Do you feel out of place as a Christian? I suspect you sometimes do. I think everyone, at some time in their lives, feels like a misfit within the Church. I do. Often. Believe me, I have my stories.
We are all different kinds of Christians. We are different due to upbringing, personalities, genetics, differing passions, and the like. Many times we will get discouraged because of our differences. Sometimes we ask ourselves “What is wrong with me?”
Here are some of the feelings that you might have.
- I don’t like to fellowship with other believers very much, whats wrong with me?
- I haven’t felt the presence of God like others do, what’s wrong with me?
- I don’t love to read my Bible like other Christians do, what’s wrong with me?
- The Lord’s supper/Eucharist is not a spiritual experience for me like it is for others, what’s wrong with me?
- I am not very emotional, what’s wrong with me?
- I hate the way Christians talk, what’s wrong with me?
- I can’t keep my kids under control, what’s wrong with me?
- I am not very nice and talkative, what’s wrong with me?
- I dread going to prayer groups, what’s wrong with me?
- I ask too many questions and have too many doubts, what’s wrong with me?
- I don’t have a good marriage like other Christians do, what’s wrong with me?
- I am scared to death to pray in public, what’s wrong with me?
- I find it hard to pray for other people, what’s wrong with me?
- I don’t like to study, what’s wrong with me?
- I am addicted to so many things, what’s wrong with me?
- I am so pessimistic about things, what’s wrong with me?
- I am depressed all the time, what’s wrong with me?
The simple fact is that we are not yet dressed for heaven. Not only this, but we are all wearing different clothes. Not only this, but the Holy Spirit does not seem intent to dress us in a uniform way. Not only this, but some of us feel like we are wearing our underwear on the outside of our pants. Yeah, it is awkward.
While we are trying to be molded into the likeness of Christ, don’t beat yourself up too much for not fitting a mold of expression. The church is a body of believers that are following Christ imperfectly. Our expressions (dress, prayer life, interests, personalities, sins we struggle with, and the like) cause us to look and feel very different inside. When we walk into church we do everything we can to put on our “church” personality. But inside we are different. We are scared. We feel like misfits.
Stage one: We think to ourselves, “Boy, I hope they don’t find me out.” We think that the gig will be up at any time. But we feel we must live with this tension to do this thing called “church.”
Stage two: This is where you begin to conform to this double standard. You live with the dichotomy of who you are inside and who you are when you are with “churchy” people.
Stage three: This is where the Cool-Aid is well into your system and you are now pressuring others to drink the same.
The fact is that we are all misfits. We need to act like it. We don’t conform to church, but we conform to Christ. By admitting our “misfitness” we will not take away from fellowship. By admitting our awkwardness, we help others find a home. By admitting our inability to fit in we lose sight of “fitting in” all-together. By being beggars of grace, we become a house of grace together. There we go. We have the church. A house of misfits looking for grace, mercy, and forgiveness. I have come to think that the only misfits are those who are comfortable wearing the veneer of “churchiness.”
What are some of the ways that you feel like a misfit in church?