When You Feel Like You Don’t Quite Fit In
By: Maggie Meadows Cooper
Over Fall Break we made the annual pumpkin patch visit. I figured we'd pick a few big, round pumpkins and be on our way. But I should have known better. We walked through row after row, looking for the perfect pumpkins. My littlest would pick one up, put it down. Pick another one up, put it down. I wasn't sure we'd ever find one. And then her big sister came over with this...and it was THE ONE. She was done.
Now, you probably know what I was thinking: "That one? I mean, it doesn't even look like a pumpkin… it looks like an onion... a really squishy moldy little onion."
So, I asked her if she was sure, and she said with confidence, "Yes! I wuv it the best!"
So it came home with us. (And, big surprise, they didn't charge us for it. Ha!)
I added it to a bowl of little pumpkins that decorate our breakfast table. And bless it...it just looked pitiful next to all of those pretty, perfectly shaped pumpkins. But then I realized we had something in common.
Sometimes I am tempted to compare myself to others and feel out of shape, unattractive, and like I don't fit in. I can compare my home or car or clothes with those of my “super mom” friends. But the Lord reminded me of three important things to think about when I feel like that poor little pumpkin. And I hope they can speak life to you too:
1. You are chosen and loved beyond belief.
"Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes." Ephesians 1:4
Think about all of the people in the world. All of the different skin colors, body shapes, and sizes. t's amazing that there could be millions of combinations of features that make each one of us unique. But there are. And we were all created by the same great big God.
He created us. He has chosen us to be His, if we will have Him. And He loves us with an unfailing love. There isn't a set image of what we have to look like to be loved. There isn't a checklist of features and qualities we have to have. We are chosen and loved because we are His. Just the way my littlest, out of all of the pumpkins in that huge field, chose and loves her little pumpkin.
2. We may look different on the outside, but on the inside, we are all the same.
"For you are like whitewashed tombs--beautiful on the outside but filled on the inside with dead people's bones and all sorts of impurity." Matthew 23:27
I was reminded of our pumpkin carving day at this time last year. As we carved our pumpkins we talked about how we are like a pumpkin, full of yucky stuff (sin) that we need Jesus to clean out. And how when it's cleaned out, we can better shine a light for Him (like the candle we put in). I realized afterward that I had left quite a bit of the nasty stringy stuff (I loathe carving pumpkins!) But my son said, "That's ok mama...you tried. We all have a little sin left."
And isn't that the truth? It doesn't matter how hard we try to look good on the outside. We can shine up the outside pretty easily and put on a good front. We can look good for our friends with fancy clothes and jewels. We can plaster a fake smile and answer every, "How are you?" with a cheery, "Great! Good to see you!"
But we're not fooling the One who matters most. The inside is a big, yucky, sinful mess that can't be cleaned up on our own. We can scrape and pull and wipe, but there will always be a little yucky stuff left, as long as we are on this Earth. We are all sinners who need a Savior.
So, whether you are like a pumpkin worthy of a Southern Living cover or one who is simply loved by a hot mess of a little three-year-old, we are all the same in the eyes of the Lord.
3. Our imperfections, weaknesses, and brokenness allow the power of Christ to be seen clearly.
"We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves." - 2 Corinthians 4:7
I admit that there are days I would love to look like Cindy Crawford and live in an HGTV dream home and drive a...well, just a really clean car. I would love to be able to cook gourmet meals (occasionally) and be a perfect housekeeper and have my closet organized by color and season and totally rock a great pair of heels. I would love to have it all together by the world's standards and THEN also be able to share the love of Christ and live by the fruits of the Spirit with amazing wisdom and tact and grace. But what good would it do me to be perfect?
If I had it all together, others would see me... and not Jesus. They wouldn't be amazed at how He can work in their lives. They wouldn't learn to go to Him. And they could mistakenly learn to put their trust in the people and things of this world instead.
So embrace your imperfections.
Embrace your weaknesses and failures.
Embrace the brokenness.
Speak truth about your struggles.
Speak life with encouragement from your past experiences.
Point to Jesus.
And remind yourself of that poor little pumpkin and the sweet reminder it is.
Maggie Meadows Cooper is a wife, mom, educator, author, and blogger with a longing for women to grow a heart for Jesus and others. She is the author of the children’s book “Bumper” and blogs at The Little Moments about what the Lord is teaching her through her children and everyday life. She contributes to Blogs by Christian Women, Devotional Diva, She Disciples, and Connecting Ministries. An educator with a M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education from Auburn University (War Eagle!), she has twenty years of experience working with young children. She loves all things chocolate, real Coca-Cola, and lives with her husband, three children, and two rambunctious dogs in Opelika, Alabama.
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