Hello Friends, This week, I handed over the keyboard to one of our staff members to share her heart and journey as a volunteer in ministry. I hope you enjoy. Joyfully, Andrea
For the purpose of clarity. There are two ways leaders leave. They either leave because they love the Church or they leave because they love themselves. I quit Church when the abiding weariness of serving began to hinder my love for the body. I was snippy, cynical, and unkind. When I noticed my attitude, I needed a break.
I’ve been a faithful volunteer in ministry. I’ve attended church with greater consistency than I did school as a child. I’ve done it all. I’ve loved it all. However, there came a season when it all began to itch. I didn’t need a Sunday off. I needed Sundays off. I needed a break. I quietly took my name off of rosters. Found replacements for the season ahead and one Sunday, I didn’t go.
That was 3 months ago.
As an introvert I found my soul craving quiet. I needed to get away from the crowd. I needed time. The first week, I slept until noon. I, by nature, don’t sleep in. I was exhausted, my body wasn’t going to support my drive any longer. Did you know no one is at the grocery store on Sundays at 8 o clock in the morning? There aren’t any lines either. Week two, heathen aisle 5.
It was a weariness of service yes, it was also a season of disillusionment and hurt. I had just arrived on the other side of walking friends, family, and fellow volunteers through different onslaughts. It was two years of watching the good and the faithful be attacked. After bearing one another’s burdens for that long, they each found a season of peace- or a pause in the fighting, we don’t yet know- and I was exhausted. I began the grieving process. Working through my frustration. How could we tear each other a part the way we sometimes do? We quit relationships, we quit people, we quit truth, and we choose ourselves. I was angry. What is interesting about this season is I felt called to have it. I felt peace and permission to sit out for a time.
When we are hurt God asks to be our refuge. We cling and we run to him. We stay there. We can remove ourselves from the crowd and rest in Him. However, there comes a moment in the rest, in the break, in the quitting where we are no longer choosing God, but we are choosing ourselves. We are no longer using the season to seek God, heal our hearts, renew our strength or deepen our faith, instead we are simply choosing our own hurt and righteous indignation over allowing healing in. I don’t know when that moment is for others. I don’t think you can put a limit on it. I also don’t think you feel it. I don’t feel wholly healed quite yet.
I needed 3 months.
I’ve started to think my season is up. I’m rested. I’ve forgiven. However, today I felt the need to choose myself and stay away. The pull is strong. I was questioning whether I should start again when God pulled my heart aside and asked “Do you expect me to apologize for the past two years? Would that allow you to start again?” I was stunned and humbled. I think I found my answer. I found my boundary. He is so kind to us, isn’t He? Always calling us back to Himself and back to His Bride.
Have you ever quit? How did you go back? How did you know the right time to go back?