The Outside

We recently bought the Need to Breathe CD, The Outsiders.  There are several songs I really love (Through Smoke!) but the title track has a postlude that resonates with me and I wonder if it will you, too.  It says,

On the outside,
You’re free to roam
On the outside
We found a home
On the outside
There’s more to see
On the outside
We choose to be

What I’m about to say may make no sense to anyone whatsoever but me, so I trust your forbearance until I have something more fun to share another day.

The past couple of years I’ve learned what it feels like to be on the D-List.  By that I mean there have been situations where I’ve been close enough to some Really Cool People to understand the perks and privileges Really Cool People are afforded and yet far enough away to not have any chance of being offered the same.  (And no, I don’t intend on elaborating any further than that.)  I’m being transparent here by saying that if I indulge my flesh, I can easily crave being a ‘somebody’ while equally believing the lie that I am a nobody.  Imagine the field day Satan has with that one.  Either a girl accepts the sentence of worthlessness or worse – decides to feverishly manipulate herself into a seat in which she was never invited to sit.    

This whole subject is hitting me afresh this week after a rejection of sorts.  I was forced to put myself out there in a way I was very uncomfortable with and was essentially sent away with a patronizing pat on the head.  I was reminded of who I am not and for a day or so, it really stung.  As in, I swore I would never take this kind of risk again, EVER, because who really wants to create a setup for insecurity when it’s so easy to go there without any help whatsoever? 

I’m reminded of Luke 14:8-11 and particularly love how it is worded in The Message:

7-9He went on to tell a story to the guests around the table. Noticing how each had tried to elbow into the place of honor, he said, “When someone invites you to dinner, don’t take the place of honor. Somebody more important than you might have been invited by the host. Then he’ll come and call out in front of everybody, ‘You’re in the wrong place. The place of honor belongs to this man.’ Red-faced, you’ll have to make your way to the very last table, the only place left.

 10-11“When you’re invited to dinner, go and sit at the last place. Then when the host comes he may very well say, ‘Friend, come up to the front.’ That will give the dinner guests something to talk about! What I’m saying is, If you walk around with your nose in the air, you’re going to end up flat on your face. But if you’re content to be simply yourself, you will become more than yourself.”

But if you are content to be yourself, you will become more than yourself.  Oh, how I love that. 

While I’ve processed the reality of not being worthy of being honored by this one particular ‘host’, the Lord has tenderly reminded me that I’m really more free without the restrictions that seat would force upon me.  At first I was tempted to bemoan not being considered ‘important’ enough.   I’ve instead come to realize that it is my choice to be not only content but happily make my home in this circle of influence Christ has marked out for me.  If there is to be a lane change, it has to be because He created a place of more effective ministry elsewhere and not because I elbowed my way into it.  What occurs to me about lanes is that the moves are always out – not up.  Even the Lord in his imagery never condoned our tendencies for ‘climbing the ladder’.  I believe He is more about accomplishing immeasurably more than we could ask or imagine horizontally rather than vertically.  As for the here and now, I am blessed – we are all blessed – with people all around us who love, need, appreciate, and adore the women we are – not the ones we imagine we want to be.

And not only that.  I’m pretty confident that many of the Perk and Privilege Crowd would be devastated to think that anyone would be embittered because they are simply trying to steward the seat to which they’ve been assigned.  What’s more, many of them have endured great heartache before garnering that status – a qualification not one of us would dare envy.  Perhaps they have just been so faithful in their God-given tasks that they deserve the better view.  {Yet another issue women face:  we want the reward without the work.}  And who knows the motivations behind the ones who deny us for other reasons, but I do know that if God has a plan for us (and He always does!) then no lack of popularity or excess of politics can keep us from it.  Imagine what happy women we would be be if we determined to enjoy our assignments rather than letting those green-eyed monsters of jealously and pride rob us of enjoying the company of delightful dinner companions sharing the same section of the table.   

So I’ve resolved the matter (for myself  if no one else) by coming to this conclusion:  None of us has nor ever will be held back from any place the Father has ordained for us.  Rather, I am persuaded we will always be lovingly and strategically placed.  We can either choose to dwell in rejection when we try to attain more than what we’ve been sovereignly given or receive our lots with the honor Our Host intended to bestow. 

Knowing this, may we all be become ‘more than ourselves’ by cheerfully choosing and comfortably roaming on  The Outside.