For the last few weeks my hubby has been asking me (repeatedly) to watch a cartoon movie with him. Y’all, this is not typical. We reserve family friendly shows for family time, but he’s been asking me to watch this one with him even when our kiddos weren’t around.
Eventually, I wanted to watch this little alien film called "Home" too. Daddy D' knew I’d enjoy the story, the character, and the many word plays using completely incorrect grammar.
Y’all, there were a few times where I wanted to jump up and run to my notebooks because these simple phrases held powerful meanings. Flawed ways of saying things were really beautiful ways of expressing deeper things.
The beloved protagonist? An alien creature named, “Oh.” So called because when others see him their disappointed response is “Oh”.
Feelings new and old hovered near me. Remembrances of abandonment and sighs clearly full of rejection haunt my memories and surface on occasion. But with new-found freedom and God-given strength, this time I was able to quickly say, “Um, no. That’s not me anymore. I don’t need to dwell on all the times I’ve felt like my entire existence was a mistake.”
Can you relate?
Sweet Oh is never deterred. Despite the reactions, responses and rejections from others, and despite his mistakes and failures, Oh keeps pressing on to do what is right and good. He loves others despite their disdain for him. He actively pursues loving action no matter how others perceive his worth.
I could learn a little fortitude in loving others from this squishy creature.
When Oh converses with a young girl named ‘Tip’, he relates to her hurting heart. She shared how her mom was taken from her, how it made her feel, and her longing to return home. Even though Oh can’t relate to having a mom, he understands hurt and connects with her. He listens and meets her where she's at without any judgment, pretense, or teaching.
He just is who he is. And who he is is someone who loves beyond people-pleasing.
Ahhh, I could take my cue from him here, about how to care for others at the hurt level without giving pat replies.
Then he says one of the phrases I had to hold onto.
“I do not fit in, I fit out.”
Too well do I know the feelings of being an outsider. Strange, flawed & beyond repair. A mistake. An Oh.
But, it’s a lie.
Any time we listen to the enemy tell us we are unredeemable, unlikable, unlovable, and undesirable, it’s a lie. Even when we experience rejection here on earth, even when we make a lot of mistakes, and even when it seems no one cares & we’re left feeling alone, the truth of who we are lies at the core of our being not in the world around us.
Our true identity lies in the fabric of who we were created to be and in the image of who we were created by.
We will make mistakes. We will fail. But, we are not failures.
This spry creature kept smiling, kept dreaming & kept believing good was best. He knew what others thought of him, but he knew something of himself too.
He fit out.
I was made to fit out too. For most of my life I tried to fit in by being who I thought others wanted me to be, or more like who they were. But it never works. It's a faulty system for living and the only way to live free is to realize how you're made and live that way too.
God used my longing to fit in to lead me into greater freedom. In a time of healing prayer I was taken back to a memory from early childhood. It was a middle school memory that was all too common.
Two teams were selected for kickball. I was one of those on the fringes, often picked last or pretty darn near the end. Honestly, as I look back now, who could blame them? Sometimes when I kicked, my foot went right over the ball. As it swung back I kicked backwards. I had this uncanny ability to throw softballs backwards too.
Even so, it hurt, and the hurt lingered constantly below the surface. Reminding me with lying whispers, “You’re not wanted. No one would want you.” All because I wasn't picked to do something I wasn't designed to do in the first place.
As I recalled this memory and asked God to speak truth to me about the pain I knew, I saw myself standing at the end of the line. I was waiting to be picked, selected, when Jesus came and knelt down next to me. He held my hand gently and looked me in the face and said, “It’s OK. I’ve set you apart.”
To be holy is to be set apart for the things of God. The only way to live as set apart is to live as fully me as God purposed in the first place. To let Him lead me through the times of rejection and misunderstanding so I could do the things only He fully understands.
I do not fit in, I fit out.
Part of me recoils in even sharing these words which Jesus gave me. If I tell you I believe Jesus said I'm set apart, I fear you may see me as being pretentious or self-serving. I fear you would believe I think I’m better than you. These words rack my inner being because I struggle feeling good enough. Qualified. Cherished. I struggle believing in the possibility of being someone special enough to be - set apart.
But I am.
So are you.
Hand selected by God for His good purposes in and through us. Designed with unique ways of being and living that require guidance from Him and not others.
He chose us before the foundation of the world. He chose you. Not to fit in to the world, but to fit out.
To be set apart is to be uniquely purposed by our divine Creator.
What freed me most in this moment is when I looked at the rest of the players and realized something else. I was not made to be a start kickball player and it is OK. In truth, it is good.
Jesus spoke to me again, “This is not for you. I have something else for you to do.”
Then I knew. I knew I had to stop looking at things which I cannot do well, wishing it were different. I don’t have to belong to every group everywhere. I need to be where God has called me to be, and in that place is freedom, peace and joy a thousand-fold.
Oh said something else that caused me to smile. When he hid himself in a freezer and his friend came looking for him he asked, "Can I come into the out now?"
I'm talking to Jesus in new ways these days.
God, help me come into the out today.
When we fit out, we fit with Him, right where we fit in the best.
NOTE: This article first appeared on joleneunderwood.com as "I Do Not Fit In, I Fit Out"
Jolene Underwood is an emotional health warrior and soul care mentor. She provides practical and spiritual support for cultivating life within the Christian soul by drawing upon her personal journey towards emotional health, her psychology background, and a passion for Christian counseling. Jolene writes regularly at JoleneUnderwood.com. She also leads a community of writers called Rise Up Writers. Her tool, Unleash : Heart and Soul Care Sheets, has helped hundreds experience greater freedom. Connect with her online via YouTube/Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/Pinterest at @theJoleneU or via the Cultivated Life Newsletter.