For 15+ years I was a pastor’s wife, a small group leader, a life group inviter, a camp counselor alongside my husband.
When you’re in a church, you begin to speak the language, you adapt to the rhythms of serving and leading and taking on “we” language. It’s easy for the church to become the driving force, rather than being drawn to the mysterious Divine. And when we left that specific church, we also left the community, and the way they operated; the spoken, but also very unspoken rules.
At some point, we start asking deeper questions: Where is there space to listen and be with Jesus, instead of talking about him?
Where do I go to lament, mourn, not be okay, without getting a verse or bow or “God is good?”
In a church culture that can be unaware of our quickness to fix, to give advice, to rescue in the name of serving, where can we come and simply be heard and loved, knowing Jesus meets us most in a posture of dependency, and not having answers?
These days I’m drawn to Jesus, Father and the Spirit and the church. But when I hear, ‘My church is doing this,’ or ‘my pastor said this,’ my heart, confused, asks, ‘when did the church replace the spiritual journey?’
When did denominations or celebrity pastors or life groups or programs replace the beautiful transforming work of listening to Jesus first, before being told how He works? He’s so much broader and more creative than a paint-by-number organization.
Let’s redefine sanctuary.
The spiritual journey brings sanctuary outside of church walls.
The spiritual journey is okay stepping into out-of-the-box ways of experiencing the trinity.
The spiritual journey is untethered to a specific building or pastor or doctrine but is inclusive of love and hope and truth.
Hear me: church is valuable. It’s a beautiful overflow of what the journey ought to be all the other days of the week. It’s a gathering space for those hungry to sit at the feet of Jesus, and encourage one another toward all that is beautiful and true.
I love the church, I participate in our church, and I’m finding myself at home being with Jesus without a set of organized rules or churchy talk or expectations that say you’re in or out.
And I’m wondering, does such a thing exist?
For now, I’m finding myself at home in church, in spiritual formation/direction, in devouring the Word, but also living under the canopy of creation, the over-arching whispers of His invitation whether outside, snuggling our boys on the couch, or driving to and from.
He meets in wind, in banana pudding, in swimming with neighbor kids.
His truth is beyond and all-powerful, it stretches through walls and surpasses steeples.
His love wraps beyond denominations and doctrines and church leadership.
His community beckons on the porch with drinks, and in the supermarket, in addition to doing organic life with those we share a pew
or bible study with.
Sanctuary is knowing wherever we are present, He is present to us.