After more home remedies and a trip to urgent care, Nicholas is steadily recovering from his poison ivy, (yay)! To entertain ourselves while he tried to not think about the rash, we watched episodes of Lost, made homemade macaroni and cheese (with brown rice noodles), looked at the new IKEA catalog together, and got nine hours of sleep two nights in a row—I don't think that's ever happened before. Despite my homebody tendencies, too much time at home bums me out. All weekend, I sensed a case of "bad-day syndrome" coming on. As I'm writing this, I immediately think of a post I wrote about what to do when it's a bad day. But in the midst of not-so-great day, I chose to wallow a bit.
Last night, I went to church by myself. Nicholas stayed home, since he couldn't wear shoes with the poison ivy blisters on his feet. Of course, I wasn't really by myself. I was greeted by some of our wonderful friends, and surrounded by fellow believers during the service. However, no one from our Missional Community (small group) could make it to church. And honestly, I felt really uncomfortable in worship as I sat next to strangers. Thinking about it afterwards, I had to ask myself: Do I need to be in the presence of friends in order to worship well, or how much do I allow my comfort to affect my worship?
Feeling discouraged after church, I texted a friend. With little background knowledge as to why I was having a difficult day, she replied with this, from Psalm 21:6:
Surely you have granted him unending blessings and made him [King David] glad with the joy of Your presence.
Am I looking primarily for joy in the presence of other people, or for joy in the presence of God?
Godly, encouraging community is essential to the Christian walk, but I need to be wary that church isn't merely a place where I surround myself with like-minded friends, rather than a place of worship where I seek to become more heaven-minded.
Not by coincidence, in church we sang these words from O Come Thou Font: "Take my heart, Lord, take and seal it, seal it for Thy courts above." The best definition of heaven-mindedness that I can find comes straight from scripture, in Colossians 3:1-2:
If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.
And as we become more heaven-minded, naturally, we will become more like-minded. Heart-sealed. Heaven-minded. Joy-filled. Both in the presence of friends and community (for that is good!) but also in solitude, and always in the presence of Christ, regardless of our comfort level. I pray this for me and for you!