How Do I Fit In The Body?
“It’s not that I don’t want to be a part of the body of believers. I love the church. It’s not that I feel like the church doesn’t want or need me. I just feel like I don’t really fit.”
I said this at dinner one night recently. My husband and I were sitting across the booth from two very dear friends that I adore. They are the kind of friends that I really treasure. They are both Christians, very active in the church, are in ministry, and they live a life of transparency and authenticity that makes it easy be yourself around them.
When we get together it is a true example of iron sharpening iron. I can talk freely about the things that are on my heart. I am able share the things that are exciting me or bothering me about faith and the church and my relationship with God. I openly share my struggles. I can honestly tell them that God is working in my life in ways that are slightly terrifying but amazingly exhilarating at the same time.
And I can tell them that I don’t feel like I fit.
Because they are friends that love me and want me to draw closer to God, they can tell me that I’m full of baloney. Which they did. In fact, I’ve been thinking over what one of my friends said that night at dinner for a few weeks. To him, it was a quick and witty answer, but I think there is a lot of wisdom to be found in what he said.
You see, I didn’t become a Christian until I was in my early 20’s. I didn’t grow up in church. I haven’t always been a good girl. My life hasn’t always looked like it does now. I’ve got a few tattoos and a couple more piercings than the average Christian. I enjoy a great cocktail now and then. I’ve got a lot of friends and family who aren’t believers. I love skinny jeans and high heels and eye liner. I’m opinionated and love to laugh. My husband and kids are phenomenal, but we are all a bit of a hot mess sometimes.
That is all well and good, because I know there isn’t a typical Christian. I know we come in all shapes and sizes. I understand that we come from a multitude of backgrounds and experiences. I know there isn’t a cookie cutter version of what a Christian should look like, dress like, act like, and live like. We are, and we should be, a diverse group. I get that. However, sometimes it sure feels like there is a box to fit neatly into.
I just don’t feel like I fit that mold.
That has always been a little discouraging to me, but my friend said something really profound to me that night at dinner. I think it applies to the droves of Christians like me who feel a little like they are a little out of the box.
My friend told me I was a big toe.
At the time I laughed and rolled my eyes. I told Him I wasn’t sure how I felt about him comparing me to a stinky old big toe, but in the time since that conversation I have been thinking a lot about the comparison. He was right.
I am a lot like a big toe.
Stick with me here. I love Jesus passionately. He consumes me. I write because I feel like I’ve been called to share His love. Specifically, I feel called to speak hope and encouragement into women, especially those who feel disconnected or discouraged. I hope to build and provide community for women who may feel a little like I do sometimes. I’m far from perfect and I may not be a stellar example of holiness, but I’m doing my best to honor Him in the craziness that it my life.
That is what makes me a little like a big toe. That’s what makes all of us who feel a little less than perfect like stinky old big toes. Do you know what the purpose of a big toe is? I did a little research. Big toes provide the body with leverage while walking and help provide balance for the whole body. Big toes are pretty valuable to the body.
This church body of ours need the leverage of its big toes to help it move forward. Our body needs its calloused and blistered big toes. Those imperfections show the world that Christ didn’t die for perfect people. He died for the battered and scarred ones. Those callouses and blisters may be just what a lost person needs to see to be able to find hope. After all, if Jesus died to save the big stinky toes of the church and is now using them to propel the church forward, surely He can save and use just about anyone. That is powerful. Good work big toes.
Not only that, but big toes provide balance. There are people in the church body who set amazing examples of godly living. Those people bring such honor and glory to God. They are a huge encouragement to me. That’s what I want to be like, but I’m still very much a work in progress. I’m a little heard headed and I don’t always catch the lessons the first time around. I stick with it though and keep drawing closer to Christ even in my faults and failures. I’m transparent about that. I share my struggles and experiences because I feel like that encourages people as well. That is the balance of a big toe. There are people at every stage of growth in their Christian life. Some people are just beginning. They are stumbling and fumbling their way to a strong relationship with Christ. They need to know that is ok too. Many of us have been there and are still learning what it looks like to really walk out our faith. As a church, we need the balance of both.
There is a place for all of us in the body of Christ. 1 Corinthians chapter 12 is all about that. Each member of the body has value. Each member has a purpose. Each member was specifically placed in their role in the body of believers. I wasn’t owning that because I was letting my own feelings of inadequacy and insecurity get in the way. I wasn’t sure I wanted to be a big toe.
I’m done feeling like I don’t fit in the church body I’m not looking at myself as a liability. I refuse to wait until I’m a little more together. I won’t stand by until I’m a little more polished and perfected. Our church needs big toes to give it leverage and balance. We are important, fellow big toes. Claim your spot in the church body and let’s get to walking!
Bobbie Schaeperkoetter is married to her high school sweetheart and is a homeschooling mama to two wild boys. She adores community and encouraging women. She's a little bit of a hot mess, but is just doing her best to honor Him in the craziness of life. Bobbie is also a writer and blogger at http://www.bobbieschae.com/ and on Facebook. She would absolutely love for you to stop by and say hello!