But far more often I say to myself, "Good riddance"!
I'll never miss getting up in the morning to get dressed and go to church. What a demoralizing process that was! If you can't fit your monkey suit, people call you fat at church. If you're late, people say you don't try hard enough. If you haven't been to church in a while and you're trying to get back into the habit, people ridicule you for staying away so long.
And in my world, church wasn't just on Sundays. Even sinners go to church "on Sundays". But saints of God went to church every night of the week! Prayer service, Missionary Service, Bible Study, Youth Service, Evangelistic Service, Choir Rehearsal, Sunday School, Sunday Morning Service, Sunday evening prayer, and then Sunday Evening Service.
And that's just your reasonable service!
Then you've got tithes and offerings -- 10% of your gross income plus a free will offering.
Building fund pledges . . .
Bake sales, hotplate sales . . .
Sowing seeds to the Man of God . . .
I was so broke!
I was behind in my bills and I was in deep debt. I was borrowing money from my relatives to pay my tithes!
I didn't get out of debt until I stopped paying my tithes!!!
That window of Heaven never opened up for me to pour out great blessings.
So, I had to open my own window . . . to climb out and escape!
Then, there was confessionals to the pastor and the risk of being excommunicated or "dis-fellowshiped" if you crossed the line too many times with breaking church rules and morality.
And the constant emotional beat downs . . . wow!
You'll never be good enough to serve God.
You can never truly please God.
God isn't pleased with us.
We can never do enough for God.
We're not ready for heaven yet.
Geez . . . if I'm not ready for heaven with all this stuff I'm doing . . . how will I ever be?!
Why am I doing all this if I can't get to heaven like this? What is all that "grace" stuff for, anyhow?
This fear is agonizing. Tears steam down your face and you beg God to have mercy on you.
Only God and the preacher know for sure what your status is concerning heaven. And neither of them seem to ever let you know if you're doing things right.
But they can be crystal clear when you're doing things wrong. That's seems to be 99.9% of the time.
I don't miss any of that one little bit.