Misfits and Mongrels

These terms came to me when I was thinking of how much I don’t feel I fit into our church. But looking at the definitions put me in a tail spin. Lets’ look and see.

Misfit, noun, a person whose behavior or attitude sets them apart from others in an uncomfortably conspicuous way.” (Oxford Dictionary)

I was quite surprised to find this word is actually a noun. I expected it to be an adjective. I also didn’t expect it to have anything to do with behavior or attitude. So I looked elsewhere.

I found that Merriam-Webster defines Misfit as something that fits badly or a person who is poorly adapted to a situation or environment.” This makes more sense.

Mongrel, adjective, an individual resulting from the interbreeding of diverse breeds; one of unknown ancestry; a cross between types of persons.” (Merriam-Webster)

Again, I didn’t expect this word to be an adjective maybe because I expected the reference to be the person not their breeding. Let’s see what Oxford has to say.

This is odd, Oxford considers this word a noun and defined as a dog that is a mixture of different types. Well this has all been interesting. Maybe I should change the title?

So Misfits and Mongrels has evolved into something I didn’t expect. Maybe out of my own ignorance of the English language or just being misled by feelings and we all know that feelings can be deceiving. Let me explain.

I am the type of person who can, with little effort, be comfortable and adapt quickly to different situations and in different environments. I don’t mind opening doors to places I’ve never been and such. I see it as a chance to experience something new.

So for me to say I am uncomfortable in church is a huge deal. I have been going to church my whole life. As early as 1st grade I would walk two blocks while my mom stood on the front porch watching to make sure I made it there safe. I felt so grown up and was slightly disappointed to learn later in life that several of my mom’s friends were actually looking out for me.

After my divorce I moved back home to take care of my parents. At that time they were attending a Methodist church. I felt comfortable being with the people and all but uncomfortable because of the differences in beliefs. I enjoyed teaching children and participated in many events and happenings going on.

During this time I was in the process of finishing my Masters in Christian Counseling. One of my Theology classes had me write a paper on the church I was attending. In doing the exercises for writing the paper, I found a few sharp contrasting differences. This made me question attending this church. After several months of praying and studying deeper, I felt called to go back to the church I grew up in, still two blocks away.

So here I am in my childhood church again. At first it felt great. To be in a familiar place thinking the other people would be like me. This brings me back to the title again. It isn’t that the people are rude or anything. It isn’t like the place stinks or is set up awkward. It just doesn’t feel comfortable being there and I don’t know why.

Wait a minute, I just had a thought. When I went there by myself, I didn’t feel like this. Now that my parents and sister have decided to join me, wait, so it isn’t the church after all.

What does this mean?

I can be myself when I attend alone. I don’t have to be showy to anyone. I can smile when I feel like it or look like I’m about to cry and no one judges me there. I don’t have to act a certain way. Now I’m confused. What is it about being with my family that makes me feel uncomfortable in church? Is it that I know their secrets or they know mine? I don’t have any secrets and wouldn’t know where to look for theirs. So that isn’t it. Is it that I know my mom has anger issues or that my sister loves money? That can’t be it either. I’m grabbing for straws in an ocean of uncertainty.

I’m back to the what does this mean question. Good grief.

Best Laid Plans

I enjoyed putting last year to rest. My son’s house fire, actually the year before, their finding a suitable house last year, deaths and illnesses in the family and financial hardships. This year was looking up and looking to be the best year in a long time. USA’s return to human space flight, job advancements, better health test results etc. While the year started out looking great, things quickly changed.

I don’t have to tell you of the challenges this virus mess has brought to all of us. From the lies to the fear to the political bias. Sometimes we feel we are alone and on our own. But…there is hope.

Not being able to do life as normal is something we all took for granted. You can’t join your friends at the local pub for a drink and a bite. You can’t go to work. You can’t even go to church. I’m still not sure whether to think of it all as a necessity or if this has been used as a socialist/communistic type of dry run. I don’t mean to make that sound as bad as it does but I do think there are people out there who take advantage of every opportunity that comes along.

Our little town has also seen an uptick in domestic problems. I’m sure it is that way all over. Spouses are working from home or dealing with being out of work. Kids are learning from home making parents their new teachers and they didn’t sign up for that. Family frustrations grow as money issues continue to grow. Fear of when this will end and how recovery will ever be possible plague almost everyone. But… there is hope.

I also realized my normal depression has shifted to anger when I thought about just quitting, giving up, rolling over, not caring, taking social distancing to a whole new level of becoming somewhat of a hermit. Not worrying about anyone else and just existing because it hurts less. But I didn’t because…there is hope.

I became overwhelmed with trying to keep my parents safe, fed and myself the same. Not to mention two wonderful elderly ladies that live alone that we make sure have plenty of food to eat. I didn’t loose faith, I just got so busy I forgot to give God some of the load and the subsequent glory. Thank God we are all fine and doing well.

God never said if you believe in Me, your life will be easy. Something else He didn’t say specifically was that when you believe in Me, the devil will work harder to draw you away from Me by making you bitter, angry, fearful, disobedient, disrespectful…a hermit and many more.

You can find hope in Jesus Christ. Check out these promises.

God loves us no matter what.

Paul explains “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39, NKJV)

God Promises the result is worth the risk.

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28, NKJV)

God provides strength through faith.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13, NKJV)

We can’t do life alone. We were not designed to do it alone or to be alone. God is the answer and He is fully capable of carrying us when we become too weary to walk on our own. I am living proof.

If you don’t have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, you can.

“How can you know God personally? Only one thing keeps us from Him, and that is our sin. But Christ came to erase our sins by His death on the cross, and as we open our hearts to Him, He comes to live within us. By faith ask Christ to take away your sins and come into your life today—and He will. Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me” (John 10:14). (courtesy of billygraham.org)”