QUESTION: The following really isn't a question. It's more like a last resort or plea for help or comfort. I don't know....Maybe I just need someone to listen to me.
I am 30 years old and live alone and don't have any friends. Since last year, January 2014, I have been searching for a good church and a place to be happy and meet people and hear good preaching and feel connected.
I've prayed and asked God for help and direction. I've spent hours on the internet researching and looking for a church. Every Sunday I've gotten up and put on a nice dress and taken myself to church.
The problem is: people have been so cold, mean, and unfriendly where ever I visit. Attempts to be nice and friendly have failed.
No one will talk to me, no will say hi to me, no one has offered to visit, and no will even ask if I am doing good.
After several months of being ignored....eventually I have sought another church and again I have been treated like an outsider and made to feel unwanted.
I am not a wild or loose woman with green hair and tattoos or piercings. I was raised Fundamentalist Baptist, I was homeschooled, I wear only dresses, and have my B.A.
I show up to church with my Bible and proper clothes and proper hair....yet I've been frowned at, scowled at, and made to feel worthless. My self esteem has crashed and I've become sooo depressed.
I feel like giving up and staying in bed on Sunday. After a year of searching I am sad, tried, burned out, and feel like an Atheist.
I am not looking for a "perfect" church and I know "mean" people are in EVERY church...but I have been grieved and wounded by this process and level of coldness from people. I don't know why God hasn't answered a simple pray such as finding a church.
Any advice, comfort, words of wisdom? I am on the brink of quitting religion forever and being Atheist. I am sad and lonely and hurt.
ANSWER: Don't quit!!!! You are looking for God and God is looking for you!!! A Church is just a place to meet and socialize with like minded people, and I can tell from your writing that you are just like most of the good people I see in Church all the time!!! You are a good person, worthy of love, acceptance and being cherished and cared about!! DO NOT QUIT!!! Maybe you just need to expand your search or redefine what you are looking for- human beings are flawed, we all make mistakes, all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. That includes you and me, but I don't quit when someone lets me down, I just try harder or move on, but I don't quit. Don't give up!!! God didn't give up on you and neither will I. Keep me posted on your search, I will try to help in any way that I can!!! I believe in you and I want you to be happy and fulfilled, and so does God, scripture tells us he wants you to have life and a more abundant life at that!! You are on the right track, keep looking, keep trying, keep searching.
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QUESTION: Not really a "follow up" question...more like a "follow up" statement. Since January 2014 I have been to so many churches.
1. A Mega Baptist Church (4 months....no one knew I was there)
2. A small Baptist church (3 weeks....these people HATED me)
3. Back to the Mega church (3 weeks....lonely)
4. Baptist Church (1 Sunday....terrible)
5. Medium size Baptist church (1 month)
6. Large Baptist church (4 months....same problems)
Next Sunday I plan on visiting a new church. Thanks for the encouragement BUT honestly after 365 days of disappointment my energy is low. Frankly, I have little expectation. I will keep you posted, but by spring time, I am quitting and will stay home on Sunday. I am depressed and getting exhausted trying. It's getting to the point where I don't even believe in God and see him as an obligation.
Church has become a chore. An obligation. I loath and hate Sunday and wonder why I even bother. I'm saved...but I am starting to give up on having a church "family."
Anyway, sorry to sound, pessimist...I do appreciate your help. I am just depressed.
Thanks Ann, Sometimes the night is darkest just before the dawn. I have confidence that God will help you to find the right Church family. I am praying for you and I believe that God intends only good for you. Perhaps you should expand your search, are there any other Churches close enough for you to attend? What about Chapels? Prayer Groups? Church volunteer groups? Prayer meetings? Special interest groups? Has anyone invited you to attend services with them? Give this new Church a chance. Meet them halfway and go in expecting to be accepted and liked. One of the things I would recommend is for you to expect to be like liked and accepted. In general, this has worked for me, I always expect to be liked and accepted and I usually am. Church should be enjoyed, not endured.