“Are you coming next Sunday?” another well-minded person asks again, like they did the week before. I politely explain how early mornings are hard for me with my chronic illness, like I did last week. This is the situation I have found myself in time and time again at church. People just seem to not understand what I am saying. I could give a presentation in front of everyone, highlighting all the reasons why I can’t go to the church morning services, but I would still be asked if I am coming. Most people in church seem not to understand chronic illnesses.
Many value the constant attendance to church and do not understand my sporadic visits. They do not understand how hard it is for me to pick myself up and to just even get out of bed. It is difficult to go to a worship service when I am literally 99% asleep and cannot keep myself standing. Does this mean that I do not love God? Am I an imposter Christian? No and no. I am chronically ill and I worship God in my own way. I choose to believe that He understands, since He made me after all.
There is a type of “perfection” that is taught in church. Believe me, I have been to many churches along many different denominations and there is always a “perfect” person. The person who volunteers in every department, works at the church without pay, and is regularly used as a model for a good Christian. However awesome they are, this person is not perfect either. Nobody is. Please stop comparing me to them. What I want people to understand, is that your well-meant intentions for me are hurtful. I would rather have you listen and ask how you can help, rather than judge me.
People love to serve others, but there is a big gap I’ve noticed for those with chronic illness, disability, and mental health conditions. For example, I am homebound and just like the shut in seniors, I would love to have someone from a church to visit me each week. There are many things that we can do, but the church cannot keep skimming over this population of people. We need people willing to serve whole-heartedly, because as hard as it is to believe, we also want to serve. Just because we are not a “regular” church goer, doesn’t mean that we do not want to be involved.
On another note, some people cannot go to church. I currently fit into this category because of the lack of diversity in service times and other things that I mentioned above. Many people get caught up on the church building concept. That you must physically go to a church to share fellowship and worship God. That is just simply not true. Church can happen anywhere: online, in your house, or with a neighbor. There are endless possibilities. What I’m trying to get at is, God made all kinds of people. All these kinds of people are going to worship in many different ways. Why don’t we make it easier for everybody to worship how they choose? No judging involved.
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Sources: Image by Gerald Simon from Pixabay