Things I Remind Myself of Continually
Throughout my adult life I’ve had the profound feeling of being a misfit. I feel as if I was born for the wrong time and that nothing which I contribute has any significance or helps anyone. It’s like being one of those tools in the hardware store that no one needs or has any use for. It just collects dust and goes unused for decades. I’ve tried to shake this feeling off. I’ve tried to improve myself and work harder at being relevant. But it seems that, if I am making any contribution, then God is keeping it a secret from me.
It appears that, the books I’ve written go unpurchased and unread. All the work I do for the Lord is strictly voluntary. No one pays me for any services I render. No one considers my contributions worth the price.
Now, I don’t really mind working for nothing. I’m content to offer my services free of charge and wholly for the Lord, but when I have no choice in the matter – working for nothing is my only option, it’s kind of a downer. For, it makes me question the value of my work.
I suspect that, by keeping me in the dark – as to my purpose in this life and my contribution to His church, God is purifying my motives. He’s forcing me to rely exclusively on Him for all the affirmation and encouragement I need. By withholding all tangible evidence of success, God is drawing me more tightly into His embrace to find purpose, meaning, approval, and validation. In one sense, it’s inspiring to think that God enjoys my company and yearns to hold me tightly in His arms. I only wish I had a more utilitarian purpose and some marketable skill.
So, to shake this feeling of being a misfit, I must continually remind myself of the following truths.
First, every person’s life has been planned out by God prior to their arrival on this earth. In Psalm 139:16, David wrote, “All the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be.” God revealed to David that his life was not a mistake. It was the result of the infinitely wise and meticulous Planner’s ceaseless thoughts. David later expressed, “How precious are Your thoughts concerning me! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them they would outnumber the grains of sand” (Psalm 139:17-18). Therefore, before God ever “knit us together in our mother’s womb” (Psalm 139:13-16), before He ever caused us to appear on the surface of this planet, He had already “thought out” every detail of our life and being. So, there’s no chance of any of us being a misfit – a tool that has no use nor a part that serves no purpose. God made no mistakes in the design of our being or in the timing of our appearance.
Second, God’s intricate plan encompasses everything. Back in eternity, God’s infinite mind formed a crystal clear and detailed image of your physical, psychological, and spiritual attributes. He chose your gender, color, size, body configuration, gifts, talents, and abilities. It’s no wonder God said to Jeremiah, “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you” (Jeremiah 1:5).
Before God took any action to bring forth the universe, He already had everything mapped out. Based on His infinite foreknowledge, He planned to maneuver us into all the right circumstances to develop us and make us ready for eternity with Him. Based on His infinite foreknowledge, He planned to bring us into the paths of all the right people to bless them and be blessed by them.
And God took immense pleasure in doing all this. Without sounding too irreverent, God had a blast just in the planning of our lives. Can you imagine how much He rejoiced when our long-anticipated arrival finally came? Can you imagine how He’ll rejoice when we appear before Him, blameless and glorified in heaven?
Therefore, whether we serve some utilitarian purpose or exhibit any marketable skills matters little to God. God loves us for ourselves. He is in love with us. And His love for us is not in the least bit performance based. Nor is our intrinsic worth based on our usefulness to society, but exclusively upon God’s valuing of us. God’s opinion of us and feelings for us are all that matter.
Third, we have God’s authorization to be who He made us, to take up space on this planet, and to do the things He called us to do in life. Other people may lecture us on what’s wrong with our personality or on what we should do to have a valid life. But there’s absolutely no need for their approval or validation. We have all the approval and validation we need from God. Blessed and happy is the person who can find these things in God alone. For that person is truly free.
Fourth, we must make a continual and conscious choice to believe God and His word above our own dark suspicions, over the devil’s poisonous lies, and over the condemnatory rhetoric of society, which vilifies us as “the evil element” and as an “invasive species.”
When Jesus said, “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16), we should read ourselves into that Scripture. When Paul wrote, “God demonstrated His love for us in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8), we must read ourselves into that Scripture, also. When Paul told us that nothing can separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:35-39), we read must ourselves into that Scripture, as well. For Paul assures us that everything which has been written in Scripture was written for our benefit, that we might have hope (Romans 15:4). Therefore, when God promised to Joshua, “I will not fail you or forsake you” (Joshua 1:5), He promised it to us as well.
And remember, to doubt God’s word is tantamount to calling Him a liar. God is not a liar (Numbers 23:19; Titus 1:2). Every believer is, therefore, impelled to believe the words of God and to dismiss all that contradicts them.
Oh, I can make all kinds of arguments to demonstrate how useless and worthless I am. Only to do so is not only self-destructive, but it’s completely false. Plus, it contradicts what God has already told me in the Scripture. It contradicts all that God has proven to me through the redemption of Christ and through innumerable acts of kindness throughout my life. Therefore, I choose to believe God above every other voice. I choose to believe the most trustworthy voice in the universe.
PRAYER: Dear Father in heaven, I believe Your word concerning me and Your love for me. I believe, O God, that from eternity You have mapped out my life and ordained all my days before one of them came into being. I believe that, in love, You designed every component of my being and took great delight in doing so. I believe, O Father, that Your infinite foreknowledge anticipated all my actions and failures and that Your infinite wisdom incorporated them into Your marvelous plan. Therefore, dear Father, I reject all thoughts that I am a useless misfit. Your infinite mind has already thought out everything and there is no possibility of You ever making a mistake. I rest in Your infallible skill and unfailing love, through Jesus Christ my Lord, Amen.