A couple of years ago, I had an enlightening moment during church. I was in a bad mood. I had some awkward interactions with friends just as I arrived and I just didn’t feel like being there. I was being incredibly self-absorbed throughout the service and stubbornly refused to allow God to speak to my heart.
Ha! He did anyway.
Toward the end of the service, our pastors invited anyone to come forward to be anointed with oil and prayed over. We had our son anointed, and asked for prayer and for his healing from diabetes. Our pastor also anointed the rest of our family, and prayed for God to provide for our struggling business and our family. When we returned to our seats, I watched person after person, family after family go forward and be anointed and prayed for. I didn’t know the stories or circumstances that prompted most families to go forward. The self-absorbed, judgmental person inside me questioned every person. “Why are you being anointed? You’re skinny and beautiful and have money. What do you possibly need? Your life is perfect.”
And then, BAM, I got the message. (And fair warning, it involved some language.)
“Keely, everyone’s got their shit.”
Chick-fil-a shares this message with their new employees (and my pastors share it with new members of our church).
Plato said something similar.
It’s all true, isn’t it? We can’t assume we know what’s going on with a person. We shouldn’t assume that the person who comes across as having it all together isn’t actually falling apart and desperate to talk to someone. We shouldn’t assume that our life is hard and their life is easy. We should assume that everyone’s got their shit, and they’re not hung up on ours. They’re just trying to deal with their own. We should extend the same grace and understanding to others that we expect them to show us.
If there’s one word that could be used to describe the environment of our church, it would be honest. The culture of our church is one of honesty, of sharing our brokenness, admitting our weakness and our failures, and sharing our stories. It’s the most refreshing community I’ve ever been a part of. It’s not perfect and it doesn’t pretend to be. It’s a group of ragamuffins who need Jesus and who need one another. I love my church.
I’ve learned so much about community and story and sharing life in the past three years. Everyone has a story. Everyone needs a safe place to share it. Everyone needs someone to remind them that they’re not alone. Everyone needs to know that everyone’s got their shit.