Hello. My name is Casey and I am a worship stalker.
Worship stalking is a nasty habit that rears its creepy head whenever I'm feeling a bit average. My radar automatically searches and locates a fellow worshipper who is at the upper end of the enthusiasm spectrum. Preferably they will be singing very loudly and very out-of-tune. Once the target is located I subconsciously feed off their positive energy.
I wish I had some way of justifying it to make me a little less weird but let's be honest, it doesn't sound great.
Not-So-Merry Go Round
This year I've had a bit of a love-hate relationship with church. It's one of those annoying cycles that you are fully aware of, but can't help getting sucked into.
It started with disillusionment, with just a touch of anger. I found myself fed up with plastering on a smile, while inwardly fuming that my life wasn't what I'd signed up for. The weight of my disappointments and frustrations built up to the point where I was just exhausted. I shunned all forms of responsibility and anything that required me to be in a specific place at a specific time, while ironically complaining that I don't feel responsible enough to be 25.
Then church began to feel a bit claustrophobic. All the overlapping relationships, the connections formed and broken. The high-school-esque dynamic of a concentrated community. The weekly reminder of what could have been, painfully aware of whenever that person was in the room.
Then—worst of all—I remembered what it was like to have Sunday nights free. To bid adieu to the weekend with a glass of wine and a chick flick, to defiantly stave off pre-Mondayitis with fries and friends. On the nights where I couldn't find it in me to face anyone, I relished in the luxury of staying home, crawling into bed and wishing the world away.
And that's when I ran away from Church
I have found that it is a lot easier to break the habit of years of church-going than it is to drag yourself back again. Church shopping didn't offer much motivation, my attempts to find a new church and start fresh mostly resulted in me not feeling cool enough (perhaps I was aiming too high). I never really found anywhere that stuck.
So I had a choice: throw in the towel, or put on your big girl undies and go back to the only church that you've ever called 'home.'
While I wouldn't say I've pulled my big girl undies all the way up yet, I have been tentatively showing my face again. It has lead me to ponder on why I go to church, when clearly I can readily find a lot of reasons to talk myself out of it.
The answer: worship stalking.
Because I don't deliberately worship stalk just for funsies. I do it because there is something so heartbreakingly genuine about someone singing their heart out, with no regard for tone, key or eardrums.
It's because on the days when I would rather tell God where He can stick His worship, I find strength in the joy of those around me. When I don't want to be at church, I find encouragement in the people who do. And when I don't feel like God exists at all, I am uplifted by the faith of others.
It gives me hope.
So even though I can talk myself out of church so easily, I know I will keep going back. There are so many reasons why church is important, but for me the main reason is the people. It may not always be happy families, but hope can be hard to find. Sometimes you just need a little help to remind you it's there.
First published June 12, 2014
Casey Murray works in marketing for a company that sells nail guns, where she eats large amounts of chocolate and wears pretty dresses in an attempt to avoid becoming 'one of the boys.' In her spare time she likes having inappropriate conversations with friends and writes to try and make sense of it all.
Casey Murray's previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/casey-murray.html