The truth is, going to church is hard.
Every Saturday night, I feel completely panicked and feel like I will never be able to handle going to church the next morning. I usually feel a very real and heavy weight on my heart, and sometimes I cry myself to sleep not knowing how I can be around the people at church (not because of them but because of how I feel) when what I feel inside is so invisibly painful.
When I wake up Sunday morning, I usually feel some peace, and it feels more manageable to be able to go to church. But when I get to church, the pain often returns, and I get very overwhelmed thinking about the next three hours laying before me.
I often feel very overwhelmed when I hear the talks given, because the truth is that scripture study, prayer, service, etc. are very hard for me and look different now than they used to look. I struggle knowing how to try to be better without setting completely unrealistic expectations for myself or without beating myself up over everything that is so hard to do right now. I'm getting better at this, but sometimes it still stings, and I try my very hardest to hold in the tears that come so close to the surface. I repeat to myself over and over and over again that I am trying and that the best I am able to offer right now is acceptable to God.
Sometimes I get this burning desire inside of me for someone to know what I am feeling, to know that I want to scream out for help, but since no one would know how to help anyway (since there's not much anyone can do), I stay quiet. Sometimes I desperately want someone to hug my frail and broken heart and whisper gently in my ear that everything is going to be alright. It's okay that no one knows when I need that and that I don't know how to ask for it, but it's still hard to be around so many people and yet feel so alone at times.
Often, at the very end of church, I feel discouraged that I have another long week ahead of me and that I didn't take the chance to open up to anyone about how hard things are. I think about how it's going to be another week before I get the chance to see some of these good people again, and I usually feel unsure about how I will be able to handle another week of pain until I possibly get the chance to speak up again.
But the truth is, Sunday and Monday are my most productive days. After getting home from church, I get a sudden, fleeting boost of energy that allows me to get caught up on some things that have been severely neglected from the week or weeks before. I suddenly don't feel overwhelmed by the week I have ahead of me, and I'm no longer afraid.
Yes, going to church is hard, and I fight the battle every week to go regardless of how I feel, but I am blessed for going, and those blessings are so evident to me. The truth is, going to church is worth every struggle that comes with it, because ultimately the blessings far outweigh the difficulty.