For the longest time I have always had the feeling of never fitting in anywhere I would go. The older I get, the stronger that feeling seems to grow. This theme of not fitting in pops up the more I speak with others. It wasn’t until recently that I heard someone give it a name; ‘Church Misfit’.
This is an interesting topic for a believer. I find that some people are terrified of being a Church Misfit while others would not have it any other way. What makes someone a ‘misfit’ to begin with? Do they refuse to follow a certain set of american church rules in order to fit in? Do they refuse to listen to a certain type of music that is deemed acceptable? Do they refuse to dress a certain way? Are they on the outside because they refuse to solely associate with people of certain class? The questions continue to pile up so fast. As I consider all of this, I realize that it's no wonder people fall away from church. There are so many unspoken expectations that keep many people away for good.
The more I began to reflect on this topic, the more I realized I was one of the misfits, not just because of the shame of my sinful life, but also my distaste for the standard convention of the american church. I didn't like to “fellowship”. I didn't like to worship with my hands raised or worship at all for that matter. I wasn’t thrilled that the church I would eventually make my church home was comprised of mostly caucasian people, which made me feel like a regular misfit from the start.
Over the years I have had dealings with several churches and christian based groups in Austin, Texas, where I live, and it never surprises that I meet some people who accept me, some who tolerate me and others who do not want me around. I have zero control of who will "like" me and have found no clear solution to this issue. So my personal philosophy has been that when I find people who truly care about me - no matter what I've done and will do in the future - I partner with them. As much as I hate to admit it, I know I will eventually need and rely on other Christians for support in every area of my life.
Truth be told, I suppose I was being as picky as the people I claimed to not be able to stand. After struggling with this idea of being a misfit for years, It was clear I had a choice to make - move away from the church all together or take all my hangups and insecurities and move forward with the church I had chosen to attend. I choose to move forward despite all my imperfections and theirs.
So my prayer for people who fell lost in church, left out or just plain forgotten by people in general is that they would stick around a community long enough, like I did, to find a church home that works for them. Seek out people who will love you as you are. The search is not easy; however, the community you are seeking is out there and it will lead you back to very purpose we attend church to begin with - to find Jesus!