It’s Sunday morning; it’s raining heavily outside. I am supposed to be up and getting ready for church. But I am too weak. I have had this horrible intense headache for the past two days. All I want to do is get some more sleep.
However, this is where things get complicated. I live in the home of a retired Anglican Priest. There are expectations that I am somehow not fulfilling. I don’t do it out of spite. I am usually the people pleaser and obeyer of traditions. But the truth is going to Church since I returned to Nigeria is not something I look forward to every Sunday. There I said it. I am learning to do what is suitable for me even when I stand out in the crowd.
I don’t know how to explain my feelings or needs. So I drag myself to Church when I am physically able to go. I could look for another Church. But in the neighbourhood, I live in I don’t think I will find what I need.
During the Lockdown, I have had some respite. I have enjoyed worshipping online. I am super thankful that I can worship with my Church family in Arizona. To be honest, I get more from the online service than I would be attending the local church here.
Why The Struggle?
- Background difference: I am a product of my diverse experiences. So it is often hard for me to fit in when there is not much diversity. I feel stifled and like I am being squashed in a box. Even though I am Igbo, I might as well be a foreigner when I step into Church. Church, for me, is meant to be home, where I can be myself. Sadly for me, the Churches where I might feel at home are far away. Instead, I come out triggered and turned off by all the rules and cultural norms that I simply do not get.
- Milk vs Meat: I find myself craving more substance in the sermons than what is offered. I have reached a place where I need more. Also, life experiences and background play a role in this, as well.
- Length of Service: I find the Church service here too long. I have been influenced by life in the Western world. I find it hard to sit there, as numerous collections are taken. Now if I were getting more teachings, I wouldn’t mind.
- Style of Worship: We all have different types. I am more conservative about how I worship. I love my hymns or contemporary music. I don’t mind livelier music, but for some reason, many Nigerians seem to love loud music, and often the sound system is wack. The singer’s end up shouting to get over the instruments. Right there is when my spirit of worship flees. All I want to do is protect my ears.
Finding a home church shouldn’t be this difficult. For a lot of people, it’s not. But I am not the average girl on the street. So it makes sense that my journey to find a home church will be adventurous and unique.
But it’s not easy, especially when you can’t find the words to express what is happening and why it is a struggle for you to go to Church. The truth is tomorrow even if I have a headache I will most likely go to work. But here is the thing I love my job. I might be an introvert, but I am very mindful of my spaces. I am drawn to where I find acceptance, love and peace. I am praying I find a home soon.
Have you ever felt this way? What did you do?