For most of my life, I’ve felt like an outsider in circles branded “Christian.” I’ve always been a girl with jagged questions, a girl not satisfied with easy answers and bullet-point living. For better or worse, I have never been able to rise above me; never been able to fit brand or speak party line.
And this, of course, translates to my writing, words I can’t stop from coming, words I can’t for the life of me script into conformity. It’s a frustrating thing, and sometimes an embarrassing one, to be a little off-center. If I could just be a little more conservative, a little more clean cut, curled hair, cardigan . . . Or – if not that, if I could just own the alternative: the acoustic voice, the artsy jeans, the “cursing Christian” vibe . . .
But that just won’t fit either.
So I’m a writer here on the fringe, somewhere between millennial and Gen X, between Republican and Democrat, a highly educated stay-at-home mom, a fiercely feminist woman who continues to find community in the Baptist church.
And I’ll be honest, some days, when I’m feeling a little more raw and a little more jagged than normal – I look around at the Christian shimmer I’m missing and I want to hang it up. If not clearly “in”, then let me be “out.” Let me be something that fits somewhere.
It’s on days like these that I ask some angry questions. I ask things no “good” mouth should utter, and my questions are painful and almost blasphemous and, to some, might sound practically pagan.
And yet . . . this God of mine, this awesomely, frustratingly, incomprehensibly loving God, he won’t let me leave. I ask my blasphemous questions and he gives me answers. I spit out fire and he rains down love. I tell him I don’t fit and he tells me he doesn’t either: that no box can contain him and I am made in his image. I put myself in the way of rebuke with my questions and he shows he me he would rather have fireworks than a light behind shutters.
And no matter how much I ask for it, he won’t let me fit neatly in the club. He won’t let me find status or popularity or comfort. But as he leads me through tame places that feel like wilderness and into chaos that I can’t understand, he is always showing me love grows in the unexpected, that life erupts when opposites find fellowship under the canopy of his wild and perfect design.
And so I keep on following this God who won’t fit in boxes. I keep writing him in ways that don’t always read Vacation-Bible-School right. I keep asking him questions and he somehow honors my un-rightness; I bring him my smoldering ashes and he blows them into life.
If you’re like me and you don’t always feel like your questions are Sunday School appropriate or your true self fits the trending Christian image, let me encourage you today to keep radically pursuing the one who knit you together, who made you unique, who gifted you differently than all others. He will show you there is a place just for you at the table. He will show you there is beautiful diversity marching together in the path of life.
John 7:11-13: Now at the Feast the Jews were watching for [Jesus] and asking, “Where is that man?” Among the crowds there was widespread whispering about him. Some said, “He is a good man.” Others replied, “No, he deceives the people.” But no one would say anything publicly about him for fear of the Jews.