Finally, The Perfect Fit

 Sunday, October 5, 2008

Finding the place where you belong is like finding the perfect shoe, or outfit. After a long day of hunting you finally see it, you try it on and its the perfect fit. That's how I view my experience with church. I can say that I've finally found a place that fits me, who I am, and what God is cultivating me to be for His glory and not my own. It took me a while to find that perfect fit for me. After some disappointing moments in my life I wanted to give up and call it a day, content to concede defeat and give up. For quite a while I had that awkward feeling of not fitting in anywhere, belonging anywhere. After me and Richard married in 1996, we began the hunt for a church home. But it seemed that every church we attended I never truly felt like I belonged. I wasn't like the others. I don't like Jane Austen novels, not a big fan of homeschooling my children, not particularly interested in scrap booking,....basically my cultural identity was extremely different from my counterparts. And by the same token, while I love the freedom of growing up in the black church, ie worshiping, praising, and soulful gospel...I grew tiered of the same old name it and claim it philosophy that has permeated the black church. Now, not all black churches are like that, but so many of them are. Because I'm black I'm expected to vote for Obama, like T.D. Jakes, and Juanita Bynum, and others. I'm expected to shout when the minister raises his voice, expected to dance when the organ plays. For a long time I felt like I was in limbo, caught between two worlds. I'm not a fan of T.D. Jakes or others who preach the name it and claim it false gospel. When I visit my mother's church, upon her request, there isn't a moment that goes by where I'm not srcreaming inside my head at the absurdity of it all. There was no where that I fit in. No one that I could identify with, and none that could identify with me. But at the same time they were like me, understood me, my struggles...understood what others could not. I used to miss that. If there is only 4 black people in the room, we gravitate to one another. Why?, because we can indentify with each other without condemnation, without expecting to leave behind our culture. Those of us who choose not to go to the traditional black church feel as though we are being stripped of our culture. I know that I'm not the only woman of color out there who has struggled with this. And I know many are struggling.

When you find that perfect fit you'll know. It's like a spring breeze washing over your body with the fragrance of lavendar. Thank you Radius church, for allowing me to be me.....finally the perfect fit.


:..Rebekah..: October 6, 2008 at 7:29 AM  

Yay! I's so happy for you Evette, and so glad that you and Rich are on the same page and doin' it together. The church thing has been such a difficult thing, and I think it's because of the times we are living in and the condition of the the church in America. There's alot of lukewarmness in the american church, and there are alot of changes in the world. Many churches are ignoring the changes and not looking beyond themselves and their ways of doing things. Then there are so many churches where complacency reigns. We are so comfy in America, and church has become too comfy. We don't grieve over the lost, we don't seek God's face or seek to do his will passionately. We're just too busy, and things are going pretty well anyway, right.....Sorry, I'm rambling. But, this is something I've dealt with, and I've been SO discouraged, but I think that God is showing me something through it, you know, and it's alright. Not being content with the condition of the church is o.k. if it drives me to Him. Lacking contentment shows me that I'm alive and that maybe by God's grace I'm not swimming in lukewarm waters. My heart is grieved, stirred, and passionate about what the Bride of Christ should be...what I want to be in Him. I'm wanting to blog more about this as I understand more of God is showing me, and your post helped me to get some of what I'm thinking out. Again, I'm so glad you've found your fit!

P.S. Your blog looks great!

Evette October 6, 2008 at 2:32 PM  

Thanks Rebekah. You are so right about the condition of the church. It just seems that more and more people are just content with getting their increase, or what word the prophet has for them in regards to more money, and material things. I know it grieves Christ that the church has become neither hot nor cold, and no longer seek his face but the benefits. Thanks for sharing.

laundrygirl October 6, 2008 at 7:49 PM  

Ok, so first I want to apologize. My comment could indeed be a blog post - it's so long.
I read this last night and yet I needed time to reflect upon it.

I can identify with the awkwardness of finding a place where you belong. While I have been a Christian for many years, I did not attend church for a long time and the when I did, I struggled to find a place where I felt a sense of belonging. For Derek and I both, this has been a struggle and yet I think we just may have found a church where we can grow. (Frankly we know we will never find the “perfect” church because it does not exist and we as Christians are not perfect people so that said - we have found a place were we feel pretty good and can grow and find roots.)

