A Saturday Caesura
Sometimes I think I should receive an honorary Masters of Misfits. Maybe even a Doctorate. My credited experience is quite extensive. For example:
- I enjoy my tea, but don’t care for the other three socially acceptable beverages: coffee, alcohol, and soda. I know; I’m weird.
- I enjoy a good movie, but I don’t have Netflix, Disney+, or syndicated TV, so all those shows ya’ll talk about? I haven’t got a clue.
- I love music but generally don’t listen to contemporary pop stuff, Christian, country, or otherwise. I would totally lose any ice breaker game involving song lyrics. But then, I usually lose icebreaker games because I find them awkward and socially stressful.
- I don’t get my nails done or colour my hair. I rarely wear makeup. My fashion sense is always a few years behind or completely off what was ever considered “in.” I have utility hands, greying hair, a what-you-see-is-what-you-get face, and a functional wardrobe. Good enough.
- I don’t watch (or follow) sports unless it’s one of my school’s teams. In regards to professional sports, I know only what my students tell me I should know, which usually boils down to who won (or didn’t). Good enough.
- I am not, nor ever have been, a big-circle-of-friends person. I have a few beautiful, grace-filled friends that I treasure. I don’t hoopla-fest or party with them. We do small, simple things together and that is more than enough to sustain our friendships.
- I earned my driver’s license without parallel parking, parking on a hill with a curb, changing lanes, going through a traffic light, or driving through a school zone. But don’t tell anyone.
- In grade seven, I had to borrow cowboy boots when I was voted queen for the rodeo organized by the blink-and-you-miss-it community we lived in. A vote, by the way, which I initially thought was a joke because the other nominee was a local rancher’s daughter who owned her own boots and everything else a girl needs to be a bona fide rodeo queen.
- When I was a teen, I decided that my career choice would have to involve animals because I was shy and awkward and working with people, well, it just wouldn’t work. Then I became a pastor’s wife at age 20, and I currently teach high school English with an Elementary Generalist BEd degree. There have been days (years?) when I have felt like an imposter.
- I have no pets.
- I have never owned a dishwasher.
There are so many ways that I don’t fit some expectation or standard or ‘normalcy’. And honestly, there was a long period of my life where I felt my misfitted-ness quite acutely. Fretted and stewed about it. Tried to be the round peg in the round hole without acknowledging that I was (am!) actually rather square.
I’ve since been learning that aligning my heart-soul-mind with what God says about me makes me increasingly aware that I am deeply loved, that I have nothing to prove, and that I am absolutely free to be who God has made me to be. Any changes that need to happen (they are ongoing and many!) are the ones that bring me closer to God’s vision for me, not to what others, society, or media set as the acceptance bar. Nor do I need to curate versions of myself that meet my own expectations of someone worthy or acceptable to God or others. I don’t need to pull out the coarse sandpaper and start grinding away at all my square corners. I can simply be content with my Charis-ness as intended by God.
I know that I am not the only well-credentialed misfit. But I also know that I am not the only misfit loved by God. I mean, just look at Jesus’ disciples — rough fishermen and tax collectors and doubters and betrayers. Hardly a collection of the upstanding religious and righteous. Hardly the type of people you would expect to be entrusted with something as monumentally important as the kingdom of God. But then again, you’d hardly expect that kingdom to be ushered in by a baby born in a stable who grew up to work as a carpenter in some backwater stick-town.
If I’ve learned anything through my journey as a misfit, it’s that the term only applies to me because I have assumed it does. God has other terms for me: beloved, redeemed, forgiven.