Monday, May 13, 2013

Sundays and My Not So Silent Confession

Yesterday was Sunday.  A day for rest.  God himself rested from his works on the seventh day and made it holy (Genesis 2:2-3).  Now comes the confession part.  On any given Sunday, I am pretty sure my house is a far cry from the regularly scheduled Sabbath God intended for us.  I am sure you all are better at Sundays than we are in my house.

Let me (despite my embarrassment) just be honest and give you a look at Sundays for us.  Since yesterday was Mother's Day and an exception to a regular Sunday, let's just take a look at a few Sunday's ago.  My alarm went off at 6:30 AM.  Chip, my husband, had been out of town since Wednesday morning.  I was so exhausted from being a one woman show all week, and I had to practically prop my eyes open with toothpicks to get going.  Ugggh, I thought.  Did I really need to go to church?   Chip wasn't there to help me get the boys ready, and I knew getting them ready on my own was no small task.  Plus, I didn't look forward to sitting by myself for worship.  I was missing my sidekick.

I did my morning devotional, and by the time I finished, all three boys had joined me in bed.  My anxiety about getting it all done was building.  Over breakfast, I made it a point to stress my expectations for the morning.  I made it clear I needed them to help me so we could all get to church and get there on time (at least I thought I had).  I cleaned up from breakfast, ironed everyone's clothes, dressed my toddler, and jumped in for a record breaking, quick shower.  As soon as I cut the water off, I could hear the boys hootin' and hollerin', having a good ol' time down the hall.  Would you believe, they were jamin' to Kidz Bop and pillow fighting with their bean bags?  I was sure a tornado had come through their room.  Both big boys were still in pajamas, beds unmade, freshly ironed clothes piled in the floor, and we needed to walk out the door in 10 minutes.  In keeping it real, I have to tell you, at that point, I wanted to throw in the towel.

So I did one of those things I never wanted to do as a parent.  I started yelling and crying at the same time!  You know, it was a hysterical, desperate, "I am so disappointed.  You better be ready in 10 minutes if you know what's good for you" kind of lecture.  The truth is, those boys hurt my feelings that morning when they decided to completely ignore my pleas and do their own thing instead.  Then, I grabbed the little one and shut my bedroom door to finish getting ready and calm myself down in a forced kind of peace.

The car ride wasn't any better because I was still fuming and the boys still weren't listening or helping.  Plus, now we were all in a confined space so they were arguing to beat the band.  I forced them to silence and blasted the praise and worship music.  I was thinking we could all use a little "come to Jesus" time, and I was hoping a little gospel music would do the trick.  Then, right before we got to church, I cut the music off so I could remind them just one more time (in case I had not been clear) how upset I was with their choices.  And that, friends, is how we rolled into church.  I'd like to tell you that experience was a rare occurrence, but it happens in some way, shape, or form, often.

I am sure you and yours probably pop out of bed with enthusiasm, focus, and determination for worshiping God.  You manage a nice family breakfast together.   Everybody is excited to get ready for church.  You all make it leisurely out the door with all necessary hygiene items done and needed articles of clothing in place.  Next, you probably get to enjoy a peaceful car ride in which everyone gets along.  Then, every family member arrives eager and ready to praise God and grow in his/her faith.  Finally, you continue the day in fellowship together and with others more grounded in your faith and ready to act on God's grace and love in the world.  You, I am sure, cannot relate to my own Sunday morning chaos.

I am determined to change the Sunday morning dreadfulness in my family.  It is really ridiculous.  Otherwise, at the rate we are going, who wants to go to church?  I can find a million excuses (it's raining, I'm tired, the kids may be coming down with a little something, I don't want to go by myself, or even I would rather...) in order to avoid the predictable, unpredictable and unpleasant craziness in getting ready for church.  We just need to reinvent our Sunday morning routines.  I have to realize though, it's the getting there that's the problem.  Once we are there, there's guaranteed food for the mind, body, and soul.  And that "soul food" is well worth the effort.

I/we are clearly the problem, not God, because He delivers every time we show up.  There's a reason there's a deliberate and announced quiet time prior to our Sunday church service to "prepare our hearts and minds for worship."  If you go to church with us, you have probably, at one time or another, seen us flying through the doors after the music has started, feeling like something the cat drug in.  The reality is, though, no matter how ridiculous our morning has been before we walk through our church doors, I always walk away feeling refreshed and thankful I came.  Church has "soul food" you can't find 
anywhere else.  I just have to get there.

More on the "soul food" we find at church in posts this week, but too much good stuff for one post...Come back for more later.  :)

I would love to hear your thoughts, ideas, and comments on Sunday morning routines that ARE working in your house.  Clearly, the way our house gets out the door needs some work.  We are like herding a bunch of wild animals out the door!

A prayer for today-

Dear Lord and Savior,
Forgive me for letting my ways of doing things get in the way of following and serving You.  Help me to acknowledge and change the routines in my life that need work.  Strengthen my faith and my family with Your grace.  Transform our daily habits and words to be a reflection of Your perfect love, Lord.
In the name of Jesus, I pray,
Love of Christ fill you,

This post is part of a series on going to church.  For related posts, feel free to use the links below.

1.  Church and Soul Food #1-honor God and humble myself
2. Church and Soul Food #2-experience God's Holiness
3. Church and Soul Food #3-make the smartest decision
4. Church and Soul Food #4- join in Christ's family
5. Church and Soul Food #5- renew your purpose

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