Walking into a new, unfamiliar church can be intimidating, even for Christians that have done it dozens of times. So often when I walk into a church, I don’t know what to say or how to act or how to even just breathe in the new space, really.
It’s like there is a written code of what to do and I missed the flyer on the way in.
I think there are a lot of reasons why this is true, and there’s not just one source behind it. But wherever it comes from, this reality hurts, because a church should be the most comfortable place in the whole entire world, and sometimes it just isn’t.
So when I woke up this morning, the sky was grey and rainy and familiar, and I found myself feeling apprehensive about trying out a new church. But I’m here to learn, right? and I knew this experience would probably be good for me.
To make a long story short, I found myself at the address the church was meeting at, but couldn’t find any sign of any church, anywhere. I asked for directions and double checked my map, and still couldn’t find it. Feeling a little humiliated, I decided to spend time at a nearby park, thinking God must be trying to teach me something new with this, completely overanalyzing the situation and being much too hard on myself.
After a much needed phone conversation with Caleb, I realized that maybe it wasn’t about learning at all, but being reminded of something.
I explained to him how overwhelmed I was feeling, and that sometimes I just don’t know what to do with myself, to which he calmly and kindly replied:
“Just love yourself.”
It’s that simple and that difficult.
When you don’t love yourself well, you can’t love others well either. Being kind and gentle to yourself isn’t selfish, but a necessary priority.
I know I keep saying this over and over, but it just rings so true, and I keep needing to be reminded of it, and to keep speaking it over others:
Please please please love yourself and show yourself grace. No matter what you’ve done, God is smiling at you with His arms stretched open wide, inviting You to be in relationship with Him.
Don’t try to be perfect, you never will be. Be willing to grow and open to change, but just be yourself, be all that He created you to be.
You are doing great, you are loved, and you are enough.