Though I love going to church, lately it has become too hard for me. I tried to keep going and for many months, my Sunday morning went a bit like this…
I wake up and force myself out of bed each Sunday morning feeling no more refreshed than the night before. Then, begin the long morning ritual of making breakfast, eating, getting dressed, etc. Before I’ve even left the door all my spoons are spent and my symptoms increased.
Then comes the drive. Thirty minutes may not seem like a long drive but with the brain fog, sensitivity to light, heat/cold (depending on the season), and pain throughout my body it felt like a lot longer. I arrive late, because my mind couldn’t judge time right that morning and partly to avoid the crowd and talking more people than I have to. This isn’t out of a fear of people or even a dislike. It’s about how hard it is to be social with severe brain fog. And all the energy it takes to stand there. Even a 5 minute or less conversation can be incredibly hard to get through. The exertion leaving me mentally exhausted and with increased symptoms.
I flash a smile at my friends and whisper hello before joining in the morning worship. Trying to hide the effect the “loud” music and lights are having on me. During the sermon I listen hard, fiercely taking notes to keep my brain focused to reference them later in case my brain fog causes me to forget everything I heard.
Another “loud” time of worship. I try to sing along but the lack of energy and shortness of breath makes it hard. Before long my strength gives out and I have to sit down. Trying to not let my mind imagine the people around me having judgmental thoughts about “the healthy young woman who is too lazy to stand.” I try to push away satan’s lies and listen to the music, sometimes singing the words in whisper.
Service is over and now I brace myself for the socializing. By this time all my symptoms are hitting me at full force. I ignore the pain in my face and put on a friendly smile. There’s the usual small talk with friends and again they ask me if I want to do something afterwards with them. I, again, say “no I think I’ll just go home.” Do they think I’m lame or that I don’t want to hangout with them? They don’t understand and can’t see. To them I look just fine; because on the outside, I do.
Brain fog again is making conversation difficult and I know I need to conserve what energy I have left for the drive home. So I say goodbye and quickly make my exit, trying to keep my balance and avoid bumping into anyone. And make my way to the car.
On the drive home I jam out to some Andy Mineo or TRJA. (^-^) The distraction from the pain throughout my body being, at the moment, more important than my sensitivities to sound.
Finally home I find some lunch (having to remind myself repeatedly of what I am doing.) Usually after that I climb upstairs, shut the blinds, change into pjs and find the bed. The ME/CFS/FM crash that follows can last up to days. I know ahead of time to not making any plans in the beginning of the week.
Eventually I faced the truth, I had to stop going. I know why coming together with other believers and worshiping Christ together is good and I hope to start going to church again but for now it’s just too much. I could and give in to feelings of self-pity and guilt. But that would only make things worse. God knows where I’m at in life and He knows why I can’t go to every church activity and contribute like is expected of me.
He has me where I’m at for a reason and I know that, even with these illnesses, with His help I can find ways to serve Him. And even if I don’t see His plan now He does have a perfect plan.
“He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.” Ecclesiastes 3.11
Stay strong, friends! You’re not alone. ♥~ Raindoodlie