July 23, 2013
So the churches were strengthened in the faith and grew daily in numbers.
Gymnastics have been a bit challenging the last couple of weeks. Ellie is signed-up for them. Quite often, I take her. One day last week, gymnastics were not much fun. Ellie can be shy and she decided gymnastics was not for her. It was a bawling mess.
When I picked her up today, we talked about being a big girl and how much fun gymnastics were. We were not yet in the school and the tears began to roll. We opted not to put on the leotard and headed straight for the gymnastics room.
Ellie relented and agreed to participate if I stayed by her side the entire time. We went to the mat and participated in the stretching exercises with the other 20 plus kids. Everyone loved doing the bear crawl, the frog hog, standing like a flamingo … everyone that is, but Ellie. High school gymnasts run the class. As the kids split into small groups, each led by a high school student, Ellie’s anxiety level rose.
I noticed a new face today. It appeared this might be the high school gymnastics coach. She quickly saw Ellie was not having a good time. When she came over and asked Ellie if she would like to do a special project and get the chalk, Ellie took her hand and off they went. A few minutes later, I saw them putting chalk into the bin. Then the coach took Ellie to a small uneven bar and she practicing hanging before moving to the big uneven bars and joining her group.
Unfortunately, too many people feel like Ellie at gymnastics when they get close to a church. Anxiety level rises. They come up with various reasons why engaging is not possible. More than one person has told me that the roof will cave in if they were ever to enter a church building. I assure them this has not happened yet and will not happen to them. I’m not sure I have convinced anyone otherwise.
With a little distraction, Ellie decided participating in gymnastics was fun. A popsicle at the end sealed the deal. I think that with a little distraction, people can decide church can also be a fun, exciting and wonderful, safe place. Let’s make sure the place we worship is this way so that those who are deathly afraid of church will feel welcomed when they get near it.
Maybe we are the ones afraid of a church or we know someone who just will not let themselves discover how wonderful a healthy church community can be. Lord God, help those of us involved in a church make it as inviting and non-threatening as possible and remain true to Your gospel. Quite the anxiety of those scared by church. Help them to see how being a part of Your family can be truly fun, meaningful and life changing. Amen.