By: Nicole VanGelder
I am a size seven. This is not convenient for me. Before I had children I was a size six. I can still squeeze into some of those clothes, but not all of them. And, not comfortably. (Also, the last time I was that size was long enough ago that I am no longer in the proper age range, or fashion season to wear them!) Also, since I began having children, I have rarely been out of maternity clothes. And, when I have been, it hasn’t been for long enough to acquire many items of clothing. Those that I have acquired have tended to be in larger sizes. The result? My ill-fitting wardrobe. The pants that I own all seem to be too large or too small. I don’t actually have even one pair that appears to be the correct size. Yet, I don’t want to invest right now, because I am not sure what size I will “land” at. (I am still nursing my youngest and I know that weaning her will change my body yet again…)
I was thinking about this the other day, and about how being “between sizes” actually feels like a symbol of much of my life. You see, I don’t really “fit” well….well, anywhere. (I am not saying this to complain, mind you!) Let me explain: I am a homeschooling mom. I have much of the same value system of most homeschooling moms that I have had the honor to meet. Yet, I don’t really seem to completely fit in that group. In fact, the comment that I hear most often in that context is: “You homeschool? You don’t seem like a homeschooler.” I am also a pastor’s wife. In the groups of women that identify themselves as “pastor’s wife”, again, I am a rarity. This is because I am also a pastor. Yes, I am a conservative woman that honors my husband and believes that he is the head of our household. Yet, in doing so, I have been elevated (really, pushed!) out of my comfort zone into areas of leadership and responsibility. Which I am delighted by! It is such an honor and privilege. Who would have ever thought that I would one day be a pastor? Not me, but in a lot of ways it is such a perfect fit!
However, among women pastors there are few that I have encountered that feel the same delight that I do about being a pastor’s wife. (Do you see the pattern that is emerging? I kinda fit into a lot of different groups, yet don’t really completely fit in any.) I am also a “stay at home mom”. Except, I have a job. I know, I know, it doesn’t make sense. Just trust me, I have the heart of a stay-at-home mom. So much so that once at a dentist’s office I filled out the form and listed my occupation as “homemaker” and then proceeded to fill out the insurance information from the insurance policy that is in my name because of my employer. Oops!
Can you see how all of this could give me an identity crises? We live in a society that is constantly trying to tell you who you are, who you should be, where you fit. If you went to public schools chances are you experienced this in vivid color. Those people were the jocks. Those the nerds. Over here we have the popular people. Those were the “dirts”. (I am sure those terms are very outdated by now. But, you get the point.) Life seems safer somehow when you not only know where you fit, but where everyone else fits too. Everyone has their role. This is helpful because you know how to act, where to go, how life is generally supposed to play out.
Except…and this is a big except. Except life isn’t supposed to be safe. Remember in the Chronicles of Narnia, that famous line about Aslan? The kids are learning about Aslan from Mr. and Mrs. Beaver and this scene plays out:
“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver; “don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”
Over the years, I have been learning just how true that is. In many ways, my Father is not “safe”. Yet, He is good. (And I know He is even better then I realize!) I am His daughter. Created in His image. Why should I be any different? And, in the same way, the life that He created for me? Well, it’s not safe either. But it is good. Better then I realize.
Why don’t I really, well, fit anywhere? Because I wasn’t created to! I wasn’t created in a mold that churned out thousands of others just like me. In fact, I wasn’t created in a mold at all. I was hand crafted. There is no one just like me. There was never supposed to be. That is the beauty about hand made stuff!
The same is true for you! (I know that I am not the only one that has felt like I don’t exactly fit.) You were hand crafted. You weren’t created to live a safe life. But, you were created to live a good life. Isn’t that freeing? I hope it is. Your life doesn’t have to fit anyone’s ideals or expectations. You don’t have to temper who you are to fit a mold. You were never created to live like that.
So, while I hope that someday I have a wardrobe that fits a little better, I feel no need to find the perfect “fit” elsewhere. :)