Misfitten Me

3d cover

When she craned her neck just so and smirked, I shuddered. It was a look I knew, a comical disdain. “I think it’s cute that you put eyeliner all the way around your eyes. No one really does that.”

I shrunk into myself. The scene? Backstage at a restaurant I worked in during college. The girl? A with-it waitress who personified cool to me. To have her backhandedly “compliment” me stung.

That night, I went home and stared in the mirror. I had no idea what I did with my eyeliner was wrong. And I’ve never lined my eyes that way again.

On the mission trip, the explicit instructions were to wear long skirts. These were things I normally didn’t wear (in the era before maxi skirts). So I found really uncute skirts at a thrift store and a discount store, and brought them with me overseas.

Only all the other women didn’t wear their long skirts. They wore pants, capris. Some even wore long shorts. I felt ridiculously frumpy, out of place, and sore-thumb-ish.

My first writers conference, I sat, hands in lap, twisting, twisting, twisting my fingers, worried. It was the first time I’d presented my fiction to the world, and the published author who sat across from me had a fiery spark.

Only her flame bent toward me, and not in the kindly, warm way. Words came from her mouth, words that denigrated my writing, devastating me. I decided then and there I would never be able to write a novel. I didn’t fit into the mold, apparently. Didn’t do it right.

{Aside, thank God for a dear, dear writer friend who talked me off the ledge. Had she not, I doubt I’d be the author of 20 books and counting.}

All these stories point to misfit me, or how I felt misfitted for the cool club, the missionary women, the hall of authors. Most of my childhood I spent feeling out of place, or just on the edge of glory, tasting it but never being part of inner circles full of giggling girls. Sometimes nearly cool, I’d poke my way in, only to soon realize I didn’t belong.

Have you ever felt that way?

My solace has come in knowing that Jesus understands misfits like me. He fitted Himself to earth to walk around in my shoes, in yours. He is acquainted with our weakness, understands our insecurities, feels our pain when someone makes fun of our makeup or ugly skirt or story.

I have a choice when I am in the misfitted place–to wallow there, cry and carry on, or run to Jesus who deeply understands what it’s like to be misunderstood. He “gets” what outcasting feels like. And He loves us through our bewilderment.

My examples may seem small, but they are very real. If we had a cup of tea between us, we might laugh about our own misfitting stories, and we might laugh so hard we cry, or cry so hard we laugh. And in that circle of two, Jesus would show up, wipe the tears, say “I understand, child,” and set us back on our feet.

Amen.

This post was inspired by Matthew Barnett’s new book, Misfits Welcome with the goal of raising awareness and helping those in need. To learn more about the book, CLICK HERE!

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