If you look up the word “excuse” in the dictionary, you will find this: a plea offered in extenuation of a fault or for release from an obligation, promise, etc. If you’re looking in a recent dictionary, you will also find my picture. This bothers me more than I can possibly put into words.
I used to think of myself as extremely reliable and dependable, and prided myself in that. I was generally the first one to volunteer my time, show up to every invitation, and take advantage of every opportunity. A few years ago, a lot changed.
I was very involved in my church, happily living on campus and going to school, and working full-time in childcare. I was busier than was probably healthy, but I was enjoying every second.
Then I was blindsided.
Without going into details, I found myself in the middle of a situation that snowballed and left devastation in its path. It was fueled by my mistakes, the mistakes of others, rumors, selfishness, and fear. It left many relationships forever changed. It hurt a lot of people. It broke me beyond the point I ever thought was possible. I left my church hurt and burnt-out. I left my school a failure. I left my job exhausted. I lost a lot of friends, and I changed.
It has been almost 3 years since this all came to pass, and while God has been good in healing and mending the pain, I am still making excuses. I have an excuse for not being in school. I have an excuse for being absent from my friend’s lives. I have an excuse for not having found a new church home yet. While some of these excuses may be rooted in truths, for the most part they remain excuses- pleas offered for release from a promise.
I’ve been leisurely “church-hopping” for almost a year. One week going here, one week going there, the next just staying home. I haven’t chosen to call one home, for no better reason than I don’t want to. I’m afraid to plug in. I’m leery to join a small group. I don’t feel like being vulnerable with strangers. I don’t want to make them more than just strangers.
I don’t make a concentrated effort to see my friends and family. I have a difficult schedule at work, but not so difficult that I should cease to have a social life. I tend to isolate myself, and honestly can’t think of a reason why. It feels almost instinctual.
I haven’t been in school for two semesters. I claim I don’t have time, but the truth is that I simply don’t make time. I’m afraid to commit to it, knowing that if I don’t wholeheartedly commit, I will likely fail again.
Recently though, things have been changing for me. Thank God. The desire for a church home has started to outweigh my fears. I miss being a part of something larger than myself. I miss the support system found in a church family, and the accountability. I miss the passion.
I miss my friends and family. Every time I’m blessed with even a small dose of them, I can feel my cup overflowing. I want to make the time for what’s important. I know that it’s not in my God-given nature to live in isolation, and I want to conquer the recent need I seem to have for it.
If you happen to be one of those people in my life, and you happen to be reading this right now, I’m asking for your help. I want you to know, and maybe understand a little better, where I am at and what I am struggling with. I ask for your continued patience, for prayer, and for accountability in righting those wrongs that are still fixable.
I found it fitting when I saw this in that same dictionary- right below the noun definition of “excuse”, you’ll find the verb: to regard or judge with forgiveness; to pardon.
I think there are some of you that read this and never comment (…eh hem, Ma, Meghan, Tara…) feel free to say hello so I know you’re there :)