My Ink Dance

Discovering Extraordinary Grace in an Ordinary Life

3 Practical Things to Do When Church Feels Hard

Church. The simple word can bring so many emotions. It can remind us of faith, pain, belonging, rejection, love, and loss. Much like any relationship with imperfect people, church brings a host of feelings, and for some, it just feels hard.

But does that mean it has no place in their life?

These words may feel simple to read and far harder to execute. Believe me, I know. I’ve had my loss and heartache with church. I am walking out these feelings and changes just like you my friend. You are not alone.

Church can get messy. Whether we’re talking about the institution of church (you know, the buildings filled with people on a Sunday morning) or The Church (the name given by God for the global body of believers) there is one major thing they have in common: humans.

The church is people. And the one thing people all have in common is that we make mistakes. This doesn’t justify behavior, but it is the reality of the human condition. We are a rag-tag group of people who have common beliefs in God. And the only thing that makes our fallibility okay is Jesus.

We all need Jesus.

Period.

Amen.

We are a rag-tag group of people who have common beliefs in God. And the only thing that makes our fallibility okay is Jesus. Click To Tweet

But the practical is so much harder than saying the name of Jesus, right? Every situation isn’t the same. And I must stop here to say something important:

If you are in any type of abusive situation in a church, please, please seek help. One blog post isn’t going to be the answer. For anyone really.

Because the truth is, we all need help.

When it feels hard and we don’t know what to do there are 3 things that will make a difference.

1.   Keep the Faith. Don’t let issues with the church get in the way of your faith in God. Keep praying. Keep seeking Him. Keep believing you are loved and forgiven and have a place with Him in eternity no matter what.

2.  Say something. Talk about what’s hard. Chances are you are not the only one struggling. Find people you trust and be real with them. They may have a solution. They may just be a sounding board. Either way, it helps you process your feelings.

3.  Forgive. This one is really hard. I’ve walked forgiveness in hard places, 490 times a day as a matter of fact. It’s always worth it. You may not even know what you are forgiving or who you are forgiving. Just start. Open your mouth and tell God, “I forgive the church.” Start there until you know more specifics.

Forgiving breaks us out of a jail we never knew we were in. Click To Tweet

You don’t have to walk through this hard place alone. You are loved and you are part of The Church, even when you can’t step through the doors.

***

Don’t miss these other posts about finding our way in church.

How I Went Back to Church, Part I

How I Went Back to Church, Part II


Sharing words with these great writers today!

    Holley-Gerth-Button-250x250 (2)    tellhisstory-badge    susan mead    GraceTruth-300x300 

About Becky Hastings

I am emotional and logical. I am strong and dependent. I am a juxtaposition of head and heart exploring it all through writing. And in all my mixed-up ways I am loved. I’m here to tell you that you are, too. Just the way you are.

21 Replies

  1. I love the idea of forgiving the church. I’d never thought of that before, but you are right, so many people hold resentment against the church and it keeps them away from fellowship. Forgiveness is always worth the effort!

    1. Becky Hastings

      Forgiveness is so easily dismissed in Christian circles, like we’ve mastered that so let’s get to the good stuff. HA! If only we knew how much power the simple things hold!

  2. YES! Especially to this: “say something.” I can’t tell you how many conversations I have had with people who started out by saying, “Well, I shouldn’t say anything but . . .”

    Problems in the church cannot be fixed if no one is willing to be open about how they are suffering.

    1. Becky Hastings

      It’s so true Michele! When we can be open with one another in humility and grace we can know love. 🙂

  3. It is hard to think about the people who have been hurt by the church, hurt by me being the church. I have always gone to wonderful, loving, welcoming churches and I pray people find the same!

    1. Becky Hastings

      Isn’t it interesting how our experiences can be so different, but we can all learn from one another! I think it’s beautiful that you’ve had loving churches in your life Sarah!

  4. Church can be so MESSY, indeed! Because it’s filled with MESSY people. Like me! 😉 Forgiving the church is an interesting point to ponder. Blessings, friend! XO

    1. Becky Hastings

      I’m right there with you friend!

  5. Talking about what’s hard is such a barrier-breaker, isn’t it? So often we can think everyone else is doing okay while we’re struggling, but — we’re all struggling on the inside with something. Rag-tag team of misfits joined together by grace, with God in common. Church is hard, but so worth it. 🙂 Enjoying this series, Becky. ((xoxo))

    1. Becky Hastings

      So grateful to walk through it with great people to talk to 🙂

  6. I love the way you’re sharing your church story and offering practical advice for others. It’s so true that the church is the people, which is exactly what makes it beautiful & hard. Thanks for linking up at #PorchStories at my place.

    1. Becky Hastings

      Thank you Kristin. God longs for us to be focused on Him, not the little (and big) things that we put in the way under the umbrella of Church. So grateful for His grace!

  7. Great insights, Becky! My husband and I were just talking yesterday about how many people when disappointed, disillusioned, or hurt by the church walk away from faith too. Thankful for this series : )

    1. Becky Hastings

      🙂

  8. This is so great. So often situations could be resolved if we are just willing to talk about them honestly, but that is so hard!

    1. Becky Hastings

      So true Heather!

  9. This is so true! I’ve been having a bit of a hard time with my church lately, and this is making me think about if I’m willing to speak up or not. And thank you for reminding me about the importance of forgiveness. 🙂

  10. This is good advice. It’s important to remember that no church is perfect and there will be times when others hurt or disappoint us. Being able to talk about it and forgive are important steps.

    1. Becky Hastings

      So true Lesley! Happy to see you here 🙂

  11. Another fabulous post, Becky. One that reaches into the heart of a Christian. We go to church with our own baggage and then we are surprised when others bring theirs as well. Forgiveness and talking about it is so essential in healing. Thanks for sharing on Grace and Truth.

    1. Becky Hastings

      Thanks Aimee! You’re so right about baggage. We know we have ours (even if we hide it) and yet we expect everyone else to come in perfect. We’re all in this together 🙂

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