Sunday, June 3, 2012

Why I skipped the church picnic....

Today at church our pastor talked about some of the freedoms found through Christ. He shared that so many of us are in bondage to one thing or another but with Christ we can have freedom from those things. Freedom from the bondage of sin, Freedom from our past scars, Freedom from darkness, Freedom from the performance trap and Freedom from temptations...just to name a few.

Towards the end of the sermon he asked us to write something that we want freedom from on this paper and then during Communion we brought those papers to this bowl at the alter and he and some of the Elders would be praying over them in the days to come.

I wrote a couple of things, self-centeredness and this tendency that I have to always be comparing myself to others and feeling like I don't measure up.

They also announced at the service that we would be having a picnic today at a park outside of Marshall to celebrate the church's long history and that some bonds they had for the church building had been paid off earlier than expected.  It was supposed to start at 4pm. All good right?  The kids were excited and I even went out after church and bought the groceries to make this grape salad and some cupcakes.

But somewhere in between making the food and 4pm I had talked myself out of going all together. It started with us not really being ready to go on time and me realizing that we would be late. I HATE being late. I mean HATE it. I'd rather not go somewhere than be late. I know that sounds crazy and as I type it I can't understand it myself.....but I have always been that way.

Then of course it was "too hot"...and who wants to be outside when it is too hot. (Somewhere in that reasoning I had "forgotten" that I had spent time outside a few hours earlier reading in that very same heat)

No, the lateness and the heat weren't really the reason. The reason, if I am able to be honest even for a moment, is that you all scare me.

Come again?

Seriously, all of you families that have the perfect dish to pass, and the most well behaved children who never throw a fit and eat everything on their plates without argument, who are always on time and of course have mastered the art of comfortable small talk with people you only casually know.

You see I am none of these things. And compared to all of you I feel like I fall miserably short. And while I don't like that I compare myself to you...the truth is I do it.


I know that this is an area of bondage to sin in my life. That staying home and not allowing myself to step beyond my comfort zone and dive into community keeps me stagnant and alone.  That isn't what I want for myself. It isn't the example that I want to set for my kids.

And the sermon was so on point for me, especially today. And although I can write it down on paper...or in a blog post. Taking the next step and moving forward towards freedom in that area is something that I can't do alone.  

I know that this is an area that I will have to be in prayer about. And I am sure that the only way to step out in faith is to do that very thing that makes me most uncomfortable.  So while I did skip the picnic this time....hopefully with God's help and a little grace from all of you perfect people out there :), one of these days I will not only attend, but WANT to be there as well.

How about you....have you ever been held down by the burden of comparison? Afraid of real community? What did you do to move forward towards freedom?? I'd love to hear how God has worked in your life!!


Dara Evenson said...

I also used to be scared of community. What helped me is this: people at the picnic (or other social event) have the same fears and play the same comparison game I do. Your'e not alone. What do I do now? I pray every time I begin to feel nervous about socializing. I also ask the Holy Spirit to show me when I compare myself to others and to help me have the self-control to turn away from that comparison. Also, where is your identity? It's not in sin, in comparison to others, or in anything else. Your identity is in Christ. You are fearfully and wonderfully made! Declare that over your life!

Kate said...

There is this woman in our church who is a few years younger than me, four kids, her hair is always perfect, same eith her makeup. Clothes are always stylish and never wrinkled. She speaks softly and with wisdom.

Then there's me. I think I always look like I just came outbid a windstorm, I seldom wear makeup because I just don't know what I'm doing in that area. I talk too much and when I'm nervous I ramble. Sometimes my clothes are wrinkly or have a bit of dog fur on my pant leg.

One day she invited me on a picnic and I ran out of time to make something spectacular to impress her, so I tossed in a few bags of chips and cookies with our sandwiches and headed out the door. Sure enough, she had fresh fruit cut up, sling with various healthy snacks. I couldn't stop myself. " How do you do it??" She laughed and pointed at the fruit. "That? I brought that because I figured you'd have this fabulous lunch for your kids and I didn't want to look bad. This fruit is left over from my house group last night. I really wanted to bring cookies and chips!"

We were never the same after that - we were better. We even went to WOF together last fall.

You never know who is looking at you and wishing they had it together like you do. None of us do! And its exhausting trying to be perfect!

There is no one else like you. You have gifts and qualities in you that the Lotd longs for you to share. So you aren't like so and so. If we were meant to all be the same life would be pretty boring.

So what if my hair is wild and my clothes wrinkly. I'm Kate, chosen child of God. And so are you. Don't let the devil steal your joy or your light.

Love to you.

Kami said...

Kate just totally encompassed EVERYTHING that I wanted to say! Good words, friend.

However, I'm going to say it anyway. I have a major need to impress. I hate to be late. Small talk drives me crazy because I'm not good at it AT ALL. I feel like I could've written this post myself.

If there's anything I've come to learn about myself it is the fact that I need people. I don't do well when I hole up in my house and hide out (which I have this insane tendency to do). I've come to learn that my soul needs the fellowship of other women. Other mamas. So, I hold my head up high and say "WHO CARES?!". Who cares that my house is messy - that just means that people live here. Who cares that all I have time to do is pick up some chips before we get together? At least I made it here. Who cares that my 18-month-old throws his body on the ground and screams in a tantrum? I'm a mom and this is what we do. These are the roads that we walk - and they're WAY easier to walk when you allow someone to walk them with you.

Praying that you give yourself some grace and instead make the choice to live your life and not watch it from the sidelines (I've been guilty of that one)!

Love you, friend!

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