In the past I always felt the need to be part of a group. It didn’t always matter which group, but I longed to be included whether it be in school, work, family or with friends. If you can visualize me asking God to take a large shoehorn to try to wedge me into a place that didn’t fit – that’s how I felt most of my life. It’s easy to brush something like this off as an insecurity that a person just needs to get over, accepting themselves for who they are. However, accepting yourself and knowing your identity in Christ are two very different things. Accepting yourself doesn’t lead to growth or change. Finding your identity does. When you know who you are in Christ, you begin to see yourself and your life set apart from a different perspective. You no longer feel as the one left out or left behind, but instead become the one who seeks out others to lift up, call out and brush off in order that they too will shine. Your life is no longer focused on yourself, but on others and what you can do for them.
God’s divine purpose in our lives is directly related to our identity in Him. His identity is based on love, therefore our’s must be too. This is where our growth comes in – when we focus on our identity in Him, not our insecurities and the lack that comes with it; our identity will draw attention to the honorable aspects of our character, while insecurity will always continue to identify our failings.
“But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light. Once you had no identity as a people; now you are God’s people. Once you received no mercy; now you have received God’s mercy.” 1 Peter 2:9-10 NLT
God spends a portion of our lives trying to teach us who we are in Him. It is up to us how long we will circle a mountain until we discover His truth, allowing Him to birth in us a desire to become more Christlike in our identity and less like this world molds us to be. When you open yourself up to listening to the what the Lord speaks over you today; when you read His word and discover the depth of His love and the truth in His promises – your perspective WILL change.
If you find yourself wondering why you don’t fit into a certain group, job or even region, allow God to continue to move in you until you no longer have the desire to be included; but to be the one including others. There is a certain peace and joy that comes from allowing God to place you exactly where you need to be. Even when you don’t fit in or you aren’t included, you no longer feel the need to be “shoehorned” in. You feel the love and acceptance of Christ and your desire becomes to fulfill His will. Your acceptance by others no longer matters because you have the acceptance of Him.
He created you for a specific task that is not limited to a certain people. When you allow Him to work through you, He will then surround you with a group, a crew, a family that not only makes room for you, but has a place reserved just for you. Our Father does this not because of your insecurity, but because of your identity. He knew you long before He formed you in your mother’s womb. He not only had plans for you, He also knew who would seek out the gold in you and allow you to shine.
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart;” Jeremiah 1:5NIV
When it is no longer a requirement in our minds to fit in, He bestows upon us a gift, a gift of like minded Kingdom family with whom we feel like we have belonged with for an eternity. If you long to feel loved, accepted and part of something, but find yourself being left out, left behind or ignored – put down the shoehorn you wish God to use on you. Allow Him to show you who you are in Him. Allow yourself to be recognized by an audience of One. Allow God to birth new growth in you, where wisdom and knowledge in Him leads you to your purpose. Step into His will in great faith. Eventually, you will look around and see you have been placed ever so gently and comfortably into something that not only fits, but allows you to grow.
“I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. For I want you to understand what really matters. May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation—the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ —for this will bring much glory and praise to God.” Philippians 1:9-11 NLT