I went through a pretty big break-up recently. It was a big deal. It was emotional, and it was difficult. It took months to decide if this is what I really wanted, and eventually I knew what I had to do. It was time to say goodbye. After 21 years, it was time to say goodbye to my home church.
Yup. It’s true. If you’ve read my blog before, I’ve made quite a few posts about my old church. This is the church that I grew up in, the church where I met my first boyfriend, the church that I got baptized in, and the church that I worked for this past summer.
Well, during the summer I started really thinking about where I wanted to go and what I needed from a church. It’s not that my old church wasn’t amazing – it was. And it is. That’s why it was so difficult to make this decision. This was a community of people who I had known my ENTIRE life. That church was like a second home to me. It was the ONE place besides my actual home that i felt 100% comfortable at, no matter what. NO MATTER WHAT!
And yet, here I was seriously thinking about leaving. A couple of times, I thought to myself:
“…Why are you doing this? You’re comfortable here. There’s no reason to leave!”
But that was a lie. There were a lot of reasons. It wasn’t the church. It really wasn’t. It was me.
Yup, I gave the ol’ “it’s not you, it’s me” excuse. I wasn’t just saying it. I wasn’t just trying to make myself feel better. No, it was time for me to move on. And I had some pretty good reasons.
First of all, I had literally been at this church my entire life. My. Entire. Life. My parents had been going for 25 years…and since I’m 21, I had never truly experienced anything or anywhere else. The church population was aging, and all the young adults were leaving. There were three other young adults besides myself who consistently attended. They were all a few years older than me and it’s not that I didn’t like them or anything, but we just never clicked. It’s VERY hard to be a young adult in a church with only children and middle-aged people. I felt like my faith had reached a standstill. I felt like I was stuck. I was in a spiritual rut. It’s not that there was anything wrong with the church – it’s that I changed, and I grew up, and I needed something different. It really was a “it’s not you, it’s me” situation.
I was frustrated that I wasn’t meeting any new Christians. I was frustrated that there was no support system for people my age. I was frustrated that all my friends had left the church and left me behind. And that’s when I realized that I too could leave. And so I did.
After checking out tons of different church websites and talking to lots of different people I knew were connected to other churches, I found somewhere new. At the end of October, I visited a new church. I was skeptical at first, and a little anxious. But I did it. I introduced myself to the pastor and he then took it upon himself to introduce me to some other young adults who went there! I was so surprised! They were friendly and welcoming and we exchanged e-mail addresses right away.
Long story short, I’ve been going to this church for almost 3 months now. Their young adults group has over 20 dedicated, amazing Christians and I could not be happier. I still visit my home church from time to time, just to say hello. I still miss it. I still miss my old community. But my new church is where I need to be now. If I had never left, I don’t think I would have grown in all the new ways that I have.
Sometimes, it’s best to say goodbye. Sometimes, you just have to say “it’s not you, it’s me.”