The ministry of showing up

“75% of life is just showing up.”

Most of us have heard this quote or quotes like it. Which is slightly unfortunate because it means it’s become cliche. And I’ve heard it said that the secrets of life are hidden in cliches, but we ignore them because we’ve heard them so much. But, I have been discovering the wisdom behind sayings like this.

Showing up is “half the battle” (or more, I’d argue). Showing up to class, to work, to coffee dates, to meetings, to play dates, to planned events… the list goes on and on.

The idea of “showing up” clearly applies to so many aspects of life. But I wanted to share this for Christians in the context of the church. What I am going to share is two-fold. First, the more obvious and more talked about aspect- what it does for our own soul.

I have come to believe deep in the recesses of my heart that church is vital for a Christian. Not in a check list/religious sort of way but in a uniquely life-giving and God glorifying kind of way.

Christ calls the church his bride. His bride! Brides are beautiful and beloved. Now I know many people have found the church to be the farthest thing from reflecting beauty and beloved-ness. But, I have seen throughout my life that when church is done right (not perfectly, but rightly) it is indeed glorious and radiant and like nothing else on earth.

In keeping with the metaphor, in a healthy marriage, the closest we really get to someone else without actually being with them is being with their spouse. Likewise, I believe the closest we get to God this side of heaven is being with, and a part of, His bride. He has set up his church in a unique way that allows us to know Him, know ourselves, and know others in a way that nothing else can quite produce. The biblical church is more than gathering together once a week. But it’s not less than. We are strengthened and matured and convicted and encouraged in ways we could not be without meeting together.

For all of this and so much more I have become convinced that we must not underestimate the power of our presence. But here is the other, often missed, side: showing up isn’t just for our own hearts it is for the hearts of others too.

A while ago we had a friend over and we were all talking about what it’s been like for us transitioning to having two kids. I told him that one really challenging thing for me was getting to church with both the kids on the Sundays that my husband, Kyle, was working. I was explaining how some of those first Sunday mornings without Kyle felt nearly impossible. And in-fact, the first couple ones where our baby was old enough to go, I literally did not make it out the door.

In a really kind way he shared how encouraging it was to see people show up during difficult or inconvenient times. He named one person in particular who he has specifically taken note of. She has come, even with three kids climbing all over her or tagging along behind her.

She was there.

And he noticed.

He was spurred on to take his own commitment to the church more seriously.

Caveat: I did not write this to heap guilt or burdens onto you. For me personally, this resonated deep in my heart in a way that has not only challenged me but comforted me and even freed me. My aim is for it to do the same for some of you.

You are welcome: your frazzled- half put together- I need coffee- self. From the baggage of the past, the sufferings of the season, right up to the chaos of the morning.

When you look over and see that woman who is grappling with scary news from the doctor. That couple who is longing for a child. That man who lost his job. When you see someone standing silently, with the kind of sadness that makes it too hard to sing, with their hands lifted high letting their brothers and sisters sing for them.

The shaky hands and tear filled eyes of a courageous person who chose to show up speaks a powerful message. Ultimately they shout the worthiness of our God and the value of his people meeting together.

I know being a part of a church is much more than just showing up. That’s for another blog. I know that sometimes we need permission not to show up. There is a time for that. I know some of you have showed up time and time again and have never felt noticed or known. That’s a different story. And I’m really sorry.

But for those in messy yet striving, sometimes awkward yet faithful, flawed yet genuine churches- let’s fight together to show up. To not forsake meeting together. Let’s be a people who do not grow weary of showing up. Time and time again.

That, in and of itself, is a ministry we can all sign up for and serve in.

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