Churches are open again in California with some restrictions. For the last year I have watched church from my couch usually wearing comfy clothes and nestled under a cozy blanket. Honestly this fit quite nicely with my introverted self. It’s not that I don’t like church or even the people at church, I do. It’s just that the whole going-to-church process I’ve had to do alone since I’ve been married. Somewhere I have to find the courage to go and face the crowd at church – who are all masked – sit alone, 6 feet apart from others. All this to listen to a sermon in-person that I could just watch on TV. So I ask myself, do I wait or do I try to go now? I still have not decided. But this situation has made me think.
During this time I have evaluated the purpose of attending church and what my part is in it. This has always been a struggle for me because I honestly don’t feel closer to God at church. So for me personally, that is not the reason I go. I know many of us struggle with going to church for one reason or another. We add our own insecurities to reasons why it doesn’t feel very important. Perhaps we need to do some soul searching as to why this traditional activity is important to do even if we have to go without our spouse. I believe God is pleased by my going. I think He enjoys this special day in the week where Christians come together and worship Him.
After much soul searching I have listed here some reasons why I am praying for courage to attend church even though it will just be my daughter and I.
A sense of rhythm in life. One of the main reasons I have tried to go to church regularly is because it creates a sense of rhythm in my life. Life can range from chaotic to monotonous. Even during the craziness of Covid, turning on the tv for church each week provided a rhythm of learning and worshiping. Matthew 11:28 Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” Church gives us a regular time in the week to have a “Come to Jesus” moment to lay down our burdens and get some emotional rest and spiritual food.
Learn about God. I can read my Bible and pray throughout the week. I enjoy this time alone with God. But there is just something nice about hearing a sermon a church leader has studied all week to bring to the congregation. This encourages me because it’s not just me God is working on, God is showing pastors how to teach their congregations these timeless words. These sermons are a tool God uses to grow me in my understanding of Biblical Truth. Romans 12:2 “Fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.“
The music. It is satisfying to hear and feel the music: the drum beat, the bass guitar as it keep the sound of the music unified, the guitar as it strums its tune, and the piano play its keys. All of this to God’s glory. Psalm 150:1,4-6 “Praise the LORD! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heaven! Praise him with the tambourine and dancing; praise him with strings and flutes! Praise him with a clash of cymbals; praise him with loud clanging cymbals. Let everything that breathes sing praises to the LORD! Praise the LORD!” This is my time to worship God with my voice and I’d rather sing in a crowd so my voice can be hidden.
Children learn who God is. It is important to me for my children to know where they can learn about God. In Sunday School, curriculum is created to make sure children learn the important stories and themes in the Bible. It provides a good spiritual foundation as well as finding other Christian friends. Matthew 19:14 Jesus said, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children.”
Friendships with other women who love God. Women’s groups within the church help me to learn from other godly women of all ages. Titus 2:3-5 “Teach the older women to live in a way that honors God. They must not slander others or be heavy drinkers. Instead, they should teach others what is good. These older women must train the younger women to love their husbands and their children, to live wisely and be pure, to work in their homes, to do good, and to be submissive to their husbands. Then they will not bring shame on the word of God.”
Going back to church alone has its difficult parts, but look at all these benefits. I encourage you to give it a go. Muster up some courage and faith, then walk through the front doors of a church. Let a sense of rhythm form in your life, learn about God, enjoy the music, let your children learn about God too and find friendships and community with other Christian women. See you there!!!
** I wrote this a couple of years ago and wanted to give an update. I still go to church alone; however, I have found people to sit with regularly. I am welcomed by genuinely warm people. I go to a women’s only Sunday School, and we pray for each other. This group of women has made me feel welcome. So yes, it was scary at first. I had to face my fear of doing all this alone (without a spouse). It is tough. And even still, it’s hard to go every Sunday because of the aloneness, but when I do go, it’s worth the time and the effort. If you need prayer, please contact me via Prayer Form or Prayer Form or down below. I would love to pray for you. Updated: 2/20/23
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I used to go to church alone, too, and it was hard. I joined a women’s group, but I felt like I didn’t fit in. Later I realized I didn’t fit into any part of that church so I quit going and started to look for another church. But then Covid hit so I’ve been watching church on TV or listening to podcasts. I want to get back into the church, but it’s really hard to go alone. And even harder to get back into the routine now that everything is opening back up.
Michelle, It is hard to find the right church to go to and then when you are making that decision alone it’s even harder. I church shopped during Covid. I knew I needed to change. But now I need the courage to go. Courage beyond the virus, courage to walk out my front door. It is hard to go alone.
Kim, all the points you make are so true and I love your authenticity! When my husband doesn’t want to go to church or is feeling ill, I rarely have the courage to go alone. After being single until I was almost 35yrs old, I just don’t want to go and experience that kind of loneliness again. How important it is to reach out to people who are sitting alone in church! Thank you for sharing your heart XOXO
The above is from Carol Jean, not Anonymous 🙂
My pleasure. I think it’s important life issues that often get forgotten about. Having to go to church alone has taken courage. I totally see how for you having to have courage all those years, then being blessed with a husband to sit with, it would take quite a bit of courage to face that loneliness again. I’m glad it’s rarely. Yes, yes, reach out to those sitting alone.
Thank you for sharing this! I haven’t been to church since the COVID lockdown began in Spring 2020, and I have been thinking about going back. Have a blessed day!
Dawn, I totally understand for not going. This is another step towards “normal” again. It was super hard for me. And I don’t go when the Covid numbers are high, but I go again when they go down. It is good for the soul to be with like-minded people. People who love Jesus.