Sunday mornings are almost always a little frantic. The Hubs leaves our house super early because he is on the worship team and our church meets in a local elementary school which means every week a team has to set everything up and tear everything down. We have three little ones so that means I am getting four people ready for church and doing a lot of hauling and carrying of my own since our girls are still in carseat carriers. I am “time challenged”…
To be perfectly transparent, I’ve always been “time challenged” in the mornings. Which translated means I have a hard time being on time anywhere before noon. I give myself a five minute grace window…translated: if I arrive within five minutes of the appointed time I count it as being on time. Yes, I know there are a lot of people out there who are now judging me based on this…I will “up” your judgement and judge you back…you are a time-legalist: that’s right, you are being legalistic about being on time. I have yet to read a scripture that says, “The late shall not inherit the Kingdom of God.” Although, I know some people who have penciled it in, in their Bibles.
This morning the time changed (“time challenged” people HATE time changes….if we are gaining or losing it just throws us off). I was awake late into the night…okay, the wee hours of the morning. The alarm on my phone was set so I would have plenty of time to get ready. I was even a child short since my son (who is my biggest challenge in the mornings, that is other than finding matching socks ….he lives in his own little world in which time doesn’t exist) is camping with my parents for spring break. When the alarm went off, I thought I hit the snooze button. I still had plenty of time, I just wanted to get that extra 15 minutes of sleep in. Then I must have slept through the next alarm. That is all I can figure.
Church starts at 10 a.m. (this also throws me off because I always think it starts at 10:30 after attending a church for over 10 years that started at 10:30 a.m.). I woke up at 9:34 a.m. We live about 20 minutes away from our church. This meant I had 6 minutes to get me and the babies ready for church. That didn’t happen. Thankfully, everyone had been bathed the night before and cloths were picked out. I had matching socks.
I left the house a little after 10 a.m. I arrived at our church around 10:20 a.m.
Then the walk of shame.
I wouldn’t term our church as “small” because it has grown so much since it first started about three years ago. It isn’t that big either. The way we are setup, the congregation can see people driving into the parking lot. As you walk into the school cafeteria, you are behind the congregation but whoever is on the platform sees you and of course, whoever turns around.
Our church family has been wonderful in helping us with our babies. They send someone, sometimes two someones, from the hospitality team out to meet me and carry the babies in. If they didn’t help me with this, I would have to take out and assemble my double stroller which would take me even longer. While this is incredibly helpful and I do need the help, this means when I walk in, there is me, two other people, sometimes an adorable little boy and two babies of extreme cuteness…it’s an entourage. It feels like all the eyes turn and look. I prefer to think they are looking at how cute my kids are and not judging me for being late. Somewhere inside there is this nagging voice saying, “Walk fast, everyone is looking at you. You’re late, again…”
Some Sundays I feel accomplished for just getting to church.
I try to walk as fast as possible to get my kids back to nursery and Sunday school as not to distract from worship. Today I was particularly late and felt shame.
This is my Christian “Walk of Shame”.
Wikipedia defines the “Walk of Shame” as: The walk of shame refers to a situation in which a person must walk past strangers or peers alone for an embarrassing reason before reaching a place of privacy. Most commonly, it occurs the morning after a night out at a bar, nightclub, or party. …. The “walker” may often be identified by his or her disheveled appearance and incongruous evening attire, particularly on Saturday or Sunday mornings.
That’s pretty accurate…”a situation in which a person must walk past strangers or peers alone for an embarrassing reason before reaching a place of privacy”.
This morning I was feeling the shame of it.
The thing is, we just went to Kairos 2 (click here for more info) and one of the sections was specifically on shame. One of thing that was said that stuck with me was this: Guilt is not always a bad thing. We need to feel bad about some things. But shame is never good because shame speaks to identity; who you were created to be. That is so true. Shame makes blanket statements about who you are and who you will always be. “You are ALWAYS late. You will NEVER be on time. You aren’t being asked to serve in some ways because you are late. You will never be good enough. Being late disqualifies you.”
As I sit and listen to message today in our series, “God of the Underdog”, I realize that shame is responsible for making many of the excuses we use to stay in the status quo. Shame disqualifies. Shame says “you will never be good enough.”
There are no commandments about being on time. There are no scriptures in the New Testament about people inheriting eternal life based on their promptness or earliness. In fact, in the book of Acts (early church) there were no watches so how could they even say, “Be here at 10 a.m.”. I imagine when the disciples met, there two guys hanging out and they started praying and worshipping, then some more folks wondered in and eventually, the room was full and Peter started preaching. Peter wasn’t standing there saying, “Brother So-in-so was suppose to be here already. He isn’t showing leadership so he can no longer pass the offering plate.” “Tomorrow evening” meant a general time frame than be here at 6 p.m.
We as a church have focused on some things that aren’t Biblical while ignoring things that are specifically Biblical. (The church in general).
Being late isn’t the only “walk of shame” we Christians put on each other. It’s any situation where we shame one another. It is one of the Holy Spirit’s jobs to bring conviction. I pray that I am sensitive to the Holy Spirit. It is not my job to convict anyone of sin. It’s not my business (or anyone else’s) if you pay your tithes….that is between you and God. It’s not my business if you serve in a ministry in your church. While I think it is important that everyone contributes to the Kingdom, what you do is ultimately between you and God. You should really listen to Him but if you choose not to, it’s not my business. I cannot make you do anything. And I refuse to be the voice of shame in your life. Likewise, I am no longer accepting words of shame, words that attack who God says that I am, from anyone.
I’ve learned over the years that you just do not know where someone is in their life. Sometimes just getting to church on Sunday is a celebration. That’s okay. God seems to take His time changing me. He is chipping away bit by bit, it’s a long process but His work is solid and everlasting.