I realize this is not the season to be asking the following question. But do you recall the most famous reindeer of all? You know—the one who didn’t quite fit in with the status-quo? Does your heart ache like mine when Rudolph’s own parents hide him away—ashamed, embarrassed? Does it pang something deep within you when you see his public humiliation? Do you feel his pain when he and his small band of misfit friends eventually find themselves on the Island of Misfit Toys—all longing to belong somewhere with someone who understands them and loves them scars and all? Perhaps some of you can identify with these misfits more than you’re willing to admit.
I remember, like yesterday, that misfit feeling. In fact, I could take you to the exact spot on the schoolyard tarmac where, for the first time in my life, I felt rejected—like I didn’t belong. I can picture the faces and rhyme off the names of the so-called friends of mine who gathered in a tight-knit circle in the middle of the playground—excluding me from their reindeer games. No doubt you have your own sad tales of misfit stories to tell.
Although the writer of Hebrews tells us we’re all foreigners and strangers on this earth (Hebrews 11:13). While Jesus Himself said that He was not of this world and neither is anyone who would follow after Him (John 17:16). And as much as we know that ultimately those who love Jesus belong to Him will never quite fit in here, it doesn’t disqualify any of us from the need to belong somewhere, somehow, to someone.
I’ve most recently discovered a place where I belong. I found it through a weekly ladies Bible study group in association with Bible Study Fellowship. And what a group it is! Next to my time alone with the Lord exploring His Word through scripturally-guided, thought-provoking, and soul-searching questions, my favourite part of this particular Bible study is the time we spend in our small group discussion. There’s never a dull moment as we draw our Sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:17) and God’s Word sharpens our spiritual axes. “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword”, (Hebrews 4:12).
Not only does God’s Word sharpen our spiritual senses, so too does the fellowship we experience: “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17). Week by week, I can hardly wait for us to share the many ways the Lord has shown up in each of our lives; things He’s taught us, ways He’s tested us, questions He’s challenged us with, how He’s used us, discoveries He’s uncovered within us, circumstances He’s bestowed upon us, truths He’s entrusted to us. My soul is ignited, my mind is challenged and my heart is stimulated as God breathes His life into our midst.
Tears, laughter, heartaches, joys, struggles, challenges, victories, confessions, words of encouragement and more are all contributing factors to the bond that has grown between us. In the afterglow of our time together God often gives me the privilege of a more intimate peek into some of the hearts of these women through one-on-one conversation. I leave each week feeling spiritually charged, personally encouraged, socially refreshed, mentally fortified, emotionally exhilarated—spurred on to love and good deeds (Hebrews 10:24).
Phew! That’s a lot of good stuff taking place in a two hour period!
The thing is, void of their nametags, I have no clue really who any of these women are! Although we meet in the church where my pastor-husband and I serve, none of them attend our church. In fact, I couldn’t tell you what church they attend. While some basic information leaks out from time to time, we really don’t know each other at all!
We’re all a bunch of misfits! If the Apostle Peter were here, he’d describe us as a peculiar people (1 Peter 2:9), and yet somehow I belong with them. Women, like me, on a spiritual journey. Women hungry for truth in their innermost being (Psalm 51:6). Women who are sincerely excited about what God’s doing in their lives. Women with whom there is a mutual affection, a common understanding and passionate love for God’s Word and how it applies to our lives (Romans 12:10). Like-minded women after God’s own heart (Philippians 2:2; 1 Samuel 13:14; Acts 13:22). This is the environment in which I thrive! It’s not a Bible study I attend. It’s a place I belong!
How about you? Where do you belong? What does belonging look like to you? What kind of environment do you thrive in? What gets your spiritual battery charged? What kinds of people encourage you in your walk with the Lord and sharpen your spiritual senses?
Why don’t you take some time today and:
“…consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:24-25)
Lisa Elliott is an inspirational speaker and award-winning author of The Ben Ripple and Dancing in the Rain. Additionally, she has written articles for Just Between Us Magazine and devotionals for theStory. She and her pastor-husband, David, have four children (3 on earth, 1 in heaven) and serve the Lord together in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
To book Lisa for a weekend retreat or day conference contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org