Room For All

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Have you ever had the experience of walking into a place where you didn't feel like you belonged? Whether you belonged or not, it felt like you didn't.

Wrong room. Wrong place or time? Why are you here? Wrong! Move on.

(True confession: I'm feeling this way now as I head to Dallas for a conference this week.)

Once when I was on faculty of a national conference, I had to walk into a cafeteria of four hundred people attending the conference. I wasn't new to this week-long event - people knew me. And we were already halfway through the week. But that morning, I was feeling a little shaky and alone.

Here's what happened:

I walked into the cafeteria for breakfast balancing my eight-month-old, David, our tray of food, and the emotions that rose up in me (and are rising up in me now, even as I write this today):

Where do I sit? Swallow. Find an open place and put down your stuff. Find a place!

Feeling the nerves and insecurity, I moved toward a table and did just that. I put down the tray, hauled over a high chair and proceeded to set up.

Along came a woman who said, "Oh, someone's sitting in our seat."

Now, there was no trace of someone setting up before me in that particular seat.

"Your seat?" I questioned with a bit of punch.

"Well, we've been sitting here all week. It's our table." (No, we were not assigned tables.)

"Well," I said, "by all means, have your table."

I picked up my tray, moved my baby and his high chair, feeling really annoyed. OK, angry. And hurt. I felt I didn't belong. And actually, she made it clear that I didn't.

Couple thoughts:

  1. When this happens, acknowledge the feeling and turn to God. "Ugh. God, I feel like an outsider. I feel alone and small."
  2. Know what is true: There's always room for you at God's table. He accepts you. In fact, you get to humbly know Him better in this place.
  3. When you've found your place - because most do at some point - look around and now, you welcome in. Make Christ-like room for others.
They love the places of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; they love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and to be called, ‘Rabbi’ by others …”
The greatest among you will be your servant. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves.
— Matthew 23:6-8, 11,12




I'm real because God is so real



Your Calling For Today

If you're the kind of person who needs to "own" something like a seat, a pew, a friendship group, a position, whatever, practice moving beyond it. Mix it up. Change seats. Invite others to join you. We're not in grade school anymore!

Stacey Wei