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Monday, September 26, 2011

The Church Doesn’t Like Me!

Did you ever feel like you don’t fit in the church?  Like you can’t find anything in common with the people around you?  Maybe you’ve tried, but you just can’t seem to connect.

You’re not alone.

An old friend I’ll call “Kate” stopped over last weekend.  I could tell she was upset.  Things at home were going well, her practice was booming, and she looked great.  So, what was the problem?

“No one in my church likes me!” she exclaimed.  “I just don’t fit in.”

Kate is a brilliant physician.  Like me, she has three young kids and a husband who frequently holds down the fort.  Like me, she probably works too much.  And like me, she’s had a hard time figuring out her place in the church. 

Kate doesn’t have time for weekly Bible studies.  She’s not involved in after-school activities.  She doesn’t help with carpool or put together prayer chains.  And she feels like her peers in the church have written her off – that she doesn’t have anything to contribute.

But Kate has much to contribute.

She spearheads cutting-edge medical research.  She interacts with the public and influences families regarding their health care choices.  She loves Jesus, and she’s raising her children to do the same.  She just needs some help in the process.  She needs people who will come along side her, accept her for who she is, and welcome her into community.

Don’t give up on the church Kate!  The church needs you.  And you need the church.


Maybe you know a Kate.  Maybe you’re like Kate. 

Have you ever felt out of place in the church?   You may think you have nothing to contribute when, in fact, you’re needed.  Desperately.





16 comments:

Tina said...

I can definitely relate to your post. I pray for "Kate" that she will not mistake "this church" and their lack of demonstrated love for who God is. God's love for her is limitless. God chooses the church as an expression of His love; but we humans are so flawed. I pray she will soon make some God ordained connections!

BigD said...

That could be me.
Unfortunately (for me), most of the women at my church are stay-at-home moms. I've really been excluded and criticized and generally ignored because I work full-time. (Oh, the things that have been said to me!)
Anyway, I've tried and tried, and have generally given up on establishing any real relationships there. It makes me sad. But, I've had to decide that I'll persevere, because this is about God and me, not them. (And about doing what's best for my kids' faith, too.)
I can relate to Kate. It's very disheartening.

Amy Sullivan said...

Ohhh, had to click over because of the title of this post and because although I don't feel like this on most days, I actually feel as if "the church" really knew me they wouldn't like me.

I think I come off as pretty together, and they like that, but what would they say about the dirt? Hopefully, they'd love me anyway.

Susan DiMickele said...

You know, it makes me think that the cool thing about God is that he "knows" us best. More than we know ourselves. Yet he still loves and accepts us. That's what the church is really about (or should be about)!

Laura said...

I felt this way before my husband became a Christian. Those people didn't know what to do with me. But the women sure didn't want me too close to their husbands. Unfortunately, the church has a problem with folks who don't fit the norm. We need to work on that, don't we? Seems like that Guy in the Bible sure liked those folks.

Carolyn Counterman said...

Came over here from Jen's. Yes, I often feel out of place. I didn't marry until I was 37. My husband already had kids and grandkids. I've never had a child of my own, so that leaves me out of all the mommy discussions. I'm not a homemaker, which is what the women in my church tradition do. So we try different churches, but have not found a home. I long for fellowship where there aren't categories, but that is very human - to self-select into categories. So I'm without a church home for now.

Nancy said...

Oh, I like this a lot. I like that you encourage Kate (and the rest of us) to realize that we are the church, wherever we are. I'm so thankful that she's advancing the church through her medical practice, and that you are advancing it through your practice of the law. I think the church would be so boring if we all looked and acted alike.

Amber - Binkertation said...

I can definitely relate. I've yet to find comfort in a church where I feel like I fit in and I do think my identity as a working mother is a part of that!

Esther said...

I can relate to Kate...and the church...
I'm in the midst of learning (again!) that i need Jesus to show me how to be a friend, to love those that are different than I, to allow love to cover a multitude of sins.
Thanks for this!

April said...

Sometimes, sometimes, it (the church and the person) may not just be the right fit. I agree that we all have something to contribute, but sometimes the "fit" really isn't right or even good. In those situations, I'd say try a different church.

Cat B said...

Every day even Sunday I feel that way. As a mother of one who married in her mid 30s and works full time as a lawyer, I find it hard to connect with women at church. There simply are no church sponsored opportunities for working mom's to connect. It's often easier to connect with the younger single women who work than it is with mom's. Our lives are just so different...I'll keep praying fervently for an opportunity to fellowship with other working moms.

Michelle DeRusha@Graceful said...

That's one of the things I love so much about my church and my pastors: they accept me and love me, even knowing my wrestly-wrangly faith and the long and winding road I've traipsed to get there. But I know well the opposite feeling too -- I felt like an outsider for many, many years and it was one of the many things that drove me away from church and from God.

TaraLynn said...

I totally agree that we can be in church anywhere and everywhere, however it is SO worth it when we can find a church with stay at home moms and working moms who can work together! Thank goodness for the stay at home mom who was able to pick my son up from school and take him to Christmas program practice on Monday. Maybe I can do something nice for her, like Chinese take out or a gift card. . . . I think that the key is to not give up on God or His people. I think sometimes stay at home moms are intimidated by those of us that work and don't think that they will have anything in common with us.

Jenny Sulpizio said...

I, too will pray for Kate because that is a tough situation to be in for sure. As hard as it might be with her current schedule, I hope that she can "tap" into the church in order to get immersed in what it has to offer. Our churches need to be an extension of our families, a place of support, and a place to connect with others and share the love of Jesus Christ. I hope Kate can find this, acclimate, and feel welcome. Not every church can be a perfect fit for everyone, but through prayer, God will lead her right where He wants her.

Great post, Susan.

Jewel said...

Wow, just wow. Come on people! The church is not a social club! It is a place for believers in Christ to be swept up in worship. It is a place to put into practice your spiritual gift to contribute to the body of believers and to be blessed by the gifts of others. It is not all about "me". The church is the bride of Christ! She is the apple of His eye! If we pick a fight with the church we are picking a fight with the bride of Christ and that is treading on dangerous ground. You are the church. God loves you as His bride, but He also loves your neighbor in Christ in the same way. Fight the real enemy, not each other. For more on this check out "Awakening", Sept. blog entry at www.shadesofgracejewel.blogspot.com

Susan DiMickele said...

Thanks SO much for all these comments. I am thankful for the discussion. Yes, we are the church. We are imperfect, but we have a God who is perfect indeed!