I’d be away from home for several days.
I boarded a plane, traveled hundreds of miles to spend a weekend in what I hoped to be a reunion of sorts, at a conference with new friends. I anticipated deep, heartfelt conversations and growing friendship. With suitcase in hand, I nearly skipped through the airport. It was going to be a great trip.
Not so much. Instead a soul-filling, I spent three days watching my confidence drain. In a place filled with the sounds of relationship, I was invisible. Like a marble in a pinball game, I ricocheted from person to person, trying to find a place at their tables, squeeze into the conversation and relationship.
It didn’t work. The more I tried, the tighter they linked hands. I was caught in a painful game of Red Rover, me running full force, yet unable to break through prior bonds. While they held on to each other, I sat alone.
What’s wrong with me?
After a couple days, my self-esteem was in shreds. I called my husband, needing to hear someone say, “You have a place, Michele. Here, with me.” I returned to the airport, bruised, limping. My flight couldn’t depart fast enough; I was desperate for the shield of home.
Still, something changed as the plane took me closer to safety. Conviction replaced rejection. For days, I’d spent my best self trying to be seen and worthy, trying to hide my flaws and be good enough. Trying to establish my place.
And as I strained to find my seat at their tables, I ignored others looking for theirs.
Then I thought of Mephibosheth, a prince turned cripple, hiding in his home. You’d think being crippled would make it impossible to be invisible. The thing you want to hide is the very reason people can’t take their eyes off you. But flaws often blind us to the person.
Until Kind David started looking for the one he’d missed. Rather than having eyes for the glitzy and glamorous, he searched for someone lost needing to be found. When he found him, he did something about it:
Mephibosheth … shall always eat at my table. (2 Sam. 9:10)
The words of a king to the heart of a cripple. Just like that, Mephibosheth found his place. It was settled.
You and I, we want to be seen. So we work hard, show our best selves, hide our limp. Anxious to fit in, we move from one circle to another, always struggling and searching for an empty chair. But there’s a problem:
It’s the wrong chair.
The King already has a place with your name on it. And one with mine. He looked for the lost needing to be found. And when he found you and me, He said:
Eat at my table.
The words of a King to the heart of a cripple.
I’m tired of spending my best self to find a chair at a lesser table. I have a place, established and firm. So do you. We no longer need to struggle and strain to squeeze into certain relationships and circles. This isn’t where we’re supposed to pull up a chair anyway.
Instead, as we love and lead, let’s you and I settle into the one chair made for us. Established, once and for all. Only then will we have eyes for the invisible. In a world of Mephibosheths, I want my voice to be a David’s and my table filled with the lost. Crippled misfits called by a King. Including me.
If that’s you, pull up a chair. You have a place here. With me.
Now, pull out a chair for someone else.
Do you ever struggle to fit in?