Several days ago, I had an interesting conversation with a wonderful, young, preteen lady. Towards the end of the discussion, she mentioned that her current issue was “fitting in.” I told her that I really understand that struggle; it was one of mine for a long, long time. We talked about some of the things I have learned along the way.
After we hung up that morning, this topic continued to “percolate,” so I share my thoughts with you.
I don’t think I ever really felt like I fit in. The most recent occasions were when I’d go to some social function with people from work. Now don’t get me wrong, I worked with some terrific people, but our lives were not always headed in the same direction, nor were our outlooks on life always in agreement.
Another time I was sure I was a fish-out-of-water was the first time I went to a leadership planning meeting. A lot of the discussion centered around the business of insurance. I was in IT and didn’t quite know what I was to contribute. At that time, leadership was scary enough for me, but others assured me I was there for a reason.
Sometimes it is good to not fit in. When you have chosen to follow Jesus, you know your destination and direction, even if you don’t know the details. (Let’s face it, we rarely know the details!) If your friends aren’t going that way – or even completely opposite to that way – not following along is the good and right thing to do.
One of my biggest struggles was belief that I didn’t belong. At first, I thought that not fitting in and not belonging were the same, but they really aren’t.
Previously, I have shared that I believed that I was a mistake. When I was younger, my dad introduced me – trying to be funny – as “Mistake #1.” (I’m the oldest child of 12. Wow!) At the time, I just laughed with everyone else, but in the back of my mind, I believed it.
Father God assured me, several times, that I am not a mistake.
- He knit me together in my mother’s womb and He says I’m wonderful.
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful; I know that full well. (Psalm 139:13-14)
- He has a purpose for me.
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:10)
- He chose me.
For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. (Ephesians 1:4)
I’d like to say that all my fears of not belonging ended with God’s reassurance of His love for me – even before I had or even could do anything, but I still had nagging thoughts that would rob me of my peace and confidence. I know now the source of those thoughts – the accuser of the brethren, Satan.
In every new situation I’d wonder if I belonged. Then one day I heard Father God tell me, “You belong anywhere I send you.” Wow! So anywhere, anytime, as I follow His lead, I’m where I belong!
There is so much to that. I was born in America – planned by Papa God – so I belong here. I was born into this time – planned by Papa God – so I belong here. He knew what this time would be like, what the challenges would be. He knew about the chaos and fear the enemy is using to control. I belong here, now, in this time. He has things for me to do, people for me to touch, places for me to go, lessons for me to learn. I am His. I am loved. I can rest in where He’s put me.
So, I may not be of the world … I may not fit in … but I belong. And so do you.