Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Loneliest Day

Sunday is usually the loneliest day of the week for me.

I know it's not supposed to be that way. I know that Sunday is *supposed* to be a day of fellowship, of coming together with my family in Christ and worshipping together, of getting a much-needed boost to kickstart my week.

But honestly, there are many Sundays when I would rather stay in bed, or go to Target, or meet up with friends for lunch than sit through a church service. Because going to church, despite its intentions to be inclusive and welcoming, can sometimes make me feel like an outcast. At church, more than perhaps any other place, I'm sharply reminded of how very different my life is from what I imagined it would be by now. There I am, still single, still childless, surrounded by families everywhere. I'm thankful to have my parents to sit with, but, quite frankly, it's sometimes hard to swallow that I'm not a parent myself by now.

Let me be quick to interject that I don't usually spend time moping over not being married with children. Believe me, I've heard enough horror stories to know that being single is not the worst thing in the world, far from it. I am thankful for all that I've been able and am able to do as a single woman, and I know that I'm made complete because of Christ in me, not because of any marital status or how many children I've birthed or raised.

However, some days it's a real struggle to feel thankful for a life that I didn't necessarily dream of for myself. The past few weeks we've had a sermon series on marriage, and I've actually enjoyed most of the messages (believe it or not). Today, though, for whatever reason I felt really sad and lonely as our preacher discussed what men need versus what women need. It was hard to sit there, surrounded by people who love and care about me, but still feeling very much alone.

I know I'm not the only one who struggles with Sundays. I have many single friends around my age who have admitted their own struggles to fit in among families at church. I have friends who are married but whose spouses don't worship with them, so they attend church by themselves and feel alone there too. I have friends whose spouses DO come to church with them but their marriage is in shambles, and coming to church means having to put on a happy face and pretend that everything's hunky-dory. I can imagine that listening to sermons on marriage, while intended to offer encouragement and hope, could be painful for them as well.

Next week's sermon is supposed to be on singleness, and I'm debating whether to go. I'm partly curious on our preacher's take on it and partly afraid that I'll feel even worse afterward. On the bright side, days like today that leave me feeling alone tend to drive me to more prayer, so I can see the benefit in loneliness today.


Carrie from Talking In Space said...

I'm so sorry you feel that way at church sometimes (or not at church sometimes). I can see where the sermon "series" format can be good when it speaks to you, and not so great when it doesn't. If it makes you feel better, I'm jealous of you sometimes with what I perceive is your freedom to travel, take jobs, and basically do what you want in life without consulting with someone else. I love you very much and hope you find happiness and fulfillment in whatever God does in your life. And you can borrow the kids whenever you want. : )

Lisa said...

Thanks for the encouragement! I know that the grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence, and most of the time I'd say I'm pretty content with my life. Some days--Sundays in particular--are just hard. And if it makes YOU feel any better, I often wish that I had someone to consult with on decisions (well, maybe not deciding how much $ to spend when out shopping, but on big potentially life-changing decisions like where to live, work, etc.) And if I lived closer to you I'd definitely be borrowing the girls ALL the time--gotta train them to take care of me when I'm old!

Donna G said...

I can so relate to feeling lonely and or alone at church. It happened to me again this past Sunday. I LOVE my church but drove up in the parking lot and thought...I don't want to be here.

I think some of the marriage enrichment stuff it what made me get out of my shell and start teaching. Or as you say driven to pray more can only be seen as a positive!!