Flying Solo: Skipping Church

Church attendance had been a huge non-negotiable in my life for 38 years, but during my two years alone, I let it go.


I liken my Christianity to hoarding. Every nook and cranny of my heart was stuffed with a Bible verse, some spiritual “truth,” or some legalistic practice that both motivated me and weighed me down. Staying away from church was a major step in freeing myself of spiritual clutter. So here’s what compelled me and in no particular order:

  1. I didn’t want anyone telling me what to believe. As I built my relationship between me and God alone, another person’s ideas felt like an intrusion.
  2. I didn’t want to tell others what to believe. I have served as an elder’s wife, a small group host, and a Bible study leader throughout my adult life. But I lost my desire to teach and rarely blogged during this period because I was dismantling structures it had taken me 38 years to build. My ideas about family and marriage in particular needed evaluation. So I was preoccupied – and frankly disillusioned – by my spiritual possessions. I didn’t even know what to believe myself, let alone teach to others.
  3. I needed to be released from fear. Throughout the first 14 years of my life as a mother, we attended church three times a week, including Sunday night. During this season of legalism, Hebrews 10.25 – forsake not the assembling of yourselves – was weaponized to compel us to attend church even when we really didn’t want to. Failing to attend was viewed as sinful and a reason for God to punish us. No matter the weather; no matter that I homeschooled and was dog tired on the weekends, we dragged ourselves and seven kids to church with the diaper bag full of crayons and quiet toys. At one point, we were driving 75 minutes one way to get to church. By staying home from church for two years, I have been released from the fear that God will smite me for not gathering to worship with others.
  4. I needed the physical and mental rest. I have always believed strongly in the power of a Sabbath day: a day of service to the Lord and a day to recover from the workweek. Having never really lived this out as I wanted, I enjoyed being in my pajamas on Sunday morning. My day job in service to the poor was my ministry. My time at home on Sunday was my Sabbath. I treasured it.
  5. I spent time with Christian women when it worked for me. This included a small group of us who ate out and encouraged each other informally. It wasn’t a Bible study. It was Christian friends gathering for wine. I also met others along the way, Christian women who cussed. Christian women who taught me that my concept of submission in marriage was harmful to me. I needed this counsel, a place to be honest without fear of judgment.
  6. Facebook fed me: Thanks to the way algorithms work, I had a steady stream of encouraging memes to nourish me, truths that set me free in the same way Bible truths can. I share some of those at the end of this post.
  7. I continued to journal in conversation with God: July 12, 2021: Lord, where will I be if I stop leaning on you as I have? The vision, strength and wisdom? This means reacquaint myself and savoring who you are to me individually.”

The pandemic taught all of us that “the church” is not a building or a physical gathering. I’m certainly not the only person who discovered new ways to connect with God over the past two years. Learning to worship with Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; with nature; with friends over wine… this too is being in the presence of God.

2 thoughts on “Flying Solo: Skipping Church

Add yours

  1. Mary –

    I’m enjoying these new entries like a sweet treat… Our journeys over the past two years are not completely different. They might appear so, but what God is doing in our hearts is very similar. I am learning to rest in the beauty that God is my #1, and truly ONLY , authority, and that means I no longer look (to my family or even friends) the way I used to.

    I am truly cheering you on…



    1. Hi Andrea! I saw you on TV a few months back. Thanks for your encouragement. Yes it sounds like we have very similar journeys and we are blessed to be able to grow and change. Peace to you!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: