Saturday, February 20, 2010

Stress Contagion

The last several weeks have not gone smoothly for me at church. A series of problems involving the kids -- sickness, tears and pleas for me to stay in Sunday school, multiplied misbehavior during worship -- has disrupted my plan every week.

I am an excessively self-aware parent. I regularly evaluate my own behavior and attitudes and try to decipher how I am affecting my children. I have purposely avoided analyzing our Sunday morning misadventures. There are so many reasonable explanations: they are young, there are three of them, it is winter, they are tired, I am tired.

I'm losing patience with these explanations, though. I'm pretty sure the stress I feel on Sunday is getting them wound up. I don't have any idea what I might do about it. Sunday is stressful. I want desperately to be at church and to be glad I'm there. No matter what I pray, or read, or try to think about during worship, the underlying conflict erupts somewhere.

The weeks ahead promise to be more complicated than the last few months. We are developing plans to move away from this situation and transition brings anxiety and conflict up from the locked closet in the basement.

This week someone reminded me of how "late" Jesus was when his dear friend Lazarus became sick. Lazarus was dead by the time Jesus got there. If Jesus had shown up when people thought he should, then the miracle of Lazarus' resurrection would not have happened. I cannot fix my Sunday morning stress, but I can try to be patient and trust God for the outcome.

This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God's glory so that God's Son may be glorified through it. John 11:4


  1. If it is stressful, then skip sunday school for once. It is okay.

  2. I agree with Christy. If SS adds to the problems that already arise on Sunday morning, skip it. It is ok. I understand how you are feeling. I went through the same troubles and frustrations, fears. I know my kids (3 of them, too) sensed my struggles and depression. They knew church was not the comfortable, safe place it should be. And that makes it so difficult. I felt so much conflict when sitting in the service. I wanted to be there; knew I needed to be there. That was the one thing that could feed me and nurse me back to health. But I felt hatred coming from all sides. Stares, pity. None of it made me comfortable. None of it was good for my kids. One thing that did help...I started attending a Bible study at a neighboring congregation. It was neutral territory. Confessional pastor. Good study. It fed me. Might be something to look into. God be with you. By the way, I love the verse you chose.



Thanks for using this space to share your encouraging words.