Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Feeling Out of Place

Have you ever gone somewhere, to a meeting or a party, or maybe just walked into a room and realized that you are SO out of place?  I remember when my youngest son was just a couple of years old, I was invited to a "young moms" playgroup.  I showed up at the park with my two-year-old son and three-year-old daughter, who climbed right up on the playground equipment and had a wonderful time.  But as I sat and listened to the other moms talk and share their most recent mothering experiences, I realized that I was completely out of my element.  It's not that the ladies didn't welcome me into their group, but I looked around and realized that most of the women were there with their first child.  If they had more than one child, their oldest was still only two or three years old at the most.  And as for the moms themselves, I think the oldest one there was probably twenty five or so.  And here I was with children numbers three and four, and nearly ten years older than the rest of the women.  Which really wouldn't have been a big deal, except that most of their conversations revolved around feeding and sleeping schedules and diaper changes.  All of which I could quite happily say were no longer part of my daily regimen, nor would they ever be again if I had anything to say about it.  And so I found myself feeling rather conspicuously out of place.

There are some days when I feel this way about life in general, too.  As I'm loading the dishwasher for the third time or folding my fifth load of laundry for the day, or as I'm paying the monthly bills and wondering how we're going to make it to the next paycheck, I can't help but think, "This is not IT.  This is not what life is supposed to be about!"  And do you know what?  I'm right.  This daily grind that we call "living" is not what we were created for.  We were not made for a life that is consumed with the pursuit of financial stability or health or knowledge...or a clean house. Because we were not created to live in a world that was tainted with sin.  When God created humanity, He made a perfect world for us to live in, where everything we would need was right at our fingertips.  Food, water, companionship...they were all there in the Garden. There was no work, no pressing schedule...just freedom and peace.  

God also created us to live in close, daily fellowship with Himself.  The book of Genesis tells us that after Adam and Eve disobeyed God and ate the fruit that He had forbidden them to eat, they heard Him walking in the Garden, so they hid from Him.  Since the Scripture gives no indication that there was any confusion about what or Who they were hearing, I think it is safe to assume that this was not the first time God had walked with them in the Garden.  Earlier in the book, the Scriptures say that when God created Eve, He brought her to Adam Himself.  Obviously, there was regular interaction between God and His creation!

I think this "in person" interaction with God is the essence of why He created mankind.  It was when sin entered the picture that the veil dropped between us and Him, and since then we've only been allowed to see Him through the eyes of faith.  But the Spirit that He placed in us still craves that daily walk through the Garden with Him.  Sin has disguised that longing as one for wealth or a perfect body or any number of other material things, but the truth underneath is that our soul craves oneness with our Creator, because that's why we were created in the first place. We have fellowship with God through study of the Scriptures and meditation and prayer, but it is only a shadow of the companionship that He intended for us to have with Himself.

And that's why we feel so deeply at times that we just don't belong here on this earth.  The good news is that there is a "new Eden" waiting for us, a place where we do belong.  Hebrews 13:14 tells us, "This world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come," and Philippians 3:20 reminds us that "we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives."  

There are so many things about Heaven that I look forward to.  For sure, I crave the day when I finally feel like I really belong.  Most of all, I cannot wait to see my God in person, to experience walking with Him in the cool of the morning.  "For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face." (1 Corinthians 13:12a)  In the meantime, I will join with my fellow "temporary residents and foreigners" of this world (1 Peter 2:11) as we proclaim, "All I know is I'm not home yet, this is not where I belong.  Take this world and give me Jesus.  This is not where I belong!"

Listen to "Where I Belong" by Building 429

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