About once a month when I was young, my mom would drive us down to Palestine, Texas, where my family is from, and she would drag us to church. I would walk in, and there would always be adults telling me what to do, what I couldn’t do, to stop talking so loud, all these things. These people walked around the church as if there would be no “church” if it weren’t for them, like they created this thing. It wasn’t until about 10 years later that I came into a personal relationship with Christ and got to experience what church was really about: broken people in a broken world, serving and working for other broken people, but worshipping the perfect, holy and loving God. I had always thought that the only ones who attended church were the people who made lots of money, attended town hall meetings, volunteered in the community, and would never be caught doing anything bad.
I realize now that I couldn’t have been more wrong. We are broken. We struggle. We are sometimes prideful. We are selfish. We are all these things, and we admit to them. I’ve never been one to enjoy admitting shortcomings or failures, but I can I tell you that there is so much freedom and relief when you admit to those things. The same goes with the church. We admit what we struggle with, we admit that we are sinful, and there is freedom in that. It feels weird saying this, but it is awesome to recognize and realize where you have fallen short, because it opens your eyes to the fact that God has not left you in that. He is with you, carrying you, providing for you, pursuing you and loving you. I love what the psalmist writes in chapter 28:
The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him. The LORD is the strength of his people, a fortress of salvation for his anointed one.
— Psalm 28:7–8
You may ask yourself, “What does he mean by anointed? I’m not perfect, does that disqualify me?”. Here’s the beautiful answer to that: no. God never calls us to be perfect, he knows that’s impossible. It’s okay to be broken, it’s okay to be banged up, the church is still for you. Come and worship God, who is our provision and our protector.