I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Psalm 139:14
Don't know if you are a 'fix-it' type of person, but if you are, eventually you will bump up against the frayed or cut electrical cord and think, "I can fix that!"
So off to the local hardware store you go to get the necessary electrical supplies to mend your cord. Once there, you are faced with a huge variety of options. Wire size, length, color and oh yeah what plug do you need? Seems they come in a variety of shapes, sizes and configurations of the 'blades' (the pokey part that goes into the socket). And the funny thing is if you don't put the right plug with the right socket you don't get any electricity!
I think I have always been aware of that principle of plugs and sockets.
In my experience, it seems that some people just plug effortlessly right into so many different situations, opportunities or relationships. They seem to have a type of universal plug that just fits and they are able to reap the benefit of quick and painless connections. Then there are others that have to work a little harder before they find the place they 'fit.' But fit they eventually do.
For me, I have always felt I had one to many, or one to few 'blades' on my plug to really fit in. As a little kid, I did Cub Scouts and played little league and the other kid stuff you do. And I was a member of a pack and a team, etc. When I got older, I could hang out with the athletes, the brainiacs, the fringe kids, the musicians, etc. But I never felt I was a real part of any of those groups. It was like I was just on the fringe of being totally involved.
Even when it came to fellowship and ministry, I was deeply involved, but never felt completely committed. There was just some piece of me that just didn't quite mesh entirely, and for the longest time I felt guilty about that. I felt that I had not completely surrendered myself to the opportunity, and that in some way or another I was not being wholehearted and therefore failing God. And if there was anything I really wanted, it was to have that feeling of complete involvement, of being absolutely immersed and completely pleasing to God.
Late last year I was talking to a dear brother named Kimble from back east and I expressed this sense of my 'otherness', of being in some small way always an outsider looking in and always having this longing for intimacy and unity without fully achieving it. I told him I felt like a plug that just couldn't find a socket...
It was then that he expressed his belief that God forms and fashions each of us exactly perfectly to accomplish his will through us.
Some of us are made for a rather narrow bandwidth of relationships and activities. We are plugs that find a socket and stay there for years -- happy and fulfilled. We stay in one place, we are faithful and joyful and positively effect those in our sphere of influence.
But others of us he makes just a little off of a perfect fit. We can make connections, but they aren't intended to be so permanent or so settled as we expect. Those connections are just 'tight' enough to allow us to be a blessing and encouragement while still 'loose' enough to allow us to move on as God directs us, expanding the sphere of those we affect.
Kimble's encouragement to me was that I was just perfect for what God wanted me to be and do. I needed to stop feeling guilty about God's formation and rather celebrate it! I have been fearfully and wonderfully made for just what he intended. Now I need to rejoice in that and live out of it.
I could finally be at peace knowing that as God intended me to be a catalyst for authentic community it meant some looseness in the fit of my relationships. A catalyst is present, and is responsible, for a reaction between other compounds, but never gets absorbed into that reaction. As a consequence, the catalyst can be used to activate one reaction after another.
That means to me that God has ideally designed me to be a blessing, encouragement, and activator across a wide landscape of opportunities. He wants me to model the possibility of authenticity, vulnerability and sincerity to folks in all kinds of fellowships and gatherings. And so my plug doesn't fit perfectly into any of them. And that's okay!
So what about you? Are you comfortable and accepting of the reality of how God has formed you or are you looking at your neighbor thinking, "I wish I was more like them, then I could really serve the Lord." Do you appreciate how amazing it is to think that what we consider to be liabilities or obstacles are rather the incredibly unique fashionings of God in us that he will use to work powerfully and effectively through us.