Most of my life I have felt like I have not quite fit with those around me. No, not the “square peg, round hole” kind of way, but more like the person who is on the edge of a group and when a photo is taken, part of their body didn’t make it in the picture. I am part of something, but not wholly included or accepted.
This is not a pity statement. It’s a reality. There are hundreds of examples I could probably share, just one example is when I am with people in a gathering where we all have a common connection- work, church, family, even decades of history. Suddenly, I feel as though someone has just taken my shoulders and pulled me away. I am now watching the gathering, but not fully engaged with the members.
Oh the embarrassing lengths I would go to in order to force the connection with those around me. Drinking, swearing, promiscuity, making fun of someone else, even siding with a political view that I didn’t personally agree with, all to try to be a part, be included.
It is now, as I am close to fifty years old, that I see this outer ring as a blessing.
As a newborn believer I struggled with understanding certain verses which are commonly quoted in our faith. The biggest one for me was Romans 12:1-2;
Therefore, I urge you brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God– this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve of God’s will, His good, pleasing and perfect will.
I remember reading this and thinking, what the heck does that mean?! After years of studying Scripture I am able to see the simple instruction Paul was giving. As believers we are not meant to fit in with everyone else. We are meant to be separated from them. Not with a line of demarcation, but because our hearts, souls, and minds are to belong to Christ. If we say we are His with our words, then our actions are to follow suit.
Scripture says we have been “set apart.” For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepares in advance for us to do (Ephesians 2:10). If we are going to tell others that there is a different way to live, then we need to be an example for them. Which takes me back to my outer ring.
As a child I did not fit in with others. I had copper red hair, a very Germanic name when all the other girls seemed to be called Kim, Becky, or Sue. I wasn’t into fashion, which star was dating whom, I couldn’t care. I wanted to be outside riding my bike, climbing trees, playing baseball, making forts. I was different.
When I accepted Christ as age twenty, I didn’t know how much it would change my life. I figured it would make me a good person and I would go to church more often. This was true. Only now, I am able to see the ways God was preparing me. A believer is going to always be on the edge of the photo. We are not citizens of this world, we are citizens of the next one.
But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body, (Philippians 3:20-21).
Best Beloved, if we who are in Christ, are supposed to be different because of the difference Christ has made within us, then we will always be a little bit on the edge of the photo.
We have the cure for what separates us from our Heavenly Father. The salvation found in Christ alone. If that isn’t cause to celebrate, then what is? So let’s dance, Dear Ones, on the outer rings and invite others to join us.