I did a quick reflection with a couple of my kids this week. I asked them how they handle the school lunchroom.
“When you enter the room, do you look for a spot where you will fit in?”
I was surprised and amazed that the confidence my two middle children exhibited. One told me “Mom, I sit down and people come to me.” The other one said “I look for a place to fit if I want to avoid people. Otherwise I sit down and they come to me.”
I’m not sure how these two came out of my body. You see, my entire life, I have looked for a place to fit. I’ve tried to find the missing hole in an organization and fill it, or look for a group of people who won’t reject me to sit with. Until recently, I really haven’t been comfortable in my own skin.
A quick look at scripture gives us an interesting insight into ‘place’. Perhaps you will find yourself in this lineup:
Jacob: “Surely the LORD is in this place, and I was not aware of it.” (Gen. 28:16) – have you ever felt like you your mistakes have isolated you? You feel alone, and every detail of life seems to be perfectly situated to punish you. Then, as you are waking up on your rock pillow, you realize that God is right there with you. It changes everything. When you discover God in the midst of your pain, you find that He is teaching you new things, preparing you for new challenges, and making every day count.
Moses ran from his place of position and tried to lose himself in the monotony of life. He didn’t feel stuck. He had long forgotten any future and was content to be alone for much of the time (or so I understand the life of a sheep farmer in the desert). Then God showed up: “Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground” (Exodus 3:4-6). God knows where you are, and He has a future for you. When He shows up, it might look like danger on the horizon (like a fire in brush land) – but then you will discover that what looked frightening is really His opportunity, and you will be refocused and catapulted to your new adventure.
David found that God was the one to bring him to his place. He asked King Saul to assign him a place, he moved from place to place while in exile, and in 2 Samuel 22:20, he declared: “He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.” A place to be and do what God had called him to.
The psalmist tells us that God set the stars in place. Now that we know a bit more about astronomy, it is quite clear that God takes all sorts of objects and gives them a place and function in the universe.
So here is my take away from this week: God has a place for you. Don’t seek it, seek Him. He will find you and bring you to that place of belonging and purpose. Your giftings might be diverse, but God will make them fit just right with others to build His purposes and mission.