Friday, October 5, 2012
A Jigsaw versus a Body
When my family arrived in Australia (almost 14 years ago now), one of the first things we did was to hunt for a church to join. Every Sunday, we’d visit a different church. Having worshipped in the Baptist church since my husband and I were married, we were drawn to three Baptist churches in the area. One was very large, one was very small and one was in between. After some thought and prayer and several visits, we felt that the Tea Tree Gully Baptist church would suit our little family best.
The people were friendly and welcoming. We enjoyed the worship. The children’s programs were great – an important consideration for our eight year old son. A wide range of ages was represented in the flock, from bonnie bouncing babies to wise white-haired elders. And yes, the size of the church was just right! Our first years there were happy ones and I soon made a few friends. Every Sunday morning after service, I sipped my morning cup of tea while enjoying a blessed time of fellowship with them.
The services strengthened me greatly in my faith and so I looked forward to my Sunday mornings. One Sunday, I looked for my friends but they weren’t to be found. To my consternation, I heard that they had decided to leave TTGBC. I was very sad. I’d grab my cuppa and look for someone else to chat to – but often I’d not find anyone. My cup of morning tea didn’t taste the same.
It was embarrassing to hang around sipping tea, while around me swarmed lots of chattering people. I rate myself as friendly rather than unfriendly, but I can be painfully shy. I hate to butt into other people’s conversations. And so – I started to feel very lonely in church. A misfit. A bit like the piece needed to finish a jigsaw puzzle but the wrong shape, size and colour for it! I have to admit that there followed a period of several years, when I was often tempted to leave our church.
Why did I stay on? Simply because each time I wanted to leave and sought God about it, He said ‘No’. And who was I to resist God?
Some years later our church moved. Guess where! Right near our home. We now had less than a five minute walk to get to church. What luxury! We loved the new building – a modern spacious one. It was situated right next door to my son’s school. How easy it was to get there. Very simple too to get to my volunteer job at church, now only a hop step and a jump away unlike the earlier 1 ½ hours away by bus. Wonderful!
Little by little I got to know the church folks and they me. I began to make friends. When we went through difficult seasons, our pastors blessed us greatly by their support, their encouragement and their prayers. I became very active as a church volunteer as we ministered to the community. I began to feel a delicious sense of belonging. I didn’t even mind if I had no one to talk to after service. But you know what? I usually found plenty of people to chat to, with our without my tea cup in hand!
Yes, I finally belonged. It was an awesome feeling. How thankful I was to God that He didn’t allow me to leave when I pestered Him about it. How thankful that I’d obeyed Him. I thanked God that my church, its pastors, its flock and it’s worship had added much richness into my life.
We writers are part of a Christian Writing Community aren’t we? Do we need each other? Yes, of course we do. Yes, you and I do need each other. And you know, collectively we can make a far bigger difference to our world far more than we could ever do as individuals. At church last Sunday, the sermon spoke clearly to me. The preacher talked about the difference between fitting in and in belonging.
She said that if we try to ‘fit in’, it means we need to change.
But if we “belong” it means that we may come as we are.
Isn’t that lovely? We writers belong. We don’t need to change who we are or what we do. We don’t need to “fit in” to a jigsaw puzzle of writers. One of us might write romance stories; another mystery novels. One might write non fiction and one may write short stories. One writer may be a children’s writer while another writes YA novels. It doesn’t matter that we don’t all write the same genre of books. In fact, it’s preferable we don’t. We need variety in the body. That way, we can fulfil the niche in the Christian market by joining together to provide the variety of books that are needed to serve our world.
Do you feel you belong? In your family, in your community, in your church and in our writer’s group? Belonging is such a vital part of life. We were all made to belong.
A jisaw puzzle has to fit in just right. The pieces have to be exactly the correct shape, the right pattern, the right colour. Thankfully God has not called us to be a giant jigsaw puzzle. No, He has called us to be a body – each with a special function. We all have diferent aspects of life to bring to the body. As individuals we contribute. Through our strengths; through our backgrounds; through our experiences; through our knowledge; through our writing; through our giftings; through our walk with God.
If one person suffers, we all suffer. If one rejoices, we all rejoice.
1 Corinthians 12 reminds us that we are all important in the body of Christ. The eye cannot say it doesn’t need the foot. The hand cannot say it doesn’t care about the kidney. The nose cannot say the ear is not important. We have all been touched by His grace and redeemed. Redeemed to sing the praises of Him who called us all out of darkness into His marvellous light.
Do you sometimes feel a misfit? Please remember that you don’t need to change your ‘shape’ to fit in. In the Kingdom of God, everyone belongs. It’s a promise from the Master Himself. And He's the head of the body isn't He? He should know!
Yes, my friend, you can come as you are. You belong!
Anusha loves playing with the English Language and also loves connecting with people. She's blessed to be part of this wonderful writing community Down under who seek to lift God's name through what we were created to do. You will see her sitting on her garden swing enjoying God's creation, typing away at her much loved computer or drinking in the beauty of her world as she walks around her beautiful neighbourhood.
You can also visit her at her website Dancing in the Rain:
Her first book 'Enjoying the Journey' was published in June 2010. She hopes there will be many more hitting the bookshelves in the not too distant future!