journal entry April 22, 2018
It was Saturday night, our quiet home was tidy, all the dishes were washed and put away. Penelope was asleep and Jason was plugging away at his latest YouTube upload on the computer. I went into the bedroom to do some reading and then my usual Saturday evening prayer time.
I have been reading one of Charles Finney’s writings, on his lectures in revival.
He was preaching about Hosea 10:12; "Break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the Lord, till He come and rain righteousness upon you"
Fallow ground is ground that was once tilled, but has since gotten hard and unusable. Before it can receive seed, it needs to be broken up and made soft again. To break up the fallow ground of our heart we need to examine our motives, actions and state of mind very carefully.
Many people never seem to think about doing this. They pay no attention to their own hearts, and never know whether they are doing well in their walk with the Lord or not - whether they are bearing fruit or are really barren. - Charles Finney
Finney goes on to say that the reason why there are some fruitless Christians in the world is because their hearts have hardened and one way to soften it is by confessing sins that you may have not yet repented of.
I started this Saturday evening prayer routine a while ago when I started re-attending church in my adulthood. What I’m about to confess is an embarrassing sin; almost every Saturday night I pray that I would be able to focus my attention during Sunday morning service toward worshiping, listening and allowing the Holy Spirit to move. I prayed Saturday evening for my heart just like I have been doing for the past couple of years that I would not be distracted by the machine of it all.
Then the next morning it was Sunday. I walked into church, sat in the pew with Jason and it hit me. One of my unconfessed sin was my heart for the church. I really dislike church! My heart was fallow! It had hardened over after God worked so hard to do his work in me four years ago when Jason had gotten sick.
I grew up going to church. We were always there. If there was a service, we went. My parents were very involved in various ministries in the church I grew up in. Sometime around high school I saw the “machinery” behind the church. The business side of the house of the Lord really turned things off for me. It was kind of like when you were a kid seeing an amazing puppet show, you believed that they were real and could talk and walk all by themselves and then shockingly only to discover that the puppets weren’t really alive but thrown in a box and the puppeteers counted the profits, cursed and the same show was done over and over again to different children different towns. The magic was gone for me. I realize now as an adult that church needs consistency and I mistook that as conformity, to be run effectively and professionally as possible in order for it to last longer than just a magical gathering of wows and smiles. There is no magic in church. I pray that Penelope never believes that, but will see the Holy Spirit and his awesome power alone.
While I was praying that I would stay focused during church service and not let me be distracted by what I know or think what was really going on “behind the curtains” that I didn’t realize that I never addressed my feelings for the staff, the building, the members and the way things are run. My 18 year old self, wearing black fishnet stockings, rebel creeper shoes, a vintage dress and Amy Winehouse style black eyeliner crept up on me and I grumbled in my pew. I left the church when in college because I felt that “they” didn’t get me. (I’m laughing as I type this) but believe it or not here I am twenty years later and I and still dealing with this unconfessed sin.
As I’ve been going through this burning desire to bring others to Christ, I thought about inviting some of my homesteading, homosexual, witch-y friends to church. “Ugh! Church just doesn’t get us misfits! Don’t fall for the machine.” I mumbled under my breath. That’s when I heard myself. Oh no! I’ve been carrying around this sin for 20 years and it’s hardening the soil of my heart. I can’t bear any fruit until God breaks me. Come break my heart O, God!
I immediately prayed that God would forgive me and teach me to love the church, the building, the staff (who I so terribly disliked), and all of the precious members the way He loves them. I am so wretched it’s a wonder God even allows me to even step foot into his house of worship.
God is so full of redeeming grace.