I have to admit that I meet most Sunday mornings with a little bit of apprehension. My thoughts and feelings are so often met with what can only be labeled at this point as the cliché of modern US church, “my last experience was so bad.” The phrase so many of my friends, peers, and family express week after week as the debate to go to church grows, sometimes in intensity and sometimes in indifference. We hold to excuses, so we don’t have to address the reality that the place that once provided security and love, has now been contorted to be something more like anxiety and hurt.
But, I’ve started making the deliberate choice to go, regardless of what my heart feels, or the sickness it brings. I choose to go when I’m tired or feel like it’s unnecessary. I go when my heart and my mind can’t seem to match up. Sometimes it’s literally one foot in front of the other.
This past Sunday was my third time visiting a church. As soon as I pulled into the parking lot, the knot in my stomach appeared and I let the deep sigh exhale.
As I opened my door, I was met with an excited, “Hey guys, watch this!” Of course I turned toward the excited voice, how could you not? I was met by a small girl, probably about 5, in a cute little red dress holding a skateboard. In just a moment, she took off running with the skateboard, going downhill on her belly. The whole way down the hill she was yelling, “cowabunga!” We all stood with big smiles on our faces, experiencing what can only be described as “the perfect moment.”
In that moment of carefree abandonment, a little girl reminded me of what faith was suppose to be, freedom. Faith is often expressed as the opposite, set up as a checklist of items to cross off as I accomplish them – if I study enough theology, if I post enough faith comments on social media, if I attend enough services – I have faith.
But faith is going downhill on our bellies being carefree in the middle of risk. Faith is freedom. Faith is studying theology because I’m so inspired by a complex God. Faith is posting as a tangible expression of my love of God. Faith is attending services because I genuinely love the people God has place in my life and I can’t wait to share that life with them.
Faith = Freedom!
*Thank you to the little girl in the red dress for reminding me of what faith truly is. My prayer for you is that you never lose the carefree, risk-taking attitude.