When I’d rather be in bed instead of church

I woke up that cold and rainy Sunday morning and I knew it right away: the last thing in the world I wanted to do was go to church.

We had moved to a new town the day before and I just wanted to stay in bed. We were supposed to have an extra-long choir practice in preparation for Christmas and all I could think about was taking a long bath.

I closed my eyes and thought of what I could do instead: Sleep in. Watch television. Eat breakfast in bed. Stay in my pajamas all day long. I even thought about faking sick to be able to do just that.

Instead,  I got up and put on a dress. I did my makeup and squeezed my feet into heels and showed up on time for choir rehearsal. I did everything I was supposed to because I thought I had to.

Halfway through the service, I realized that, surprisingly, I was so thankful I did not skip church that morning. Going to church is similar to going to the gym: there are many mornings I do not want to go to church, but once I’m there, I never regret it.

Once I’m there, surrounded by the Body of Christ, I forget why I was so hesitant to show up in the first place. When the music begins playing, I smile and I’m thankful to be in the pew, and by the time the Eucharist is passed, I’m praising God that I get to be in communion with God and the whole wide, diverse family of Christ.

I am slowly (but surely!) learning it: it is okay to be uncertain and uncomfortable and even a little bit skeptical of the Church. It is an institution created by people and it is inherently flawed. But God is redeeming all things–even the ones we cherish, even the ones we swear are not broken. God has a better plan, a better way, and the Spirit is breaking through, whether we are ready or not.

Who decides what a significant life is anyway?

All I wanted was a donut.

On a rainy Saturday morning, Sarah was attending an association conference for the United Church of Christ and I decided to tag along, thinking that we could spend some extra time together (hello, Pastor’s Wife life) and then go out to lunch afterwards. We ran the block from the car to the church’s front door, shaking off the cold rain as we stepped inside. After signing in, we wandered deeper within the church as Sarah stopped every few feet to hug someone, always asking, “How are you?” (and she actually meant it every single time).

We finally made it to the table filled with coffee and donuts and my eyes lit up. (Early Saturday mornings are obviously not my idea of The Best Weekend Ever.) As I reached across the table for a sugar-encrusted donut, a man appeared next to me. He introduced himself and I recognized his name from stories Sarah had told me about him. I shook his hand, greeting him warmly. We made small talk as we stirred cream into our coffee and then came the question I always dread most when meeting new people: “So, Bailey, what do you do?”

I paused, chuckling, because I never know how to answer this question. Which part of myself did I want to highlight this time? The Bailey who works in a third-grade classroom with kids who have behavioral concerns? The Bailey who still doesn’t know what she wants to major in at 25 years old? Or the Bailey who is in the midst of hustling for her dream, working full-time while writing two books?

But this time, I didn’t even get a chance to choose.

Interrupting me as I began drawing out the first word of my sentence (“well…”), he chose the narrative of my own life for me.

“It’s okay if you aren’t doing anything of significance.”

It took me by such surprise, I barely responded. I was astonished by the level of assumption and the condescending attitude.

As the conference began, I found my way to my seat, still seething. The more I thought about it, the angrier I became. Sometimes, it feels like all of my whole life is being narrated by someone else. And I’m over it. SO.OVER.IT.

Friends, we are all significant, and I need this space to tell you this:

The single mom working three jobs to feed her children is doing significant things.

The elderly grandfather who watches his grandchildren every day while his daughter goes to work is doing significant things.

The 22-year-old college graduate who is finally leaning into the call of God on her life as she moves into an apartment down the street from a seminary is doing significant things.

The young father taking time off from work as he brings home his newly adopted son is doing significant things.

The aspiring writer who is fitting her dream into the margins of an already too-busy life is doing significant things.

The nurse working 13-hour shifts and literally saving people’s lives is doing significant things.

The stay-at-home mom whose work is never done is doing significant things.

Significant is a relative term, and no one can tell us whether what we do is significant or not. We are all doing huge, life-changing, significant things. And don’t you forget it.

What huge, significant things are you doing these days?

Drop me a comment below!