I stood looking at the room full of tables. Most were still empty. A few had a handful of women seated and chatting, as more women trickled into the room. I stood off to the side, hovering near my display table as though it was my safety zone.
I had been graciously invited to be a guest at a women’s event at a local church and to have an information table to share about House of Hope. There would be over 100 women in attendance. This was not only a great opportunity to introduce women to the ministry, it also promised to be a wonderful time of encouragement and fellowship. There was one problem.
I was frozen, stuck there by my table with my smiling mask, acting as though I belonged there. But that’s not how I felt. If I were asked to stand in front of these 100 women and speak for 30 minutes, it would be no problem. However, to ask me to mingle with a large group of women that I don’t know was another story.
I felt all the familiar feelings: awkward, uncertain, and insecure. I heard the familiar accusation- You think you belong here? You think you can just walk up to these women and be accepted. Hah! You are an outsider, and you always will be.
So what now? In the past, this is the point where, at best, I would wait for someone to initiate or invite, someone else to give me permission to enter in. But not this time. Now, I know better. Now, I have tasted truth, tasted freedom.
I listened to my feelings of fear and insecurity. It didn’t take long to trace them back to that old ugly lie trying to regain control of my identity: you don’t belong. I spoke the truth into that place. I am not an outsider. I am chosen and accepted by God. Not only has Jesus chosen to love me and redeem me, He has chosen to indwell me.
I expressed my gratitude that Jesus in me is not at all awkward, uncertain, or insecure. I live united with Christ, who is never the outsider. On the contrary, He is at the very center:
All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. Colossians 1:16b-17
So, I released Him. I released Jesus in me to move among these women. I rested in remembering that my presence there was not about me! Nothing could touch my standing as His chosen beloved. I felt the fullness of His approval and acceptance of me, just as I am. And from that place of belonging, I let Jesus come to the party through me and stepped away from the display table to love these women, that they might know more fully that they are also chosen and beloved of the Lord.