“I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born, I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations.” Jeremiah 1:5 NLT
For most of my life, I felt as if I didn’t fit in. Whether it would be with my family, friends, or church, there never seemed to be a place just for me.
I am the youngest of three girls. My sisters have the same father, so before I was even born, I was already different. My sisters generally had a closer relationship with each other than with me. I was the annoying little sister they always had to look after. To be honest, I was annoying on purpose. Just like they didn’t want me tagging along, I didn’t want to go with them either because I felt out of place with them.
Out of my sisters, I got the best grades, and from a very early age was labeled my mother’s “smartest” child. While some would say that’s a good label to have, it often felt like a burden to me. My sisters could come in with bad grades, and though my mother would be upset, from what I saw, they wouldn’t get in much trouble. But, let me come in with a “C”, and it would be WWIII! Now that I’m older, I understand my mother knew I had more in me. However, when I was younger, I felt as if I could never fail. And yet, another reason for me to feel different.
I was bullied most of the way through school. Mostly, due to my weight. Food was comfort to me. To be real, it was an addiction. It was a safe place to run to when kids, and even family, teased me for often being the biggest one in class. I was never the pretty girl of my group of friends. I was more like the mom of the group who always looked after everyone and made sure they were okay. But, even in these groups of friends, and I use that term lightly, I still could never find my place. I just felt like I always stood out for something. Whether it would be for my quirky ways, my style, again my weight, or being the church girl, I never found my true place.
If feeling different in my family and group of friends wasn’t bad enough, my teachers would also set me apart in class. I was on the honor roll mostly through school, except for the first two years of high school, but that’s another sermon for another day. I was always either the first or second in my class. Always designated the leader of group projects. And, if everyone else in the class was doing the wrong thing, I would always get called out for it. Again, adding another reason of why I felt I couldn’t find my place in the world around me.
I was raised in church, but I really didn’t know God. I got “saved” at six, and that was only because I didn’t want to be left out of my friends who had joined the church the same day as me. Even though I didn’t take church seriously, even within my group of church friends, I took it more seriously than them. As if there was just something in me that just wouldn’t let me goof off as much as I wanted to. Which I now know was the Holy Spirit. One day in the summer of 2017, I finally surrendered to Christ in the bathroom at work. Again, another sermon for another day. That day forever changed my life and would start me on a journey of figuring out why I could just never find my place.
One day during my quiet time, I was venting to God about why I’m the way I am, and how bad I just wanted to feel included. He spoke so strongly and clearly, to me saying “Elisha, I never called you to fit in. I called you to live set apart for Me!” He then took me to Jeremiah 1:5, and everything became so clear. Mind you, I’ve heard this verse a thousand times, but I got a fresh revelation this day.
To give a quick background on the scripture: God spoke this to Jeremiah, who is known as the “Weeping Prophet.” God called Jeremiah at a young age to deliver the Word of the Lord to not only Israel, but also the nations surrounding them. Jeremiah was young when he received his called, and of course like any young person, he pushed back against God.
“Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity.” 1 Timothy 4:12 NLT
When I studied this scripture more, the words that stood out to me were set apart. The Hebrew meaning of set apart means to be consecrated, dedicated, sanctified, or holy for God. Essentially, Jeremiah was made different for God’s specific purpose. And, so was I.
As I sit and reflect on my life, I now understand why I was set apart from those around me. God had his hand on me even then. Even now I sit here writing this blog, God reminded me how to this day, He still has me set apart. From working in a career that’s predominantly worked by Caucasian men, where I’m currently the only African American on my direct team. To the personal convictions I have that are different than those in my household. It’s funny because my (god)parents were talking about how I’m such an old soul to be so young yesterday (the day before I wrote this blog). And while the enemy tried to get down about the way I was, and feel insulted by their comments, that Reassuring Voice spoke to me and said, “I made you this way on purpose!”
So now, I accept that I’m not meant to fit in. And as Jeremiah did for Israel, I’ll use my voice to tell every little girl, college student, and woman who never felt like they could fit in, that they are set apart for Christ!
TO CONNECT WITH ELISHA ON :