Read: 1 John 3:1-3
“If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you.”
John 15:19 NASB
I have never been fond of formal dress. Tight and constricting, I usually prefer the freedom of jeans and a pair of cowboy boots. This, however, was a big event and called for something more. As a newly elected official, I would be expected to appear in something that outshone my Sunday best.
After careful consideration, I settled upon a black evening gown and a pair of two-inch heels which, though classy, made me walk a bit like a duck. A few practice “runs” up and down the hallway reduced my waddle a little and I departed the house feeling confident (if not entirely comfortable).
This confidence was bolstered almost instantly upon my arrival at the venue. Having no direct association with most of the participants, I was free to sit anywhere I liked. When I was offered a seat at the same table as the Senate Majority Leader and the Representatives from my district, I jumped at the opportunity… and the honor.
At eighteen, I was still a bit out of place and my awkwardness showed as I adjusted my position, doing my best not to kick the purse I’d tucked beneath my seat. The conversation was casual, a stark contrast to how I felt settled in amongst these august men.
I was reaching for my water glass when someone (I believe it was the Senator) asked me a question. The attention was a surprise and I quickly turned to face him, knocking the glass in the process. I believe I did a poor job of concealing my horror and both the vessel and its icy contents slid across the table and into the Senator’s lap. My face reddened and the Senator let out a good laugh as a young man (the Governor’s son) appeared to clean up the mess. “Don’t worry about it,” he reassured me. “It’s just a bit of water.” Truth be told, I was ill-fitted to the evening’s formal setting. As embarrassing as it was, my awkwardness that night was not unwarranted.
Jesus’ words in the final chapters of John, warn believers of a similar awkwardness. In the world, but not of it, we frequently find ourselves in situations which leave us feeling “out of place”… and this isn’t a bad thing. As followers of Christ, we were meant to stand out, making a difference in the lives of those around us. It may be awkward at times (and may even occasionally leave us a bit red in the face), but we can be guaranteed that God has a special plan for all of us who find ourselves in places where we just don’t quite seem to fit!
Challenge: Do you feel out of place? Don’t worry! God has a plan and a purpose for your life… and it extends far beyond the confines of this world. The next time you find yourself embarrassed because you don’t fit, remind yourself of this purpose and press on. You’ll be glad you did!