A few Sundays ago, a friend and I decided not to attend our Sunday church service due to lack of sleep and enormous amounts of homework. As I sat at my friend’s dining room table while she continued to sleep, it was very quiet. My friend’s parents were at church, and the only noise I heard was the dog whining once in a while, persuading me to let him out. Although I was not at a physical church, I felt the peaceful presence of God.

Sometimes it is OK not to go to a church service.

You may be asking yourself, “What? Is this girl seriously encouraging ENC students to not go to church?”

But no, I’m not saying that. I am saying that sometimes when we go to a physical church service, we do not fill up with the peace God graciously intends for us to feel on Sundays. Instead, sometimes we are distracted by our neighbor sitting two seats away from us. Sometimes we are filled with pain, or guilt, or we feel eyes on us, judging our attire because we aren’t wearing fancy clothes.

Well, I can admit that as I sit here and write, I am wearing sweatpants and a sweatshirt, and I feel God’s love freely wrapping around me.

In today’s society, I notice a lot of people attend church because they feel pressured to attend. They fear that if they miss church, people will look down on them—or even worse, that God will look down on them and shun them.

But 1 Peter 2:5 reminds us of what “the church” really is.

“You yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”

According to Scripture, the Church lives in us. We often forget that we, as people, are the Church.

Ephesians 1:22-23 reassures us that the Church lives in Christ, and since Christ lives in us, we have become the Church through Him.

“And [God] put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.”

If there were no people in a church building on Sundays, the building would just remain a building. But when Christ-filled people enter it, only then is it a true church.

So back to where I began: Meeting God does not always have to happen in a church. Honestly, the best times with God often take place outside of that building. I love attending services on Sunday mornings, but the rare moments that I get to sit in a place where it is quiet and full of peace and meet with God is what I think church should be.

Maybe ask God if you should take a Sunday morning away from your normal church service and instead sit quietly with Him to learn through His indescribable love.