The voice comes out of nowhere, stealth belying it’s powerful cruelty. “You don’t fit here!”
At first, I’m confused, then incredulous that I should feel this way now, here in the midst of my own people. But I still listen and believe and four little words derail an entire week.
As a missionary woman, I’m prepared to feel different when I arrive to a new country and culture. It’s just stating the obvious to say I don’t completely fit here (yet). As much as I work to become all things and strive to adapt to my new home, I know it just takes time. So, I wouldn’t be injured if that’s what the voice was referring to.
But it’s not. No, it’s condemning me now, while I’m spending a week at our mission base, surrounded by my own countrymen. I’m caught completely off guard by the echoes of “You don’t belong”. I never expected to hear them here.
(Lest one of my dear coworkers read this and wonder if something was done to make me feel this way, let me just state very clearly that no one did anything unkind or said anything thoughtless or was anything but gracious to me.)
I let four words reverberate in my mind, pierce my soul. With surprising speed they multiply, accusing me with increasing disdain.
“You’re spoiled! You have a dryer. Everyone else uses a clothesline.”
“You’re frivolous! You love to shop and wear high heels and dangly earrings.”
“You’re selfish! You don’t enjoy your children as much as she does.”
“You’re soft! You can’t endure a few hours of heat for the chance to visit with friends.”
“You’re shallow! You spend too much time thinking about how to make your house beautiful.”
My soul is painfully crippled and I am exhausted from repeatedly telling myself that these things are not true, when all the while I fear that they really are.
“Oh child, you BELONG. I chose you. It brought me great pleasure to bring you to myself through Christ. You are my masterpiece! You fit in me.
I carefully chose you, with your unique interests and gifts, to be a part of my body. I put you where I want you, high heels and all. It pleases me to see you doing the special work you were created to do. You fit in my body, child.
And you are neither spoiled, frivolous, selfish, soft or shallow. I never think that when I think of you. My voice rises above all others to declare you Holy, Blameless, Complete, Accepted and Loved. Will you listen to me? Will you believe me, child?”
“Yes, Lord!,” I cry. “I believe! Help my unbelief!” The condemning voices fade and I’m free.
**As painful as it is to admit that I wasted so much joy last week, I know that there is nothing new under the sun. I hope that sharing my experience will encourage someone else who is wading their way through a murky mess of lies. There is never joy in comparing ourselves amongst ourselves, because we are such ignorant judges. The only One that can declare the truth about us sit on high and has already made it abundantly clear. We fit.**