The last couple of weeks I haven’t attended church. I was driving home from out of town and honestly this week I’ve been so exhausted I chose to sleep in today. But even still I feel like I’m a “bad Christian” because I’ve skipped church. Do you ever feel that way?
Today, in choosing not to go, it wasn’t preplanned. I had every intention of going, I was even going to go early and get free breakfast! I mean who passes up free food!? Then my alarm went off. It was early, I had to walk the dog, and the couch was continuing to call my name.
Any time I even think about not going to church, especially when there doesn’t seem to be a real reason not to, I go through the same old internal battle. The one that says if I don’t go I’m lazy, letting people down, and ultimately not a Christian. While all these thoughts are flooding my brain I’m also thinking things like it’s okay to get a little extra sleep when you’ve been non-stop for weeks, it will be okay to miss church, don’t worry.
Honestly, in the moment I get confused whose voice is whose. I start wondering, truly believing, I’ll be letting Jesus down if I don’t get up and go. If I don’t push through the tiredness, exhaustion, and keep “working for my salvation” then I’ll be in trouble. It makes church feel like more of a have-to than a want-to; just one more thing on my to-do list.
I love going to church, it’s a place to see friends, worship corporately, and learn new insights and understandings into God’s Word. When it gets twisted in my brain then it comes off as not so fun, and becomes a lie to tear down.
I made the choice today to not go to church, which came with the battle before the decision and then a battle after saying I chose wrong. The enemy likes to make us feel like we have to go to church, and if we don’t we’re in big trouble. That just isn’t true! It’s important, please don’t misunderstand my heart here, but if you struggle with the same internal battle I do I want you to know it’s okay. Be encouraged that God wants us to rest, that He isn’t only at church, and He comes with grace and mercy, not shame and punishment!
So if you need to rest and it happens to be the day you have a church service, then rest. Just don’t make it a habit; the community and encounters with God we get when we corporately worship with other believers can’t be found anywhere else.