A while back I wrote a post about what it’s like to be a Christian, ENTJ female and it got a lot of conversation going on the topic. One of the most common comments that I got from other ENTJs in particular was “church doesn’t help me. It does nothing, and I don’t feel accepted or like I’m growing. So I stopped going to church.” And it broke my heart.
I’ve written extensively in the past about why you need to go to church as a student, why students leave the church, and about how the church can help with various issues we face. But those don’t really address the issue of what to do when your church doesn’t help you.
I’ve explained this in my last two posts in this series, but I’ll say it here again. Generally, we go to church because God commands us to as well as for three reasons that benefit us directly. Obviously individuals will have extra reasons apart from these, but I think these are pretty global so these are the ones I’m going to mainly address. They are (1) to receive good teaching that helps us grow, (2) to become part of a community, and (3) to feel like we’re actually making some sort of a difference. Often when we get disillusioned about church it’s about one of these three things. The preaching isn’t great, I feel isolated, or I feel like I’m not able to do anything with my faith at the church that I’m at. And the last one is what we’re talking about today.
Problem 3: I feel like I can’t do anything with my faith at the church that I attend.
Wow, this one is hard. I’m not going to lie. And I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve seen this, especially from ENTJ women who commented on that earlier blog post. And it breaks my heart because I have literally been in your shoes so many times before.
I believe that this can be more disillusioning than anything else, to be honest. And it’s because a big part of being a Christian is following God’s call for our lives and use the gifts he has given us to spread His love. When we feel like we’re failing at that, we can feel pretty depressed about our faith.
So I think this is something really important that needs to be talked about. So if you’re ready, I’m going to try to tackle it.
Solution 1 to Following God’s Call: Examine any roadblocks
Is there anything physically in your way of following God’s call for your life? Does your church not allow for women teachers, even those whom God has given gifts of teaching and prophesy to? Then you know what, I would talk to the leadership about it and, if they won’t budge, find a church that does.
Let me be very clear: if God has given you a gift, no human can tell you not to use it. If anyone tells you that you are not allowed use a gift that God has given you, he or she is usurping God’s authority over your life. It doesn’t matter if you’re a man, a woman, or a freaking donkey–if God wants to speak through you, He will.
That being said, please do not strong-arm your way to getting whatever position you want. You are not the only person in your church–are there lots of gifted speakers and teachers? Then either find another way to use your gift (e.g., host a small Bible study) or pray that God can show you another way to minister in your church, or reveal another gifting that he wants you to use at this time. Even if you have an amazing gift, remember: there is a time for everything. Maybe the problem isn’t that your church doesn’t want to use your gift–maybe it’s just that at this time, God wants you to focus on something else so he’s closing that door temporarily.
However, if your church is simply uninterested in having you use the gifts that God has given you, I would seriously consider leaving and finding somewhere that allows you to live the life God has equipped you for.
Solution 2 to Following God’s Call: Call for backup
If the issue isn’t any roadblock that’s in your way, but you’re just feeling really disillusioned, spiritually depressed, and like you don’t know what to do, call for backup. This is what Christian community is for! Ask the pastoral staff or some trusted members of the congregation to pray that God will show you the path he has called you for. If you can, try to have a small group of people commit to praying for you every day for a week or two. Never underestimate the power of prayer.
As well, remember that God has given you a whole arsenal of information for you to learn from–his Word. Remember the Psalm we all sang in Sunday school? “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path” (Psalm 119:105). It’s very true–spending some serious time in meditation over God’s word and prayer can help make clear even the most confusing times in your life.
Solution 3 to Following God’s Call: Get creative
Whenever we think of serving God or following God’s call we can get pretty stuck into our groove. Go on a missions trip, teach Sunday school, volunteer at a soup kitchen. But not everyone is called to minister in the same way. So get creative–are you really good with elderly people? Volunteer to spend time with the seniors at your church, especially the ones whose family lives far away. Are you really good with organizing? Maybe volunteer to do some administrative work for the fundraisers your church is planning. Think outside of the box and just be open to whatever opportunities God presents.
Spiritual disillusionment and feeling like your faith is stagnant can be really really depressing. I’m not going to lie. But that doesn’t mean you have to stay like this. I hope this helped you, and that you find a way to follow God’s call for your life because–and trust me on this–He’s got big plans for you.
Have you ever gone through “spiritual depression”? What were some verses that helped you hear God’s call again? Let me know in the comments!
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