I’m tired

I’m tired.

I need to say this, though I don’t know how.  I thought I was OK but it turns out that the cost was greater than I knew.  So I see the church and, where once I knew passion which translated into tireless action, now as I dredge the depths of my heart I find nothing but a void.

I need to say it.  I thought six months would be enough.  But it’s nearly five and the void which is soul-weariness has only yawned more deeply.

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I need to say this too, in case you misunderstand me.  I do not hate the church.  A pastor said this some months back, having heard our story.  You still love the church, he said in some surprise.  Yes.  We still love the church.  We never even missed a week back at the end of January when one church story came to an end.  And we would do it all again.  Tomorrow, if he asked us.  Though we pray he leaves it a while.

I have not given up on the church.  Nor will I.  We are the church: abandoning it is a nonsense.  I love the ones I had to leave and I love the ones I’m finding in this new season.  I am also not ambivalent.  I still rail at what we do, how we call it church when it bears no resemblance to anything I find in the New Testament.  I still mutter darkly about whether we really think Jesus died for the structures of leadership we espouse.  Ask my husband.

And I tell of this void because I am not afraid of it.  Nearly five months after leaving a decade-long pastorate, I am not restored to strength.  And it is well with my soul.  It is well with my soul though when I read of friends launching new ministries, planting new churches, my soul shudders.  Though even the idea of joining a Sunday service team makes me sigh with an odd combination of weariness and boredom.  Ennui perhaps.  Though it turns out that I have nothing left, a state of affairs as much to do with another of my contexts as it is with the story of church, yet it is well with my soul.  It really is.  So well.

For he walks with me and he is leading me I don’t know where.  Places, I think, which I could not have held before.  And though my heart has no strength to wrestle for transformation of church, to rethink what the heck we’re doing and to contend for that, my dark mutterings show me that I still care.  That the fire still burns for his bride’s beauty.  I know now, too, with even greater confidence that the one who calls from glory to glory always saves the best for last.

And somewhere within, buried deeper yet than the yawning void, eager expectation is stirring.

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8 thoughts on “I’m tired

  1. Hi Chloe, I thank God for your openness and you honesty always. I love receiving your posts and I am encouraged to know how passionate you are for Jesus and his body. This is what made me want to get to know you more, because where I feel I am in the minority about what I see is the church today, you give me hope that I am not the only one. Without you being aware of it, you always let me know that the Lord would always reserve a remnant for himself even in the darkest times as we have it now. I pray that the Lord will lead and guide you in all your endeavour and may you find rest in him always.

  2. Hi Chloe,

    Thank you for this, yet another beautifully articulated testament to the rhythm of being church. I resonate with ’the void’ towards leadership within church, which I experienced when I left Eden, although like you I continued participating (I still recognised the value of corporate worship and my need to participate in it). It’s gone three years and I’ve still not returned to any form of leadership within the church. But I am ready to do so now. Ready only when specifically called to step up though. I still have to restrain the desire to fill a gap in order to be helpful. However, I do wonder that we, doing similar jobs in similar institutions, are leading within the church anyway. They’re not called church in name… but despite the disguise, they are in practice.

    Anyway, I’m not sure if this post automatically comes up as a comment. I’m happy for you to put it in your blog but could you remove my name.

    Keep in step with the rhythm of your dance.

    All the very best,

    L

    P.S. Missing our odd and too infrequent coffee times.

    • Hey, hope my edits of your comment are sufficient…! Yes, I miss our coffees too. I think what you say here is right on every level. May you step into the next stage of ministry with all wisdom. I think of you every so often and hope all is well. x

  3. Thank you for your empathy and insightfulness into Scripture and life. As one who was in official ministry for 40 years, I feel you have just the right balance between human despair and tiredness on the one hand and divine hope and dynamism on the other. I came across your writing in the “Preaching” magazine (an article on New Testament attitudes to those who govern).My wife Sally and I are grateful for your ministry.

    God bless you,

    Michael and Sally

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