Going to the gym at my age can be brutal on the ego – if I try to compare myself to others.
After we became empty-nesters Cheryl and I sold the house where we raised our boys and moved to a downtown condo. It was an intentional life change and we loved it. Part of that move involved changing gyms. I started to workout on the campus of our local university, Austin Peay State University. I loved the facility and the school. Cheryl and I both graduated from there, but there was only one problem with my new workout location.
Most of the people in the gym don’t look like they need to be there.
They were young, lean, fit, strong, beautiful college-aged gym people.
It was so much more so than my last gym where lots of people looked like me. 🙂
I remember one day, as I was sweating like the oldies, it got me thinking.
Isn’t that the perception of the church at times?
I can’t go there, because everyone looks like they don’t need the church. They have the right clothes. They have the right lives.
They are smiling, joyful, seemingly have-it-all-together kind of people.
If my life is falling apart, why would I want to go there? I don’t fit in. I have nothing to offer. My life doesn’t match their life.
When the reality is if my physical body is out of shape the place where I need to be is in the gym.
And as I understand a primary purpose of the church, when my life is a mess, I need the church. Jesus came to call sinners. God is close to the broken-hearted.
By the way, something else I’ve learned is that behind the beautiful bodies in the gym may be some messed up hearts and minds. And the reality is behind those smiling faces at church may be some mixed up hearts and minds.
Let us never make people who attend our church feel like I felt at the gym. The church should be a place where when you’re hurting most you feel the most at home. Someone once said what you do when you sin reveals what you know about God. Those who know Him well run quickly into the arms of grace.
What if church was a place where we could take off our masks, be who we really are, share our joys and our sorrows, and still be loved regardless of how we look, feel, or are behaving at the time?
Let me make a deal with you if you have ever felt unwelcome in the church.
I’ll keep going to my gym even when I feel “out of place” if you’ll give church another chance.
Be honest, have you ever felt you didn’t belong in church because your life was a mess?