You Say, “I Don’t Fit.” This Can Be a Good Thing
How many times when you were a child or teenager and situations arose in your school where you thought, “I don’t fit”. We have all been there one time or another.
Two memories that stand out for me happened in high school. The group that was my tribe was the “smart” kids. We had what were called accelerated classes and I was a part of those throughout my high school years. Now many of these classmates were not close friends, but I certainly identified with them more than any other group.
While in high school I became a born again Christian, which didn’t affect too much my association with the smart crowd, until my senior year. Between the junior and senior years many of these kids discovered alcohol. As a result they now looked forward to getting together on weekends and drinking. Suffice it to say my new found spiritual beliefs conflicted with my tribe and I found myself suddenly on the outside looking in.
Also during this time period I wanted to dress kind of hip. Some of you 60s people might remember: the Nehru jackets, the colorful neck scarves. Well in my school, many people were cowboys and loved jeans and flannel shirts. Needless to say I was looked upon as very different. I even found out from a fellow student that I was subject to a debate in a class about my “different look.” Some thought it was weird; others thought I was courageous to be so different. I just liked that style and wasn’t trying to make any kind of statement. So now I didn’t fit in with the smart kids or the high school in general.
In the Scriptures, Paul the Apostle, was at one point a very committed Pharisaical Jew, and even was anti Christian, until he met Jesus on the Damascus Road (see Acts 9:1-19). Talk about not fitting. First he is loved and supported by the Jews and then they want to kill him for “defecting from the faith.” Then some of his initial meetings with Christians were met with skepticism, because they didn’t trust that his conversion was real. So it took awhile for the believers to even want to meet with him.
Many times we Christians don’t fit in a lot of situations. Certainly we can be outcasts with people who don’t like what our faith represents, whether at work, in school, or our neighborhood.
We can also not fit within certain Christian groups. Once upon a time I spoke out against the charismatic movement, but then became one. We also can feel like we don’t fit when we don’t see eye to eye with other believers on theological, social, or political issues. Essentially one minute we are connected, and the next distancing from one another becomes the norm.
On a certain issue recently my wife and I were saying how we didn’t fit with a lot of our tribe, and felt depressed and thinking something might be wrong with us. But then God did something amazing for us when we read a book from John Eldredge called Get Your Life Back, the subject being soul care.
Literally at the last chapter of the book, we read these words. “Some of the old habits, even the old comforts, just won’t work anymore; some of your old relationships won’t either, nor will certain religious associations. You no longer fit. We can think there’s something wrong with us, when what’s happening is that we are being healed toward heaven, toward Eden. As our soul is restored, it will fit less and less into the madness of this world and this hour, which, sadly, has infected Christianity quite deeply. No judgments, no need to make a scene. But you’re not a moral failure because you don’t fit; you’re being healed. Time to move on.” (Bolding for emphasis).
Now understand, sometimes not fitting is because people can go off the deep end, and their alienation is due to bizarre behavior. What I am talking about here is a sincere desire to do things God’s way and then find you are at odds with other Christians. This is where not fitting, at least according to Eldredge, is a good, dare I say, a God thing.
In John 1:12, the Bible says that Jesus “came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.” Talk about not fitting. The Son of God was not accepted by his creation. OUCH! So if Jesus doesn’t fit in certain situations, then you and I might not either; and guess what, that can be a good thing, a healing thing.
At the beginning of this year our pastor has been preaching a series around opening our eyes. This simply means that we want to see things God’s way. Also, I ask the Lord every year for a theme verse. This year it is Proverbs 1:23. Here is what is says. “Come here and listen to me! I’ll pour out the spirit of wisdom upon you and make you wise.” God is telling me to listen and my pastor is saying open my eyes. Those two exhortations are about as good advice as I can share: Opening my eyes and listening. Yes at times you might not fit with others, but when you want God more than anything, you will always fit with Him. Nothing better than that!