Last weekend, I went to hear Beth Moore speak in person for my first time. Her teaching spanned a Friday night, and two morning sessions on Saturday. Often writing as fast as I could, I took 11 pages of notes in my big spiral bound notebook. (Why I brought a notebook and not a laptop is a question I'm still asking myself; I get so frustrated these days writing with a pen when I can type so much faster!)
I sat there thinking, I could write twenty blog posts on all this goodness...where will I even start in sharing how powerful this weekend is?
Now that a few days have gone by, I know where to start. One truth keeps popping up in my mind. Among the hundred points Beth made, this one felt very relatable:
"Our lives feel like a squirming concoction of misfit parts."
She said that. She elaborated then, explaining that no matter who we are, or who we are with, we usually feel like we don't quite fit in. We feel like the odd one. We feel unhappy. Uncomfortable. We search and strain for more happiness and more comfort and more acceptance. But we never seem to achieve perfect equilibrium.
Let's take it down to me, personally.
My heart is always conflicted. I am a beautiful combination of strengths and weaknesses, flaws and gifts. I know I have God-given potential, but I'm held back by my brokenness. I want to serve God. I want to love others. But no matter how perfect I want to be, I never am. I make mistakes every single day. Sometimes I'm so keenly aware how far away from perfect I am that I feel defeated and exhausted.
Beth pointed out that humanity's very creation was conflicted: we are a handful of dust mixed with a handful of holy.
When I think of my social circles, I too can relate to what she said; I usually don't feel like I fit in, no matter the group. I'm the serious one who isn't that fun. Or the spiritual one to whom they can't relate. Or the older one. Or the one who doesn't like sushi. Or the conservative one. The one who can't afford it. The one with kids. The one who doesn't go to PTA meetings.
Lots of times, I don't even really "fit" with my husband. I could come up with lots of ways we don't work well together. I'm sure all of us could make a list of those things about our marriages. There are reasons I feel like I don't fit in my church's women's ministry. And my group of friends. And my extended family.
On the surface, you'd never know. You'd think I fit in just perfectly. But on the inside, where no one can see, I am a perpetual black sheep.
And what Beth said next sort of floored me. Despite our constant efforts to find a comfortable spot in this world, Jesus will NEVER let us fully find it. He will not solve all our squirminess. He will not make our marriages perfectly happy. He will not heal all our relationships and allow us to feel perfectly accepted.
Because we don't belong here. We were never meant to. And so in some ways, He will let us squirm.
Jesus wants me to know deep down that my home, my comfort, my soul's longing to fit somewhere will never be satisfied on this earth. He wants me to long for heaven.
And oh, how I do.
As negative as this whole post is sounding, isn't it sort of freeing? Like I can stop working so hard at smoothing out all the wrinkles in my life. I can accept some of the squirming as not only normal, but tolerable. And ordained, for my own good. A reminder of where I need to keep my eyes focused.
Dear brothers and sisters, pattern your lives after mine, and learn from those who follow our example. For I have told you often before, and I say it again with tears in my eyes, that there are many whose conduct shows they are really enemies of the cross of Christ. They are headed for destruction. Their god is their appetite, they brag about shameful things, and they think only about this life here on earth. But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior. He will take our weak mortal bodies and change them into glorious bodies like his own, using the same power with which he will bring everything under his control.
Friends, it is at best an illusion and at worst deception straight from hell that you can find or achieve lasting happiness here on earth. We can have joy, certainly, knowing that our hope is independent of our circumstances. But happiness is fleeting, and our lives will always feel like a squirming concoction of misfit parts.
Can you find some rest in that truth? Can you too let go of some of the striving in your life to make all the pieces fit together?
I hope so. Praying we all can find some rest in knowing this is not our home, be a little more content with the squirming and the conflict, and know the Lord is our Shepherd, even though this flock is full of black sheep.