I posted a quote from Arthur Burk in my post titled Misfit. Here’s the quote again:
“Are you going to fit the culture and be small inside, or are you going to be a misfit and unpack the treasure within you?”
All of us are immersed in culture–in a certain way of doing and looking at life. We even have multiple cultures pressing on us at once. I live in American culture, in Mennonite culture, in family culture, in our town’s culture. All of these systems come with expectations that pressure us to conform.
Trying to satisfy a culture reminds me of the verses in Proverbs 30 that talk about certain things never saying, “It is enough.” Cultures can be beautiful, but they can also be very demanding. They push and push and push us, and we can never totally measure up. The pressure makes our souls shrink.
Here’s why: we were never meant to derive our core identity from the surrounding culture.
It’s oh-so-deceiving, because culture whispers almost-truths that we easily believe. You are not enough. You don’t work hard enough. You need to do a better job of raising your kids. You need to socialize more. You need to give more. You need to contribute to the community. You need to do better at following the church rules. You need to…you need to…you need to…
It’s true, I am not enough, I do need help with raising my family, socializing, giving, and all those things. But trying harder won’t cut it. Trying harder leads to greater demands. Trying harder only drowns me in shame.
I believe God calls His children to move fluidly among cultures, to be always respectful but never bound. If a culture determines our deepest identity, even if it’s a religious culture, we don’t know who we are in Christ.
Our identity in Christ, and only that, will enable us to unpack the treasure of God’s spirit working in us.
But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.
2 Corinthians 4:7 (ESV)
We are jars of clay full of God’s spirit. That’s who we are! We are precious, loved, unique, cherished by Him. We are overcomers. We have seen God’s glory cover our shame. Because of Him, we have incredible value to offer the world.
As God’s children living out of our identity in Him, we will be joyful misfits, because we are free from trying to conform to something that is never satisfied. We will be misfits, because our gifts are so diverse. We will be misfits because we will love all people freely, regardless of race or denomination or any other man-made perimeter.
God’s children are misfits full of treasure. Unpack the treasure!
that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being
Ephesians 3:16 (ESV)
What makes you feel like a misfit, and how could that actually be a gift?