When Brene Brown spoke of love and belonging, I was undone. (Not a belonging about fitting in and being like others, but of being accepted for who you are.) She said without one of these (love, belonging), there is suffering.
David forms an army. These men weren’t perfect specimens. Not with words like distressed, debtors and discontent. God uses the broken for his kingdom.
David left Gath and escaped to the cave of Adullam. When his brothers and his father’s household heard about it, they went down to him there. 2 All those who were in distress or in debt or discontented gathered around him, and he became their commander. About four hundred men were with him. 1 Samuel 22:1-2 NIV.
I didn’t fit in former circles. No, I didn’t even belong. No amount of striving would change that. Suffering felt an awful lot like depression. Perhaps God saw as distressed, discontent. No matter. I didn’t have to be perfect. I was perfect for him.
I did the same things still back then: cookie baking, card sending, garden gifting. There was no new result in that field, but there was newness in my heart. Instead of striving for the approval of man, I chose to serve the Lord. That was life before the move, and in the two years of life after I am still cookie baking, card sending, and garden gifting to honor my Lord. I don’t expect to fit, not when I live counter-culture. Two years here, I press on.
1 Do not fret because of those who are evil
or be envious of those who do wrong;
2 for like the grass they will soon wither,
like green plants they will soon die away.
3 Trust in the Lord and do good;
dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
4 Take delight in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
5 Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in him and he will do this:
6 He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn,
your vindication like the noonday sun.
7 Be still before the Lord
and wait patiently for him;
do not fret when people succeed in their ways,
when they carry out their wicked schemes.
8 Refrain from anger and turn from wrath;
do not fret—it leads only to evil.
9 For those who are evil will be destroyed,
but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land.
10 A little while, and the wicked will be no more;
though you look for them, they will not be found.
11 But the meek will inherit the land
and enjoy peace and prosperity. Psalm 37 NIV
Over the weekend a woman who lives nearby walked down my driveway for the first time, sat across from me at the table and was vulnerable. Because of the cookies. Asked for prayer. She called me kind. Jesus sat at the table with us, and I wanted to elbow him and say, “Do you hear this?! You used the cookies! God, you are awesome!”
5 What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task. 6 I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. 7 So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. 8 The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. 9 For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building. 1 Corinthians 3:5-9 NIV
God, you are faithful. You are mighty. You are good. You were all those things before. And you are all those things today. Thank you for taking this offering and doing more with it than I ever could. It’s all you–for you and about you. Thank you for bringing us here. And for calling me yours.
5 responses to “1 Samuel 21, 22; 1 Corinthians 3; Ezekiel 1; Psalm 37”
Being vulnerable is never comfortable, but neither is it weakness 😉
Not one of us belongs to this world; we are children of the Kingdom. Our true identity is found in Him, in our Creator. He made us perfectly, even in our imperfections. He made us who we are-our persona, our likes, our desires. And He made us for such a time as this, to plant seeds of love and compassion to those who truly know Him, to those who ‘say’ they know him, to those who haven’t met Him yet. Those seeds (or better yet, cookies) grow into fruit whether we get to see that fruit or not.
We tend to only see the here and now, to be immersed in the experience of those fleeting frustrating moments where it feels like we don’t belong, we’re not accepted (when I’m in India, it happens every day) , feeling pain, discouragement, depression, anger, fear. However, God sees the big picture, the whole picture. We simply have to remember (sometimes easier said than done) that we DO belong, in those moments, in those places, with those people. We are there to plant the seeds that WILL eventually produce fruit. We ARE accepted; accepted by the One who gave us the task of sowing seeds.
I am proud to join you as one of David’s ‘Mighty Men’ – rejected by the world; yet chosen by He-who-is-Greater-than-the-world.
P.S. Your cookies ARE a heavenly experience, a demonstration of care and compassion. My heart is full of little cookie ‘trees’ bearing ‘fruit’.
I started reading Brene Brown’s book, Daring Greatly. I only read the intro and it is undoing me as well. I can relate to your story about the cookies. I am amazed how God will go out of His way to show us He can use us, especially when it is in an area where we are gifted. I had an experience like that recently. I was feeling left out and than a few months later God unexpectedly put me in a situation to use those same gifts, but in a different way.
@Julie: I’m starting to see life and my place in it very differently. It helps me not to take things as personally anymore. Thanks for your response and perspective. I totally agree. And thanks for the compliments on my cookies. I sure miss having you at my table.
@Amy: I’m on a waiting list at the library for Daring Greatly. I can’t wait to get it. There’s a saying that I never really liked or agreed with, to the effect of: “if God says no, it’s because he has something better in mind.” Maybe there’s something to it after all. I just love thinking how Sunday morning, I had no idea what was to come, but he did. And I can almost imagine his joy in anticipation of my jaw hitting the floor.
I want to read this book now that you are referring to! I love how God uses the simplest of things, such as cookies (with a secret recipe twist thrown in of course) to not just be a physical feeding but used as spiritual nourishment as well! I know that I hide behind a wall many times as to avoid being completely spilled out and vulnerable to God. It’s as if I am holding on to “my stuff”, but when I follow His leading and take that step of allowing yet another piece of me to be chipped away and molded in His image, the result is smoother and brighter and I then can be used even more for what I’m designed to be for His will. If you had just held on to those cookies and not had a humble open listening heart, you possibly may have missed out on a chance to “be Jesus” to this neighbor. Personally speaking, the cookies you also shared with me changed my life completely, and I envision a cookie crunch land where the chocolate chip seeds have been planted and big trees have grown up overflowing with more cookies for everyone to not just enjoy physically, but spiritually as well. I also see the entire cookie making process as a spiritual journey. Add a few ingredients here, throw in a dash of that there, combine together properly and scoop out on pan and bake…If one step or one ingredient were left out or I did not allow the dough to bake the right amount of time then the result would be distasteful. So it is with spiritual lives. I pray for God to open me and add His ingredients, pour His love in, heap “dashes” of grace/mercy, and mix me so that everything I have been given can effectively be blended and then placed in “His oven” for the EXACT AMOUNT OF TIME ACCORDING TO HIS WILL! When he is the ultimate baker in my life nothing will come out distasteful! Bless you sweet friend for your WARM HEART and the way it is being used to MELT the “chips” in those around you!