A year ago I was in a rough season (rough being an understatement). God was leading me through a dense wood and thick fog where I couldn’t make sense of anything around me, lost my sense of identity, and kept myself ridiculously busy in hopes of keeping my mind off of it all.
Reality check: my disheveled mindset prevented a good night’s rest so I spent a year packing busy day after busy day on top of sleepless night after sleepless night.
When the school year began, this included stretching my introverted nature’s socializing max. By the time I was home Wednesday afternoon, the last thing I wanted to do was turn right around and head out to small group…and I often didn’t.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a self-enforced rule that you never skip out on a church event if you can help it, but this time last year I got into the bad habit of making excuses. Sure, I could squeeze my homework in before life group, or I could take a little longer, not go to life group, and get to bed.
BUT, the times I did push through and go, I never regretted it.
Toward the end of my group’s study through Philippians last summer, there was one Wednesday I thought I had found an exception to the conclusion above. We were nearing the end of our breakout discussion and I had yet to find any spiritual refreshment. I was just as exhausted from my seemingly endless confusion as I was when I had arrived. That’s when Mckenna Haley connected Paul’s testimony to the song “I Know” by Big Daddy Weave.
That song was a life line over the next several months as it helped me process through my grief. See? I told myself upon reflection. You never skip out. Had I stayed home like I so desperately wanted to, I might never have come across an instrument that was so effective in my recovery.
While physical exhaustion is one thing (and should be attended to), gathering with people should not be avoided as the exhaustion of one’s mental state will drag one down farther than the first. We need to be involved in our local churches for spiritual refreshment.
My pastor once described this process as “regroup, rethink, release” or a “Sunday reset” in Oh Beloved One founder Amanda Brown’s words. It is extremely beneficial to come to the church service on Sunday and various activities throughout the week, refocus on God and reconnect with His people, then go back out refreshed to keep fighting.
This past Sunday my pastor shared a testimony of someone in our congregation who came to a church service feeling like his “brain was about to come unglued. I was barely coherent.” He was on the verge of panic during the entire sermon and wrote this:
“The point from Mark 1:1-15 went something like this, ‘The One who is the beloved Son in whom the Father is well-pleased is the same Son who is led into a brutal wilderness of intense Satanic temptation.’
“Moral of the story — Go to church, even if you are half asleep, working through meds, or something else … because you never know how God may use it. He can take one sentence, one scripture, one piece of truth and transform you with it. That scripture truth that was lodged in my brain for months after I left the building that day [that scripture truth]. When I couldn’t even open my Bible without having a panic attack, it became to me a flashing beacon of hope every time it got dark.”— Flourishing and Ministering Today
Even when you’re going through an overwhelming season, still go to church because—even though you might not be able to focus on the message as a whole—the Spirit may pull out one point, one lyric, one verse that will help you get one step closer to better.
Staying home will just maintain the cycle you feel stuck in. Why not get out and further the narrative?