When Sunday Is the Most Difficult Day of the Week

It took me two tries to make it to church this Sunday. I woke up tired, my mom woke up still feeling the last lingering effects of the cold she had last week. I didn’t get out of bed as quickly as I should of, so was running late. I knew the lesson my small group was going to go over today would be a struggle for me, and I’d either have to speak up and be the one voice of dissent or bite my tongue the whole time, so I decided to just go to the service late and then come home instead of going to group after.

Coffee was spilled on a dress in the car on the way there. The Jeep we parked next to had a Bill O’Reilly air freshener hanging from its rear view mirror, I kid you not. Other cars greeted us with their not-so-friendly NRA and AR-15 stickers. Because we were late, it was hard to spot empty seats. It had already taken everything we had to get to this point, so we left and went home. In this struggle, I was very much The Awkward Spinster.

Knowing full well that a large part of this struggle was my own attitude and feeling convicted, an hour later, we headed back for second service early, got seats, and made it through the whole time. The service was fine.

John 13:34-35 records Christ’s words during the last supper. “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Why is this so difficult? Humans, that’s why. We are so bloody difficult. I am difficult. And, as a single woman who is almost 40 trying to integrate back into a city I happily left in my 20s, I am finding it more arduous than ever. Being with my family is fantastic and quite easy. My prayer group of family and a couple close friends is lovely. But church? Church is the hardest part.

And I think I’m failing right now. I’m not really loving the people in my church because I don’t feel like I’m actually part of my church. I feel like the weird spinster aunt who’s just visiting so everyone puts up with her. You know, they all tolerate her odd ideas because she’s just the slightly wild one who never bothered to get married or have kids and actually thinks universal healthcare is a good idea.

I don’t really have a lesson in this or a solution to my problem. This is just the reality of an issue I’m in the middle of. And, since this blog is meant to openly discuss the good, the bad, and the ugly of the life of this particular Awkward Spinster, I didn’t want to dodge this aspect of single life.

I do think church is hard for everyone, not just singles like myself. I know many a married mother and father who also struggles with church community, especially in the current political and social climate. But as someone who experienced singleness in the context of an imperfect yet loving, embracing, supportive, empowering church family for years, that makes starting over again even more painful. I don’t have a husband to hold my hand when I’m upset in church, a partner in the awkwardness and pain. It’s just me, sitting in small group surrounded by people, feeling utterly alone.

Comments

  1. I moved back to Vegas two years ago and still have yet to find a new church where I feel welcomed, agree with their doctrine, and that know what the heck an old-school hymn is. It’s really hard to start again, even with family/friends support, when you left a beloved church behind. Even harder when you have a Liberal outlook (yay health care for all! ). I’m definitely in a valley right now. Just keep listening to your convictions and seeking God is my plan. Better days to come.

    • Thanks for your encouragement! Nice to know so many of us are in this together. Here’s hoping we’ll both be in better places re church community by next year! ❤️

  2. There’s never-married-singles, married-but-alones, married-to-non-church-attenders, married-to-abusers, widows (possibly others) besides the perhaps rarer(?) blessed-to-be-married-to-someone-emotionally-intelligent-who-careses (Gollum-speak?). Maybe my trust is still recovering ? You are not alone. Despite appearances to the contrary – more marrieds than singles – you are in company with many, on feeling awkward and alone. I comfort myself at those moments with the fact I belong to my first and foremost, the Only Unfailingly Loving-Caring-Comforting-Empowering-All-knowing-All-powerful-Awesome-Creator-of-the-Entire-Universe-Graceful-and-Forgiving-Eternal God!!!!!! Only to encourage, and say I, and many others are with you in some of it. You are not alone!

    • Thanks for this encouragement! I think this awkwardness and disconnectedness is part of the human condition, and look forward to an eternal future in which it’s removed.

  3. Actually part of why I am hesitant to find a group … I saw someone hanging an AR15 rifle shaped air freshener at Home Depot. How insensitive do you have to get? It’s weird because I think if we didn’t bring up politics I can get along alright with most (even though it would be hard to open up). It’s also hard because I know we can’t just surround ourselves with only those that agree with us…. /:(
    It’s just depressing to feel… well, like the weird one.

    • Yeah, I’ve always felt not-quite-inside of modern evangelical culture, but now more than ever. Sigh. Still, I think it’s important to try.

  4. Dear twin-sister-from-another-mother, yes, this. I fully empathise. But to be honest, every day is the most difficult of the week right now. It’s been a long week and it’s only Monday. I’ve had zero energy recently due to illness (hope you’re feeling better now too) and have had to literally drag my almost lifeless body out of bed, off the floor and into the shower many times over the last two weeks. I did voluntary work yesterday and paid work this evening, silly me. I got home from work utterly exhausted and thought “wow, no one here to cook and have dinner waiting for me on the table. No one here to load and unload the washing machine. No one here to have gone shopping to make sure there’s food in the fridge. No one to off load to, no one to make sure there’s enough money in the bank account to pay bills. No one. Just me. I felt like having a pity party right there. But then I remembered Psalms 61 (had to google the reference, I can’t lie, I’m clearly not THAT holy…) and although I don’t feel better yet, I know that I will do soon. Because I have God who loves me, who sent His son to die for me. And then I thought ‘Jesus knows loneliness, experienced it Himself and if He can endure, so can I’ but then I thought ‘but He knew that at the end of His suffering He’d get to be with His dad again and I don’t have a dad, never have’ and it set me off again but you know what, I refuse to let this beat me. I’m more than happy to blab my innermost feelings because I won’t hide and pretend things are alright because if I do that, it’ll break me. God is for me, who can be against me? Right? We can do this, we can live, we can survive, we can get up and do it all again tomorrow. How? Phil 4 v 13, that’s how. Chin up sweetie *chinks imaginary prosecco glasses* xx

    • *toasts virtual glass back atcha* When you go to heaven, you’ll be with your dad too. He just happens to be the same dad Jesus has. ❤️ I hope today was better than the last, and the rest of the week brings peace and joy. My Monday felt like 3 days, so I’m having a hard time believing it’s only Tuesday at the moment!

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