“And ye shall seek Me, and find Me, when ye shall search for Me with all your heart.” Jer. 29:13
When I was younger, I thought I could find God in a church. That is not where I found Him. Don’t get me wrong, church is important for starting the week off right, for building friendships that are supportive of our relationship with God and for gaining a fresh perspective on Bible verses (that have become so overheard they become like wallpaper). But, if you are not careful, it is easy to mistake CHURCH for GOD. Let me be clear—GOD is not the CHURCH. The church is basically a bunch of hurting people meeting together to try and focus on the right thing: God.
People are people. They will manipulate, hurt, back-stab, gossip and do all the things that our evil human nature tries to push us to (even if these individuals attend a Sunday service). Human nature does not suspend itself and wait until Monday morning to re-activate.
Why am I saying all this? Because I almost turned my back on God. The only association I had with Him was not a good one. “Godly” church people threw me away because I was not “perfect” (surprise, surprise)! For a long time, I assumed that God was the “same way” as “His people”, and quite frankly, I wanted nothing to do with that kind of constant pain and rejection. I already had issues with my self-esteem.
I needed to feel better after going to church, not WORSE. I searched for wisdom and guidance, but I got very angry and distracted by the judgment from church people. This distracted and hurt me so much that I actually turned away from God. Instead, I pursued acceptance and love in any place I could get it—and every place I found it was not good for me.
This led me into a dark world and a cold existence. In this world I was made to feel like I was only good for one thing. This resulted in me not trusting people even more and propelled me to only look out for myself—I could not trust anyone to have my best interest in mind. I became used to being used. This encouraged me to tap into the worst side of myself—not the best. I was angry. I was mad at God, people and myself for becoming the very thing that I hated: a bitter woman.
So, where did I find God? On my living room floor. In that moment I was a crying, heaping mess. It was not pretty and I was not in a good place; (but for the first time in a long time) I was honest, real and exposed. In that moment when I painfully cried out to Him, He reached out and touched me. For the first time I felt loved. Unlike the “god” I was exposed to at “church”, I was accepted. It was then that I realized that God accepted me WITH all my flaws. He never expected perfection!
I am sharing this because I have a feeling that I am not the only one to deal with this kind of pain. Please know that whatever you have been through, God is real and God IS love. Search for the true God with all your heart and He will overcome you with the mighty love that HE IS. After you experience love like that, you won’t want to run anymore.
“Every way of a man is right in his own eyes; but the Lord pondereth the hearts.” Prov. 21:2Julia Shalom Jordan today.