*This article was originally published at GraceCentered.com
I think I’ve used the phrase, “I sometimes feel like a square peg in a round hole” to describe my feelings about how I fit in with “typical church people” more times than I care to admit. And it’s true. For the most part, I don’t really feel like the typical church goer. I think I’ve made the generalization that most Christians have been going to church their whole lives. They are good people with spotless pasts, perfectly happy marriages, well behaved children, and squeaky clean lives.
When I compare myself to that, I feel a little less than. And I feel inadequate. And maybe I even feel a little judged.
I think I feel those ways because I don’t fit the mold. I didn’t start going to church until my early 20’s. The ONLY reason I even started to go to church was because my life was pretty much a train wreck (entirely because of my own choices) and I was desperate for some kind of change. I had pretty much exhausted my supply of ideas to fix things and knew that I needed to turn to something bigger than myself to get me out of the pit I had dug.
Salvation wipes our past clean and covers it in the sinless blood of Christ, but sometimes there is still a mess left over from the sin and bad choices. My past was far from spotless and I had a big mess that took a little while to get cleaned up. There were things that I struggled with for a while. Not only that, but new things crept in too. My marriage hasn’t always been perfect and neither have my kids. My life has never been squeaky clean.
Instead, it has been a process. This coming to Christ and letting Him be the Lord of my life, has been a journey. Sometimes I make mistakes. Sometimes I fall. Sometimes I am faced with the frailty of my sinful flesh compared with the power of His holiness, and I am overwhelmed.
But Jesus walks with me. His love, grace, and mercy sustain me. He is the teacher through this process and he guides me along in this journey. He is patient with me. He loves me even though I am a slow learner and he understands my weakness apart from Him.
And do you know what else? He has shown me something so powerful lately that it rocks me to my very core. It makes me rethink my ideas.
I’ve had some wonderful conversations lately with some very dear friends. These friends are ones that I look up to. They are strong Christians. They are leaders and warriors and pillars. They reflect Jesus in a way that I find humbling and beautiful.
And sometimes they feel like a square peg in a round hole.
That makes me wonder about something that I haven’t ever really considered before. You see, I always thought that other Christians made me feel like I didn’t quite fit in. It isn’t always something that they do or say directly, but more just the indirect comparison of the way the story of my life looks versus the way their’s looks.
Maybe that has been very unfair of me. Maybe the reason I feel a little like a square peg in a round hole is because I was looking at the wrong people when I was doing my comparison. I was looking at other people and feeling like I don’t measure up to them. In reality, it is Jesus that I’m trying to be like. He is shaping me into something that looks more like Him. To do that, He has to weed out some things and sand off some rough edges. So that I fit His mold for me. So that I can become what He wants me to become.
And here is the kicker. The reason my amazing friends, who are stellar people, also feel like they don’t fit the mold either, is because we are all going through the same process. We, as a whole, collectively, as brothers and sisters in Christ, don’t fit the mold. We ALL feel like we don’t fit because WE WON’T FIT PERFECTLY into what He has called us to until we get to Heaven. It is going to be a journey and a process until we get there. That’s why it feels so uncomfortable sometimes. That’s why it feels like it doesn’t fit. It is the battle of the flesh to become more Christ like that makes me feel that way.
And just maybe I should quit looking at how I compare to others, and begin looking at how I compare to Jesus. And just maybe when I do that, I will realize those Christians, who felt so distantly perfect, have way more in common with me than I realized. We are on that same journey and going through that same process.
We are all trying to become just a little bit more like Jesus and we all feel the growing pains.
Love and blessings!