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I often say that I am an extremely private person, but when I minister, I am very transparent. There is nothing I won’t share from my life in my messages, if it can minister to others. So, here goes…I recently wanted to quit church.
This past year has been extremely difficult for me. I went back to a full-time career job to put my younger daughter through college after spending the last two years in my dream job of full-time ministry work. Then my mother was diagnosed with a brain tumor and is currently in hospice care. These two things have rocked.my.world. to say the least.
Lately, I’ve been dreading church, and even really resented having to go at all. That is a problem. I love the church! I love my church! Understanding that something was wrong on my end, I began to ask God what was up.
Just a few days later, I felt as if God opened up my mind and enlightened me on my issue. I mean, I was just driving down the road thinking about nothing, and suddenly, I better understood myself. When it came, I actually said it out loud – It’s a coping mechanism! Now, I am not saying the Lord approved of my psychological response to my life; He was simply answering my prayer.
You see, “my people” currently exist in three groups – family, employees and church. Since two of my people groups were overwhelming me, I was mentally trying to dump the other group. Up until this year, I’ve been the Director of Women’s Ministry at my church. If you have ever served in a leadership role in your church then you will get how easily it is to be the go-to person for many people’s needs.
I think my psyche was saying to my church, I’ve got nothing left for y’all! Hence, all the dread and withdrawal.
Since receiving this revelation, I have been relieved of the pressure. The wonderful thing about the church is community. So, I have re-framed my perception of church and am reaching out to other women who can help hold me up through this season.
The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is? Jeremiah 17:9
If I had listened to my heart, I would have been in jeopardy of disengaging altogether. When our heart/feelings/psyche begins to lead us in a direction that is contrary to God’s Word, we can’t just go with it. We must stop and ask God for help and insight into our motives. He will answer, and it will deliver us from ourselves.
With that simple realization, I was able to regain my excitement about being with my body of believers almost immediately. Our heart is so much of our flesh and it can deceive us, but only if we let it.
Gina Duke is the award-winning author of Organizing Your Prayer Closet: A New and Life-Changing Way to Pray (Abingdon Press), that introduces the gift of structured prayer journaling. You can enjoy her weekly #ShePrayerJournals weekend workshops on YouTube, and follower her on Twitter and Instagram at @TheGinaDuke.