ministry is how Matt feels called to serve God, then I need to allow myself the inconvenience of coming to church without his help.
That is not to say that I don’t think Matt and I can strike a happy balance between our two situations, but he knows how I feel. I have to trust that he is doing the best he can to recruit other volunteers so that we can attend church together once in a while. In the meantime, I have to let him take responsibility for this issue without my commentary…
…and I have to attend the 12:30 service. Allowing someone who has never enjoyed church the chance to sit and hear the Gospel instead of possibly standing in the back is worth my attending a more inconvenient service time. I, also, have a responsibility to make Sundays the best day of the week for my children. Going to church is supposed to be a joyful, stress-free time, so we are going to relax starting next Sunday. We will sleep late (is that possible with a three-month old?), go downstairs in our pajamas, and enjoy a huge brunch. Pancakes, eggs, and bacon will become a regular part of our Sunday routine. We’ll go to church full and happy (and probably late). And after church, the kids will fall asleep in the van and stay asleep as we transition them to their beds…
…ahem. Okay, now I’m dreaming, but so what? Cranky kids will be a minor inconvenience for the greater good.
This blog might not be my most entertaining or well-written, but I had to write it. By writing, I’ve committed myself to doing. Feel free to ask me next Sunday about brunch and my new attitude, and if you are interested in hearing more about inconvenience, check out http://www.12stone.com. Podcasts of the sermons are available.
10 thoughts on “Embracing Inconvenience”
Good luck with your new commitment, Jennifer. I think it must help to envision new changes so fully–and it's gotta help to have such an awesome brunch!
What a wonderful realization to have! In some ways I felt like you were describing me at the beginning of this post. I feel like that more often than I should – and I've let myself off the hook from attending for the last year or so as the solution. Not good. But, this post is inspiring and I can see an excitement in you peaking through.
Plus, that brunch/happy kids thing can totally happen – most likely on the few Sundays you and Matt can attend together! It'll be like a nice reward.
Thanks Jennifer-I felt the exact same way- your words could have been mine. I love your blogs-Keep them coming!
Jennifer, you are growing leaps and bounds in spiritual maturity. Here is the best thing about you. God spoke to you and you are obeying Him. You may find that this 12:30 time is very workable and you never know who God will have you meet. I'm very proud of you; especially where you recognize that Matt is serving His Lord and not his flesh.
Love, your #1 fan, Mom
GREAT post! I'm in a similar situation. Well, sort of… For a couple of years, ok maybe 3, we've struggled to make it to church. My husband is a football coach and Sunday afternoons are "film time." They meet to look at film of the upcoming week's opponent and discuss game-plan, practice schedule, etc. He leaves about 1:45 and doesn't usually return until after 7 or so. The selfish part of me doesn't want to spend the time that I DO have with him on Sunday getting ready for church, rushing around, shuttling two kids back and forth, hurrying to get lunch and naps in on schedule. I'm left feeling like Saturday is my only day we can spend as a family (as he isn't home most evenings until almost 8 o'clock). I'm trying to have a change of heart. We've been "making" ourselves go for about 2 months straight and while we're just getting ready to get knee-deep in football season, church has become a habit now. It's just something that happens naturally (well, for the most part…there's always SOMETHING that comes up w/ an infant and a 3 year-old).
(cont'd.) The selfish part of me still would like to be at home, but I know the time there would just be wasted. I NEED to be at church. I'm also going to get involved in the Wed. night supper/services. It'll just be me and the kids, but I'm choosing to make it part of our weekly schedule. I want church to be as familiar as home to my kids and that's going to require my commitment to a positive attitude.
Thanks, everyone! I'm always amazed at how many of you can relate to me or find any merit in what I write–many times I think I'm feeling the way I do in isolation and that my post won't interest any of you. Your support is greatly appreciated! And if you're in the neighborhood, come to church with me on Sunday–I'll treat you to brunch beforehand! 🙂
How'd it go???
It went well! We had pancakes, bacon, eggs, and fruit, and my sister, brother-in-law, and nephew came over to share our brunch. We relaxed, and I was able to enjoy church more. The kids didn’t nap, unfortunately, but we did have a nice morning. Thanks for asking!