Steady isn’t very flashy and exciting. Steady is enduring and stable. It’s the straightaway. No loop-the-loops or corkscrews or stomach-in-your-throat drops. Just forward, and not very fast.

roller coaster

I can be a bit of a thrill junkie. I love the adrenaline rush of being part of something new, something dramatic, something big and important. Having a specific goal ahead of me keeps my mind engaged and my energy up. A seemingly endless monotony of mundane is a huge downer. I think this explains why being pregnant, even when I didn’t feel great, was exciting and fun in a way that being a mom is not. Pregnancy is 9 months with a huge climactic ending. I will never forget driving home from the hospital with one of the kids and thinking “Now what do I have to look forward to?

Motherhood ends with the death of the mom or the child. It’s decades of wrestling with strong wills, messy rooms, dirty clothes, homework, whining, and sibling rivalry. I don’t think a week goes by without me thinking to myself, “Why am I a mother? I’m so not cut out for this!”

But this isn’t a post about parenting. It’s a post about church. My husband and I have been trying to sort out the pros and cons of a couple of different churches. One is brand new, still finding out who and how it will be. I get such a thrill  thinking about it. So many possibilities lie ahead, and the needs it focuses on meeting are great. But it is very much in the building stage — like those first years with an infant in which they grow and learn and mature at light speed. Everyone is needed and the work always outpaces the workers.

The other has longevity and stability. It has stood the test of time, has an established reputation and relationships in the community, and is often called upon to help other churches in crisis. This more mature church has been through crises and grown stronger for the experience. It doesn’t give me the same sense of excitement and urgency, but neither are they myopic and comfortable. Because of the solid foundation, this church has opportunities and ministries established that church plants simply cannot.

While my natural inclination is to go for the thrill of the new and be part of shaping something as it grows, I’m not alone. We have three children, who are in very  important stages in their lives. In addition, Scott and I have poured blood, sweat, and tears into church plants for the past 8 years. While we will never be content to be consumers of church (how awful), he thinks we need to spend some time, this time while the kids transition to adulthood, somewhere strong and stable. Not that any group of people is without challenges. We are all too aware of the many things that can go wrong and the many ways people hurt each other. But some groups are better than others at responding with grace and mercy and seeking restoration and reconciliation. That might be one of the most important characteristics of a church.

Scott has convinced me that we need to put down some roots after our many months of nomadic church. So I’m dipping my toe back into organized church. I’m relaxing my grip on my identity as “just checking it out” and seeking out some real ways to get off the pew (or the seat, rather) and start helping. We’re joining a small group so we can develop some closer friendships. And I am hoping to be a part of the things this church does in the community to help those in need (though the logistics can be difficult with school-age children).

We’re climbing aboard the straightaway, and you know what? For all my hesitation and fears of history repeating itself, I’m getting a little thrill.

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Life: unmasked buttonOn Wednesdays,  I host a link-up for people willing to stop pretending that we have it all together and talk openly about the contradictions inside, the ways we struggle to find joy, and more. This is for the people who find it disingenuous to respond “I’m fine” when they are not. Have you written anything particularly real and open in the last week or so? Link it here!

I am trying something new these last several weeks of 2012. I’m making this link list a blog hop, which means that you can click “Get the code,” copy it, and paste it into your Life:Unmasked post. This will embed the linky in your own post too so your readers can easily find everyone’s posts. Let me know if you like doing it this way, and if it makes it easier to get around to everyone’s posts.

Special note: since next week is Thanksgiving week for the US, I am taking next Wednesday off. I’ll resume this link-up the following week.