Tag: <span>prayer</span>

Tag: prayer


How To Survive Mid-Adulthood Christianity: Part 1

Does the following excerpt feel like a book you might read? Please leave a comment below or email me directly at manderson9013@gmail.com – I really appreciate your input and value the time you’d take to read and write back!

I was 28 when my hopes that I could stop searching the world for love and fulfillment were dashed yet again. At 28, I had traveled cross-country with my loving earthly father with all that could fit into my car – the rest would come soon after us in an express pod. In another long story of my somewhat youthful optimism, I came back a day later to an empty apartment, my gracious father setting up the WiFi and shower curtain before he left hours earlier. But that story is for another day. 

When I was just 28, I had a lot of plans, but I had already done more than the average picnic Bear. I was happy to strive for more, in fact, I often sought it out when my life felt “boring” and if you’re not the type, I’m sure you know the type. My current plan? Successfully complete my PhD program while integrating into a new life in Denver with my new dream job. 

Little did I know that a few months later my father’s father would die. It was heartbreaking to say the least – I had grown close to my grandfather as he sat in a nursing home, watching whatever tv set on volume 110%, and craving McDonald’s apple pie and coffee. Whenever I had time (admittedly, less frequent than some but much more frequent now that he was stationed in my parents town), I would bring him a pie and coffee and chat about life for a couple hours. Again, another story for another day, but I encourage you to take the time when you have it. 

The day I found out he died I was at work. As a bona fide workaholic, I asked to stay and complete the day, knowing there was nothing I could do on my end until plans were made to travel back home. Knowing I would probably get severely depressed, I didn’t realize I would take on so much guilt and blame for his passing. 

So imagine my surprise when a new Denver friend invited me to a church service and I nearly bawled my eyes out and had to compose myself along strangers? I wasn’t prepared to feel this – however many services I had been to in my life, God had never felt so real and so accepting. In my teens I left my parents faith(s?) and though I did a lot of searching, both soul and religious, I could never find the “suitable” answer to my questions. I gave up and pursued formal education and love and weightlifting, and they could challenge the notion that I wasn’t enough, but only for so long. 

When I finally released control and wanted to feel small compared to a God big enough to love all my flaws and know the journey I would take to fix them in order to live like Jesus Christ – the trajectory of my life changed forever. 

Proverbs 19:21 NIV

Many are the plans in a person’s heart,
    but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.

Reflection: When you accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, how did you feel about releasing control of your life?

What do you think?

Does this feel like a book you might read? If so, what else would you want included? If you’re interested in the rest of the story, enter your email or send an email to manderson9013@gmail.com to be added to my newsletter for updates!


Are You Listening for When to Leave a Church?

When you have a common Catholic name, you take advantage of it when you’re trying to actually listen to God, especially about leaving a church.

When you’re deciding to leave a church, you must discern between your desires and His Plan – especially if they feel juxtaposed. If you’re not listening when you pray, you won’t hear His Voice. So how do you know when it’s time to find a new church, then gracefully begin leaving the church you grew up and volunteered with for so long?

I had some moments before church, I knew it would be a tight day, and I didn’t know when I would be “free” in the evening to review the work I had done Friday night. Such is the life of a salaried worker.
I’m not even sure what I said to myself putting on my makeup. Honestly, the 23 hours is a mentality of faith, lifestyle, and mindset for me, so I knew I had said some grateful small “thank God I woke up today” prayer as I got out of bed.
I heard fairly loudly (it’s been getting louder the more I pray, the more I leave space to listen, the more I say thank you, the more close I feel with my Father), that I should let my old church know that I would not come back to serve as a volunteer – much less that I’m leaving the church entirely.
I don’t know where this came from, the Holy Spirit usually does not make mental connections for me. Or at least, I’ve never heard them outright. Sometimes, I just wake up with ideas, I’m just sitting in the car and have to pull over – my biggest fear is that I’ve lost so many ideas, time, and influence by not pulling over and by not following through on those ideas.

I still have that scattered memory, where was I?

So I knew it was early in the day and resolved to send the volunteer coordinator a text when church was over.
And then I packed up and went out. I needed to be a little earlier than normal, I was worried about getting a spot and more so, taking a handicapped spot someone else needed more. Having a boot and needing confidence at the same time are surprisingly difficult for me to achieve most days.
I spent some time reading first, I’m not about to be 30 minutes early to anything anymore, unless I need to be. I polo’d a friend as I was going in – I’m not sure why I’m so silly to think that he won’t respond as I’m doing something else. He’s always so sweet and usually awake, then I want to talk as I’m going in between events. I rushed past the sweet greeter who asked “how much longer with this boot?” I don’t stop, merely giving him a side smile and trying to hide the sigh that came involuntarily. I wish someone had told me just how harrowing that question would be when you’re so lost, angry, and uncertain of your future when you’re injured and unhappy with the consequences. “When I stop traveling I guess,” I sorta yelled back, rushing into the building for the bathroom, convincing myself I could grab coffee before my tattoo appointment that was after church.

My new church sermon series has been about the church and how Jesus wants the people to function within and without if its walls. Once again, I heard from my pastor’s mouth – when you are leaving a church, be an adult, tell them your plans, and leave on good terms. Don’t gossip about their wrongs to me, because I’ll be waiting for you to leave and do the same to my church. If we’re not it for you, we’ll help you find the church that is as perfect as we can get – because we’re human, no church will ever be perfect and it’s erroneous to believe you can find that anywhere this side of heaven.
So convicted. I have to tell my old church. Today.

But after church, I had a few moments to eat, grab coffee, and think about the plan for this blog and how to word “I’m leaving this church”. I think, just because we’ve grown apart, why does it seem so hard to be honest with the very people that should understand?
My artist is light-handed and quick. 4 line-work pieces, only one I would consider small, and I was out in 2 hours (he drew for 30 minutes of that because I am not the greatest at expressing my artist intent). With the rest of the night in front of me, it was too much for my ADHD brain. I tried to nap, I failed. Or rather, I recommitted to my identity as a no-napper. I’m okay with that, but the headache was a little real, which made me not want to write or read or draw – so… work it is?

I grabbed pre-prepped food for Monday and Chipotle for that night. I sat for myself and read through my draft again. I checked emails, I checked Instagram, I talked to friends…

It was around 5p I remembered I had a text to send! I was nervous and scared to even say out loud that I was leaving the church, I got pretty close to staff and volunteers while I served – I guess that’s the point of building a community. The next best idea would be an email to the woman who had reached out when I rejected a bunch of days in a row when I originally hurt myself in October. Then my selfishness arises quickly. I could wait and go to the volunteer banquet in a couple of weeks. Why not? I volunteered all spring and summer, why not get recognized for that? Would I regret not going to the volunteer banquet the night before Vegas?
I don’t want to waste time, money, or energy – for me or them. I may regret it, but I won’t regret using that time to sow into something else (like sleep). So something very short to say I’m leaving and grateful for the time but bye – maybe please take me off the volunteer list? I found another church and I’d rather serve there, or really, I’m trying to serve with other people in a different capacity…

Short and sweet, make sure it’s pretty and grammatically correct – then the 5-second rule – send it before you can chicken out again. Ignore the response at first.
Any excuse will work remember? But at least I finally did send out my goodbye.

And that’s how an anxiety-stricken millennial can follow the Holy Spirit, gain insight from a pastor’s message, and try to leave a church gracefully – hopefully with bridges intact. I guess I’ll have to let you know how it worked out when I need to cross those bridges again.