It was another long bicoastal airplane ride, this time to help my daughter relocate; a joyful yet taxing time combined with the stress of traveling. Usually when I travel, if anything can go wrong it does. So I make my lists and check them twice: leave at least 2 hours in advance, check in online, and print out my boarding pass. Also, I double check that I have my ID, charge my phone and ensure that my toiletries are the right size. I also won’t wear a belt, but will wear easily removable shoes. Once at the airport I wind my way through slow moving lines. Finally, as I go through TSA, my hair and back are routinely patted adding to my agitation. So many things to keep in mind and so many things to overlook that without meaning to, traveling becomes a stressful event.
My treat, once I’ve made it to the gate, is to purchase a popular women’s magazine to read in flight. I’m drawn in by the sleek elegance of the cover with its promise of unexplored worlds between its covers. I look forward to absorbing these insights as we make our way through the skies; a peaceful oasis regardless of turbulence or touchy neighbors.
Once in-flight, I eagerly flipped to the introduction and discovered titles such as:
· Better Love Next Time
· Build Instant Intimacy
· You Don’t Have to be Thin to be Chic
· How to Live Your Best Life
The titles drew me in, but as I read each article, the content was not who I was. I didn’t fit in. This feeling of being disconnected was pervasive, and I began to wonder why. What was so different about me that I couldn’t see myself in the words on the page?
I often feel like I don't fit because I'm so ‘ordinary’. In my ordinariness I'm a black woman who often does not fit common stereotypes; I was raised in a godly two-parent home and have lived a drama-free life. The portrayals of women didn't resonate with me. But more importantly, the truths they tried to pass on were twisted versions of the Truth. I happen to know that you can only live your best life with Christ, anything else won't be lasting. A popular women's magazine can't say that.
This glossy addressed typical problems with typical solutions, but I’ve found that God’s word has atypical solutions for typical situations and they work! I’m a child of the King, using his living word to figure out my life moment by moment. The way I’ve addressed my life’s issues has set me apart. If you add to that the fact that I’m a black, Bahamian with a foreign accent living in the good old US of A, it’s safe to say that I have a long history of standing out from my peers.
Recently, as this feeling of being ‘different’ enveloped me, I picked up my Bible, and the pages landed on Psalms 25. “Unto thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul. O my God, I trust in thee: let me not be ashamed…” As I digested these words, I realized that if my trust is in God, I have no reason to feel ashamed. Feelings of inadequacy and of not fitting in are wrapped in shame. But since I wholeheartedly trust Him and am reassured that I’m made in his image from the crown of my head to the sole of my feet, there is no reason for shame. He made my personality. He knows all my quirks. He knows my flaws and my idiosyncrasies. He knows that I choose to trust Him which is the basis for belonging, for I am His and He is mine (John 10:3).
When I read God’s word not only do the names of the books make me curious but the content satisfies me. Throughout His word, I’m constantly reassured that I belong to Him. He says, “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine!” (Isaiah 43:1). I’m comforted knowing I’m made in His image. So though I may not be the stereotypical female, I’m all right with Him. I know that none of my thoughts are foreign to Him nor do they surprise Him for he made me and He knows my innermost thoughts. I acquire a wisdom from Him that assures me that the beaten path is not the best path. I see in Him that He was not always accepted yet He was the Way the Truth and the Life, and many craved what he offered. He is the example that resonates with me. What I find in God’s word is a grace and hope that is rooted in Him, not in my strength. This reassurance provides a confidence for belonging wherever He places me.
My in-flight oasis was heightened by the assurance that I belong to the King. He made me, and I’m perfectly and wonderfully made. With Him, I’m where I belong.
Nylse is a Christian wife and a mother of four who currently resides in Los Angeles, CA. Originally from the Bahamas, she lived in New York before relocating to the West Coast. She is a Christian Blogger who writes to encourage others from a Godly perspective at www.lifenotesencouragement.com. She published her first book – My Best Marriage Advice and is currently working on her second book. Nylse never turns down the opportunity for conversation over a hot cup of tea. Connect with Nylse online: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and email.