I have a confession: one that I’m really not proud of.
But tonight at church, and really for the last couple weeks, I honestly have just felt…nothing.
It’s like I’ve been spiritually numb.
But tonight was different. I was actually getting angry.
I was sitting in the pew, and just inexplicably fuming, being critical of every little thing: the priest seemed arrogant. The pace was too slow. I was literally shooting daggers with my eyes at the elderly woman leading the songs. (A capella, I might add.) Who is this monster I’ve allowed in my thoughts and heart?!
But I was just checked out. And the more I thought about it, the worse it got.
I’m going to be honest: growing up, I had a few episodes of… the silent treatment.
I’m not proud to admit that passive aggressive low blow, but I have been known to give my parents the silent treatment during rare occasions, back in the day, when I was really angry about something.
And I realized tonight, that my behavior pattern in church these last few weeks is exactly that: I’m giving God the silent treatment.
Because I realized tonight, I’m still angry at Him. I’m still feeling really hurt and abandoned and so I’ve been slipping into my old bad habit of icing out the person I’m upset with.
Obviously, I’m upset with God for my mom’s stroke and the aftermath we’re having to adjust to. But there’s recently been something else.
I know I’ve mentioned it before, but I have an autoimmune disease: Ulcerative Colitis. And in the last two weeks, I’ve had a pretty severe symptom flare up: An extra-intestinal symptom, meaning it’s an autoimmune response not associated with Ulcerative Colitis, but just due to the fact that my immune system is screwed up.
Anyways, long story short, I’m just angry that God is allowing this. I’m thinking, Seriously God? You’re going to throw this at me now…when it hasn’t even been a year since my mom’s stroke?
And thinking about it tonight, I know the textbook answer is that I’m supposed to “trust God” and “rely not on my own understanding but believe in His perfect plan and timing.”
And frankly, that just seems so passive right now, when I’ve got this fiery symptom flaring up, and I’m just waiting to see what happens next?
Tonight, during the sermon, I was berating it in my mind, pleading for it to just hurry up and be over already, when my ears caught something that made me actually start listening: the priest’s dad had a stroke.
He went on to discuss the importance of praise, especially when we’re in seemingly hopeless or upsetting situations.
We can trust. We can do what we have to do. But we must never forget to praise Him, because His love never changes, no matter the circumstance. Not even if we’re icing Him out: His love is worthy of praise.
Honestly, that’s not really what I wanted to hear tonight. I would have rather just fumed about the hard-of-hearing older woman belting out the hymn, off tempo and off key, and just hate on everything about my current situation.
That would have been the easy – and probably more temporarily satisfying – thing to do. But I realize that by turning my eyes upward, I will take my focus off of myself. I’ll alleviate my fears and worry by thinking about the One who truly has never let me down.
Turns out that every “seemingly horrible” scenario in my life – be it my anorexia, past flares, mom’s stroke, etc.…each of those literal life altering seasons of my life have set me on the path I needed to be on, and taught me an invaluable lesson along the way.
I kinda wish I could go back and have a “do-over” of church today, and walk in there with the mindset I have now rather than the Critical Caralyn that hemmed and hawed her way through mass this evening.
I guess there’s always tomorrow for that.
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