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.
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!!