The last several months I have been asking myself who was I meant to be? No I’m not having a midlife crisis on infinite earths. But I have been re-evaluating.
In November of 2017 Stacy and I started attending Foundations Church. I had been looking for a church before I met Stacy. I had called a few and asked them questions but it was clear that my mindset and these other organizations would not do well together.
But in November Stacy and I attended a marketing event with people who emitted their faith and belief through every pore of their body. Throughout my life when I have encountered people like this I would have a reaction similar to a vampire at a sunny beach. But there was something different about these individuals. My bullshit meter didn’t go off and I realized, or maybe remembered, that some people like this actually existed and they didn’t use their faith as weapon against others.
For those of you who don’t know me well, I tend to have an self-righteous, over-exaggerated sense of justice. Granted it’s my own code of justice which is where most of my problems have started in the pass. Usually when I felt others were being assaulted for the lifestyle by others using faith as a weapon I would play Don Quixote and defend the defenseless. Somewhere over the years I had become jaded and believed everyone was like this and secretly hypocrites.
But something spoke to me and touched my cold dead heart in November. I told Stacy I was willing to try a church. A google search took me to Foundations youtube videos and after watching a couple I was ready to give this one a try. And then God must have decided to give me another push.
Sunday rolls around and I don’t want to go. I don’t know what to expect. I don’t know anyone here. And I am afraid that this is going to be a waste of time. Actually, I think I was more afraid that this wasn’t going to be a waste of time. And if it wasn’t a waste of time how would I be able to reconcile my life up until now with where this might lead?
Stacy and I park the car and they have people out in the parking lot welcoming us to church. I know a lot of churches do this now. But I didn’t know it at the time. Part of me thought it was cool and part of me though of carnival barkers trying to get the new marks into their tent so they can run a game on them.
Stacy and I walk into the sanctuary. That is a weird word that I am still having trouble accepting. But I see it every week at Foundations. Everyone is welcome with no judgement and it truly feels like a safe sanctuary to me. But I am still having trouble letting my guard down . . .
So Stacy and I walk into the sanctuary and sit in one of the back rows. I am scanning for all the exits so we can make a quick escape. I was more on guard and looking for a scam or some sort of flimflam than when I attended an Amway meeting. Amway I could buy in to. I could see the numbers and understand the math of what was needed. But Faith, ha! I put my faith in science!
So there I sat with my arms crossed just waiting to jump up and point out the stage yelling “Fraud! Hypocrite!” But then Justin, the lead pastor, came out and started talking about people who had been hurt by a church in the past and people not trusting the church. Let me tell you I was ready to make a tin foiled hat. How did he know? Did Stacy call and warn them? But then I started listening. And I realized or maybe remembered that I WANTED to believe. And it was OK to believe. I was fully invested in Justin’s sermon that day though I tried to hide it from Stacy. Then Finally it happened. That moment in the service where you’re given the chance to accept Jesus. Justin starts and everyone bows their head except for me. This has to be the scam. Justin tells the congregation that you won’t be harassed or lead into another room just raise your hand. And Justin starts counting off the number of raised hands. I nod knowingly that he’s just counting because it’s part of the dog and pony show. But then I start seeing the hands go up and he is actually counting real hands. He’s not making up numbers. THIS IS REALLY HAPPENING!But wait, it’s not over. I’m sure they will be escorted into another room. Then the service ends and everyone leaves. No high pressure sale tactics or anything that I was expecting.
After service Stacy and I stop by their connect center and gather more information about Foundations.
But the next part was the hardest, I needed to tell people. It took me over a week to really tell anyone. And even then I just used facebook to “check-in”. And I waited for the backlash. I expected people to attack me and it never happened.
Looking back on this and other things that I have put myself through it is clear now what has been one of the driving force in my life. For years I’ve told people I’m blunt. Don’t ask me questions you might not want the answer to and did my best to keep them at arms length. All the things I’ve wanted to do but didn’t peruse. I always thought I was brave and righteous and the rest of world wasn’t. When in reality it was fear. Fear of getting hurt. Fear of letting people in. Fear of being abandoned so I’d abandoned them first. Just . . . FEAR.
So fear, here is your break up letter. Get out of my house, my life, my soul. I’m filing a protective order against you.
Hate you always,