Making a place for meaningful connections is the basis of everything I do, whether it’s blogging, speaking, creating a pleasing environment in my home or cooking a delicious meal for my guests. And I realize how noble and selfless that sounds, but trust me, it comes from a very broken place.
A homeless place.
From belonging to the only Italian and Catholic family in my childhood hometown, struggling with my weight, not enjoying parties, never fitting in with the in-crowd, to living in a rented townhouse at an age when we should be burning the mortgage, I have and do struggle to find my place.
How about you? Do you ever feel out of place?
* Maybe, like me, your physical space is not to your liking; perhaps it’s too small, or now that you’re an empty-nester, it feels like an empty hotel.
* It could be your job (or lack of one) that makes you feel displaced. You might be in over your head or under-employed. Maybe your co-workers have more education than you.
* A prolonged health crisis can rob you of your place in life.
* If you are divorced, recently widowed or lost a child, you are probably struggling to find your place in the world alone.
Why is place such a big deal? What does it even mean?
Place refers to where someone (or something) belongs, or is supposed to be.
We all long to belong, don’t we? To be in the right place at the right time, doing the right thing?!
Think of all the ways we talk about this word:
- Take your place
- Save me a place
- Fall into place
- 1st place
- Last place
- She’s going places
- Let’s go to my place
- Stay in your place
- Know your place
- Out of place
- Put someone in their place
- If I were in your place…
- Oh, the places you’ll go!
- A place at the table
I realized a long time ago that my love for hospitality and making people feel welcome came from my own sense of not belonging. Not deserving of a place at the table.
It’s one thing to feel out of place; it’s another to feel like we don’t deserve a place at all. Click To Tweet
This is stuff to take to Jesus (any maybe counseling—been there, done that). But what does the Bible say about it?
Here are some verses to cling to:
He brings us out into a broad place. Ps 18:19 (the word for place here is merchab and means enlargement or liberty)
He is our hiding place. Ps 32:7 (here the word place is cether and means covering or protection)
He brings us to a place of abundance. Ps 66:12 (place of abundance is revayah and means satisfaction, overflows)
He dwells in a high and holy place and also with the contrite and lowly of spirit. Is 57:15 (crushed)
Jesus faced some hard places, too:
Places of temptation Luke 4:1-13
No place to lay his head Matt 8:20
Places of dread and despair (Gethsemane) Matt 26:36
Places of total rejection (Golgotha) Matt 27:33
Happy feeling gone.
But there’s Good News, too!
There IS a place for us. The Promised Place.
“In my Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you, for I go to prepare a place for you. John 14: 2.
I don’t know about you but I can’t wait to see my heavenly place! (Hoping for an Italian villa.)
The other day I read a Twitter comment that said, “Love your place!” The writer was referring to how much he admired the other’s home. I read it as an exhortation:
“Love your place!”
Love it—not because it’s easy, perfect or feels good. In this season of life, my place is a little uncomfortable:
It’s a too-small townhouse, a body that aches from trying to get in shape, feeling like a beginner again with my writing and constantly wondering if I have what it takes, financial insecurity.
Here’s what I’m learning:
4 stages to finding and making peace with your place:
1. Accept it
Wherever you are, you are not there by accident. God’s not up in heaven rolling his eyes at you, either. Graham Cooke says, “God’s not disillusioned with you because He never had any illusions about you in the first place.”
Accepting your place may involve working through some grief and that’s ok. Do the work and don’t let anyone rush you through it. Accept your place but do it with hope for the future.
You're not out of place if God placed you there. Click To Tweet
2. Embrace it
Christine Caine, in her book Unstoppable, says that to thrive, we must learn to embrace our place. “Embracing our place means that no matter what season we are in, or what our circumstances are, we have to see ourselves as important members of God’s divine relay—right where we are.”
She goes on to say that “God is doing a work in you so he can do a work through you. He’s preparing you in the place where you are so he can take you to the place he’s prepared for you to be.”
3. Rest in it
There is work for you to do, no matter what place you find yourself, but sometimes the work is to learn to rest.
Make your lists, do the inner work, hustle, but ask God for the grace to rest in place. Pray, “Holy Spirit, show me where I’m striving, still my restlessness and help me to let go of my need to control the timing and outcome.”
4. Love it
This is the tough one. This hard place you find yourself in—you’ve accepted it, embraced it, even tried to find rest in it. But LOVE? Give me a break.
I know, I know. And no, there’s no Scripture that says you have to love your place.
You don’t have to love it. Neither do I.
We GET to love our place.
In her book, “This is Where You Belong – Finding Home Wherever You Are,” Melody Warnick says, “If you want to love your town you should ACT like someone who loves your town.”
I say, if you want to love your place, act like someone who loves their place.
It’s a decision.
Live like you’ll be in this place forever.
Dwell in the land.
Feed on His faithfulness and cultivate your own faithfulness.
Be fruitful and multiply.
Accepting and embracing your place, resting and learning to love it—yeah, good luck with that on your own. I’m preaching to myself here, you get that, right?
There is a place for you (and for me)… a place where God’s peace and presence may be found. Know where it is?
Right where you are.
It’s unfathomable but true. Accept it.
It’s all by God’s design. Embrace it.
It’s a peaceful place. Rest in it.
God’s in that place. Love it.
Oh, friends, if you’re struggling to find your place, take comfort in this:
If you’re a believer, you already have a place—seated in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. He has brought you to his banquet hall, and his banner over you is love.
I love you. Jesus loves you more.