I just returned from a conference in New York City. While I learned a lot, was presented with some excellent opportunities, and enjoyed the experience, it didn’t take much of all-night noise, bustling crowds, loud voices, honking horns, sirens, and words that came at me faster than my southern ears could process to know New York is place where I don’t fit in. When my alarm sounded at 2:00 a.m. Sunday morning for my 6:00 a.m. flight, I pried my eyelids open and rolled out of bed with the knowledge I was headed toward green grass, gentle breezes, quietness punctuated by birdsong, languid speech, and family. I was going home where I belong.
Sometimes, stepping outside the familiar and pushing forward to try new things is good and bold and necessary. Other times, we shoehorn ourselves into experiences that really aren’t an ideal fit, with people or in places that rub a blister, pinch a toe, and aren’t exactly the plan for our lives. So how can you recognize a good fit?
Does it feel right?
Often we agree to do things for the wrong reasons. Perhaps, what we’re asked to do makes us feel important, included, or in control. But if the place you’re trying to fit in takes time away from family, produces stress, negates rest, and takes you away from your real calling, it’s not a proper fit. If you are in tune with that “still small voice” of warning and direction, you’ll avoid doing what seems good and then finding yourself unavailable when God’s best for you comes along.
Does is go against your beliefs?
Recently, I was offered an good opportunity. However, there was a problem. One element was in opposition to what I believe. I had to decline because I can’t compromise on what is central to my core beliefs and my faith.
Does is cause you to change?
While changing to better yourself in some area is beneficial, altering who you are in order to fit in is a red flag you don’t really belong. If you have to change the way you dress, think, act, or believe to be accepted, move on.
Does it fit your gifts and talents?
Sometimes we look around and see others who seem to have it all. They are blessed with one opportunity after another for success or recognition or wealth while we stand on the sidelines and think why doesn’t that ever happen to me? We are all endowed with gifts and talents, even if they seem hidden at the moment. Take time to assess where your gifts lie. Think of what comes easily for you, what brings you joy, and provides a sense of fulfillment. Then consider ways to put that gift into action. Find your fit, one that doesn’t pinch toes, add anxiety, or cause you to change your beliefs or the person God created you to be. Slide into it, and experience the comfort of knowing you’re where you belong.
“I alone know the plans I have for you, plans to bring you prosperity and not disaster, plans to bring about the future you hope for.” (Jeremiah 29:11 GNT)