Last night at church, I saw a couple from our "old church." They have been trying it out, I guess. I talked with them for awhile, and told them the story of how we ended up attending the church we attend now. I was uncanningly aware of how I felt as I told the story. I was laughing. I was genuinely laughing. I think that's an indication of healing. Two years ago when I told the story, I was disgusted. Now, I'm laughing.
Wanna hear the story?
Well, you're going to. When we were attending our old church, Amanda had been really unhappy with the youth group situation. I told her that it was OK with us if she wanted to go to another youth group if she wanted to. I took her down to our current church, Puyallup Foursquare, and sat in on the youth service. I was BLOWN away. There was about 400 kids there. Chad, the youth pastor was AWESOME and the worship was jaw-dropping. I came home and told Joe about it. I bawled.
Now, at this point we were not even thinking about leaving the church we were attending. But, when Joe saw how blessed I was from the youth service, he said, "Well, maybe we should check it out for ourselves." I was caught off-guard, but my heart lept at the idea. I had really been struggling with burnout (physically and emotionally) at that church for a little while, and I was ready for a change. We talked, and decided we would not tell anyone about it, but would check out the church and slowly take our time to decide.
The first time we went was at a Saturday night service. It was like coming home. We loved it. We knew. As we left the building that night, someone from our old church was in the parking lot and saw us.
She told on us to the pastor.
We got a phone call Monday morning from him wanting to know what was going on. So much for our "taking our time" to decide! I never came back. Joe finished out a commitment that he had, but I was done.
We've been at Puyallup Foursquare ever since, and it was the best decision we could have made.
That's my story.
Granted, there's a lot more I could say about the burnout experience, but last night, when I told that story to this couple, I think the Lord wanted me to be very aware of my laughing at it. It truly goes to show the process of healing God takes us through when we experience something painful. Nothing is instant. But, when you get there, you know it. It's not that you forget it, you just know you've reached the end of that road of process.
I think we get antsy as we're travelling the road of process. We want to know "why," or we want it to be over, or we start blaming and getting angry. Then sometimes we're stuck on the road because we get stuck in those feelings. And it takes longer. We think we're alone, but we're not.
I think the key to moving forward on the road, albeit slowly sometimes, is to give ourselves permission to feel what we're feeling. Vocalize it, write about it, and definitely express it to God. Trust Him to light the way in our darkness. Trust Him that He really does hear us, really does know we're on this dark road and He can already see the end of it even though we don't. It's our job to keep moving forward by processing and trusting Him at the same time. Then, soon, you'll find yourself looking back at the road you just travelled and find yourself laughing.