My Island of Misfit Toys, Part II

Okay, so been thinking more about the misfit thing.  Then I remembered that Paul felt that way too.  Remember Paul?  He was a noted theologian of his day and righteously protecting the faith when all of a sudden, WHAM!  He encountered Jesus on the road to Damascus and was blinded by the LIGHT!

After that he had to go and wait three days, to meet a man who would restore his sight. (This is Acts 9).  Can you imagine poor Ananias?  God calls him to go to Damascus and meet with Paul (then called Saul) who was known to murder followers of Jesus.  Yikes!  Talk about faithful obedience.  Ananias went, and Paul received his sight, and chose to follow Jesus. He went to join the other believers in Christ.

He had a little problem though.  His reputation preceded him everywhere he went!  Leaders amongst believers in Christ were hesitant to embrace him. He no longer fit with the Pharisees and other religious leaders of the day.  He was truly a misfit!  God obviously made a good choice though in this strong willed man who was grounded in Scripture and had converted to becoming a follower of Jesus.  He persevered, was eventually accepted and embraced by the budding young Christian church and went on to become one of the most powerful forces in spreading the gospel.

Peter writes about us being as sojourners and aliens (some versions say exiles) in a foreign land.  (1 Peter 2:11)  Hmmmm.  Another translation might be misfit!  When Christ calls us out of darkness in to His glorious light, we are adopted into His family.  We learn a new way of living and thinking and obedience to Him doesn’t always make sense to the outside world. Our new home is heaven.  We’ve just got a job to do before we reach our final destination.  Scripture if full of misfits.

Jesus himself did not have a home the three years he wandered Israel teaching and leading and healing. . . He too was a misfit. Scripture says in Isaiah that there was nothing in him to draw us to him. He wasn’t the handsome surfer dude we sometimes see depicted.

So, do you feel like a misfit, sometimes?  If so, then you and I are not alone, but instead fall into some mighty impressive company!  I’m so glad that God doesn’t make cookie-cutter Christians.  We don’t have to look alike or wear the same clothing or even serve with the same gifts. God’s glory is magnified through the unity expressed in diversity within the body of Christ, His bride, the church.

I need to remember this when the world tells me I need to be a certain size, or that my children need to be raised in a perfect manner and that my home should be decorated, just so.  My kids are not going to grow up perfect. NO matter how hard I try, that is not possible, so I can relax and trust that as I obey God, HE will do HIS perfect work in and through me and my children for HIS glory. My home could be gone in the short span of one fire – it’s all just “stuff.”  And my body size – I’m glad God knew I would be the way I am right now today and loves me just the same!  We may all be misfits in some way, shape or form, but maybe that’s exactly what will set us apart for God’s glory to shine to the world.

The world doesn’t take kindly to those who march to the beat of the Holy Spirit’s leading. Paul was  crucified upside down.  Will you be brave enough to follow?  Ananias was.  Because of that one choice to obey – the Good News of Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection spread throughout the world.  A ripple effect that continues in and through us today.  Wow.  Maybe it’s not such a bad thing to be a misfit after all?

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My Island of Misfit Toys

My life has changed significantly since September. My kids are all in school full time.  My marriage is a barely manageable co-existence.  I carry my volunteer “office” in my car.   Visits with my family of origin feel like traveling to a foreign country where I don’t know the language (so I conveniently lose my passport and don’t visit if I can avoid it).

I struggled with my identity when I left a paying full time job to come home to be with my kids. I had wanted that, but in addition to that change, my husband insisted on a move. Away from my support system and all my friends.  Back to enemy territory, the same town as my family who really doesn’t like me. It was really hard to re-connect s in this community.  It only took a year to find opportunity to really serve using my gifts – friendships took longer.  Two young children, isolation in the country, fragile income source from my self-employed spouse and keeping an eye on my unbeknownst-to-us-at-the- time, Alzhiemer’s afflicted mother-in-law.  Whew!

That was eight years ago. Grandma is in a nursing home. We added a daughter to the mix.  My health tanked on me.  And marriage went from passable to worse.  We struggled with a special needs kid and eventually gave up home-schooling.

But now life has changed again in a different direction.  It was something I had looked forward to but am finding a hidden threat in it.  I feel adrift.  I have plenty to do with ministry and writing.  Homework challenges and dinner and keeping the dishes and clothes clean.  However, we could seriously use an income as my spouse has added financial abuse to his list of control mechanisms.

But there are no jobs out there in my field.  Writing is happening, but no agent yet, much less the coveted contract for a book.  I avoid being home to avoid being around my spouse.  So I literally am “adrift”.  Even at home I have really no spot to myself (with the exception of my computer which is why I’m on facebook so much!).  I feel rootless.  I have to set my own agenda and I do get things done but don’t feel as productive as I would with my own “space”.  We are supposed to be moving but I’m not sure where or when (I’ve been in a holding pattern on this for YEARS!)  Does this make sense?  I feel like a misfit in every aspect of my life.  My marriage, even my family of origin, ministry (although there is a gift and passion fit), my writing “career”.

This brought to mind the story of Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer and the “Island of Misfit Toys.”  We all want to fit in don’t we? (No, I’m not trying to anticipate Christmas here!)

I read on a website somewhere that misfits are the leaders of the world.  Maybe that’s so, because we are not following the prescribed paths.  But know this – it’s not because I don’t want to. I would love a spouse who adores and supports me and provides for me and my kids. I would love to come home to a house that I loved – and create a space there to work and live and entertain friends.  I would love an income from a job (or financial support from my spouse would suffice).  I really wouldn’t mind my family appreciating and applauding my choices in life.  *sigh*

I’m not trying to have a pity party here. I’m simply struggling to come to grips with a new reality for my life.  I crave security and stability and my life is anything but that.  The emotional dissonance of what I want and what I have is creating some friction inside. An unsettledness. It’s new. It’s not fun.  And I’m not really sure what to do about it but keep on with the tasks God has given me and hope He knows the answer and will reveal it in His perfect time. I’m seeking to find my stability and security in Him. . . but it can feel so intangible. In spite of that, I’ll keep pressing on in pursuing Him.

Are there any areas of your life where you feel like you don’t quite “fit” the mold?