A few months ago I started swimming at the YMCA because I was out of shape. A few weeks later, I stopped swimming at the YMCA. For the same reason.
As I churned my way from one side of the pool to the other, I was keenly aware of the other swimmers. As I reached the edge of the pool, I would latch onto the side, fighting to catch my breath. They reached the edge, performed picture-perfect flip turns and continued their swim. Lap after lap. My workouts were painful to perform and even more painful to watch. The others seemed to glide through the water with no effort, their trained bodies moving gracefully from one end to the other. In other words, I was embarrassed. To be honest, none of them cared what I was doing. But I was shamed into retreating to the safety of the treadmills and recumbent bicycles. "Once I get into shape," I told myself, "I'll return to the pool."
Many of us feel like that when we go to church or when we think about going to church. Everyone else seems to be so perfect while we're painfully aware of our inadequacies. Some don't even want to think about God for the same reason. We want to somehow get our lives together, and then we'll go to Him. If you've felt that way, you need to realize that church is a place where people go to straighten out their lives. At the time of Jesus, many said, "Become worthy, then come to God." Jesus' message was just the opposite: "Come to God, and He will make you worthy." God is in the business of fixing broken lives. Jesus said, "I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners." He's looking for the people that need help spiritually, not the people whose lives are already perfect.
If you don't feel "good enough" to swim in God's pool, let me invite you to get back in the water. God wants to help me get into shape spiritually, and He wants to do the same for you. He’s looking for people just like us. If you'd like to know more about how He does that, please write me at firstname.lastname@example.org.