As for belonging, it has been pretty awkward to try and make friends. I tend to meet lots of moms who don’t understand why I don’t have and don’t necessarily want children. Like you I don’t scrapbook, am not into Jane Austen novels (like my sister-in-law) and basically am coming from an entirely different place as a black woman and as a city girl now living in the suburbs.

And as for the black church, I don’t know if I necessarily felt comfortable there either. The emphasis on clothing and “acting good and holy” on a Sundays bothered me. I somehow felt self-conscious. I felt like an outsider watching a show more times than a little… As you spoke about generalizations, a funny thought came to mind. Why do some people assume that all black people will like the same things and that all black people will identify with each other because of their racial background? All whites don’t like the same things or one another, or all Chinese, Mexicans or fill in the nationality… I do feel a certain feeling of being known culturally at times with other black people and most definitely with my own family yet the three or four other black people at my church are not my friends and they actually avoid me as if I represent what they are running away from. ( And they have yet to find out if this assumption is true because they avoid even saying hello.)

And as for my identity, I often wonder if it is being stripped away here in my mostly white world but then again I also feel like I am blacker than ever because I’m just being me. Being me involves being a black woman with all of my racial issues and different perspectives on the world, with my hair and my ashy arms and legs, with all of my stuff that can never be washed away no matter how hard I try to fit into a crowd. And so I am ok with that and find that rather than worrying about losing something I spend more time just trying to be true to who I am.

And so with all that I have said and all that you have given me to think about, my question is this – What is it that makes you feel at home at Radius Church? I’d love to hear about how this sense of belonging has evolved and all of your thoughts about this subject of belonging.

Kristina October 9, 2008 at 7:11 PM  

When i get emotional, i cry...i'm crying. ;-) Crying tears of joy quite frankly, because when we began our journey of finding a fit, we had to find Jesus first and who we are in Him---then we found how He wished to express Himself in and only one of those ways is through the doors opened in the expression of His church in general at Radius Church in SC and here now in hear folks say they feel God being sought at Radius and feel like they fit is music to my ears along with edification the soul needed to drink. In this time of tearful praise and prayer, my heart still aches for all who are seeking and sadly directed to lies and non-truth, places where there is no life and no one teaching the Way(Jesus)--All in the name of knowledge!
The countless nights we have prayed and grieved over souls in darkness-hoping we could gently shine some Light not to blind someone like the front light of an oncoming train and make folks jump out of their skin, but to turn the light on---maybe like i do to wake our boys in the morning by turning one on in the hallway or in the bathroom--where just enough shines to let them know they are not alone to not fear, but time to come alive and wake their sleepy heads!
...maybe that's what radius is, a certain expression of Jesus' Light a soft inviting and welcoming light---just enough to draw folks to truth, love and the Way---then move on from there??? Maybe go deeper in one of our neighborhood churches or in a sister specific denominational church.
Who knows what God will do through our simple small group of faith and fun! I'm looking forward to it staying a smaller group or growing to whatever size God wants as long as we are abiding in Him and making His Kingdom expand somehow...if we stayed 30-80(depending on what Sunday) LOL!!!! and if we can allow the Holy Spirit to work a place of rest/refuge or hospital for folks and then send them to shine Light and Love on the world individually or in other expressions of His church then great! We'll be doing what He asks. I guess it all starts with me, i have to seek, find and then obey as i find and hear from Him...thank God He meets me where i am (today was one of those days that if He wasn't God, it would have been very difficult to find me...ever had one of those?)

Love the new look! Still praying for all you have confided in me lady...keep seeking and finding and to hear God stories!

Anonymous,  September 12, 2009 at 1:28 AM  

Competely understand....Mine is almost the same..but yet opposite..We've not found a church we both feel comfortable in. Still praying on this one...and I hope you will be praying for us too!

Evette September 12, 2009 at 6:15 AM  

It's so hard. But we have a great group of friends that we meet with on Wednesday nights. We've been meeting at each others homes for 2 years.

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