As I sat looking around the room, I felt awkward. I was definitely an outsider. My life looked nothing like the others surrounding me. Sure, I could find some commonalities, but the differences seemed far greater. I guess I could have aspired to be more like “them” but honestly – it wasn’t my goal. I was me and proud to be me. Why should I conform to look like the others? I know it would be easier to just give in. I know that it certainly would make it easier to get along with everyone if we all were alike. But what is the fun in that? I couldn’t put my finger on why I was so uncomfortable. Why was this group making me rethink who I am and where I am headed?
My paranoia hit me this day more than ever. I guess because these people were good people. The problem was that I couldn’t quite see myself in the group. I didn’t fit in. I was an outsider.
That night I pondered why God put us all in that room. What was His purpose? No answer came either from prayer, conversation or a lightning bolt. Nothing. Nada. Zilch.
Romans 8:28 We know that in all things God works for good with those who love him, those whom he has called according to his purpose.
The next morning I was reading the newspaper and saw that one of the cities around where I live was planning a walking/biking trail expansion for $12M. The parks director stated how this would bring businesses, successful people and make the city a true no-car-needed city. Hmmm. I live in what I would say is farm area. It is suburbia. We are not a metropolis. We do not have tall skyscrapers. Businesses dwell among all of us suburbanites, but we are a far cry from a “no-car-needed” area. It is miles to anywhere. We could construct buildings. We could pull businesses away from the big city area (17 miles away). We could try to make ourselves something we so are not, but why? Why are we trying to be something we aren’t? Why are we trying to be something so different? Why can’t we just be who we are? Didn’t God make us unique for a reason?
Bingo – my answered prayer came through the newspaper of all places. God was teaching me a lesson. You see I am about to pen my next book and I have been sitting on the fence with it. I have been putting it off and putting it off some more. I guess because I am forcing myself to be someone I am not. I need to write what I know and not what others want me to say. Most importantly I need to write what God needs me to say.
As I prep for a writers conference this July, I realize I need to get back to why I write. I have always aspired to show God’s love and reveal His message to others. He needs us daily – not just when we NEED Him.
Back to the room full of people. God needs me to see His message is for all – not just those like me, but EVERYONE. I need to find common ground with everyone to show God’s love through my words and actions. I may feel uncomfortable doing this. I may feel like an outsider. I may even feel like running for the door. The fact is I have to say things that make me feel a little awkward. It is not the norm to speak about God and His love for us. It is not normal to explain to people the importance of daily conversation with God. It is not the normal to tell people to slow down and let God do the work. These things will make people squirm.
Most importantly, saying these things make me vulnerable. People may attack back at me. People might push me to the side as a nuisance. All of these things are possible. So, being in the room, feeling like an outsider was important for me to understand.
Psalm 31:23-24 Love the Lord, all his faithful people. The Lord protects the faithful, but punishes the proud as they deserve. Be strong, be courageous, all you that hope in the Lord