If you say you’ve never thought that you absolutely did not fit in in this world, then you are lying. I think everyone has had times (or, if you’re like me, it’s constant) where you just think that you don’t fit in anywhere. That you’re like a square peg in a round hole.
Well, good news.
As a follower of Christ, I am here to tell you the fortunate or unfortunate news: that you will never ever fit in.
It’s a hard pill to swallow, and one that I have not quite been able to get down yet.
The past year or so for me has been the most intense season of growing, learning, and hurting for me. I just started my sophomore year of college, and coming back has made me extremely aware of some things. I’ve started realizing things that were there last year but I ignored or made excuses for.
My freshman year of college was extremely difficult for me spiritually, emotionally, relationally. I was thrown into a culture that was actually quite a bit different than one that I was used to, forced to navigate it on my own. However, I took the wheel instead of handing it over to the Lord at first. I was going to create my own story, my own life. I was independent and in college and in a sorority and in the south and making more friends than I could keep up with. My ship started sinking, however, when I realized I wasn’t completely me. I realized I wasn’t doing the kinds of things I had lived my whole life loving to do. I wasn’t spending my time in a way that I knew, deep down, was what would be good for my soul. I was sacrificing things that were dear to my soul to conform to this new way of life that I had been so excited to become a part of. When I was able to finally surface a bit above the waves and catch my breath and find my way back to myself, this resulted in the deepest hurt and confusion. I had finally come back to my heart, to the Lord’s heart, after wandering for a period of time. However when I came back to this, I felt the deepest loneliness I had ever felt. Why was it that when I had prioritized and prayed and pursued my passions that I felt I did not fit in the most? It was this paradox of feeling lost when I conformed, but feeling alone when I came back to anchor. I felt so unfit for the world I was living in. I had amazing friends and an amazing life where I was, but there was always something that I couldn’t put my finger on that kept me from sliding right into comfort and the way things were.
And what I am learning is this. God has never promised happiness. Or admiration. Or comfort. He has promised that this place is not our home and that we live looking towards a greater Kingdom. 1 Peter 2:11-12 says “Friends, this world is not your home, so don’t make yourselves cozy in it. Don’t indulge your ego at the expense of your soul. Live an exemplary life among the natives so that your actions will refute their prejudices. Then they’ll be won over to God’s side and be there to join in the celebration when he arrives” (MSG). Don’t indulge your ego at the expense of your soul. Wow. That is one of the most convicting things I have ever read, especially at this point in my life.
Coming back to school has brought about peace and rest and re-evaluation and and a comfort knowing that it’s ok to feel out of place. I’ve had wonderful conversations with sweet friends about this, one of my friends even saying that she knows she will always be a square peg trying to fit in a round hole. She’s where I got the title for this post. And I think someone saying “me too” is the most comforting thing to hear when we are trying to walk out upon the waves.
So this is for you, sweet friend. And this is for you, you who feel alone and lost and confused while you try to hold on to who you are and who He made you to be and this great great Love He has called you to. This is for you, who are fighting the disruption and unbalance of how the world is and who you are called to be.
God has called me to be a person who likes tea. A person who would choose camping every weekend over anything else. A person who’s daily highlights are getting in the car with a friend and turning up the music and singing really loud. The Lord made me someone who likes folky banjo music. Someone who enjoys making things look beautiful and who enjoys looking at beautiful things. I could spend days in art museums. I like handwritten letters. I would rather go to a coffee shop than a bar. I want to chase sunsets and climb buildings and jump on planes. I want to scream from the mountain tops about the overwhelming Love of my Savior. And I want to help every hurting person in the world, even though I know I can’t. This is who God has called me to be and I find myself going back to the words of Peter, reminding me that this world is not my home. That I must not get cozy in it. And that I must not indulge my ego at the expense of my soul. Because living a life that shines God’s light, even if it means always being a square peg in a round hole, is what wins over souls to God’s side to join the eternal celebration. Because I fully believe we are not of the world, but we are definitely sent into it. So lets embrace where we are instead of running away from it.
words and photo by Sara Beth Pritchard.