Set Apart or Set Aside?

As I am reading Lysa TerKeurst’s book “Uninvited” I came across a statement that is so resounding in me, I had to jot some thoughts down before I kept reading.

“There is something wonderfully sacred that happens when a girl chooses to realize that being set aside is actually God’s call for her to be set apart.”

I’m only reading this book because I was having one of those super-down and utterly low moments that evolved into days. To be honest, in times like this, it is hard to know what to pray. Worship seems insincere. I felt completely unconnected at church. This was a heart issue and I needed time to process.

Because I am writing a book, I went to the book store for inspiration on cover design and interior formatting. While browsing through consistent bursts of tears, shame because I was crying in a bookstore, and then frustration because I allowed myself to feel so low…I came across this bi-line “Living Loved when you feel less than, left out, and lonely.” Oh my goodness, so my life right now…or at least the reality I had set in on for the last few days that led to this utterly low moment. I ended my research for design inspiration, bought the book, and didn’t even make it out of the parking lot before I started.

I needed a rescue.
I needed a way out.
I knew my emotions were out of control.
I knew my heart was aching.
I knew the reality wasn’t truth but I just couldn’t reconcile the two.
I knew I needed to hear from someone who knew exactly what I was going through.
Without even going looking for it, I found it!
Thank you Lysa! This book, if for no one else, was most assuredly for me!

I used to love the phrase “it’s going to get worse before it gets better.” Usually the response I’d give my mom after she came into my room 15 minutes after telling me to clean it. Somewhere along the pursuit of picking things up, I’d discover something new and my creative juices would start flowing; of course, stopping all progression of cleaning and usually unearthing a whole new mess of clutter to follow the perfectly creative vein that just crossed my imagination.

Life has continued this way. The more I grow in my relationship with God, the more underlying mess He has shown me, by His grace, so I can begin to allow Him to pick up the pieces and making something beautiful again out of them. Some things He desires to keep and just put in its right place, other things He shows me I’ve outgrown and need to part with. Once again life has gotten untidy and super messy and while I’m sorting through the laundry of my life I begin to sort out the things I love with the ones that simply don’t fit anymore.

I know that the belief that “I am not loved” is worn out with holes – not the trendy kind either. “I am rejected” doesn’t fit anymore. “I am unwanted” has faded and “I am not good enough” has long been too small. But they all have seemed to linger in my closet like that shirt I bought at such a great deal but never wore because it never really suited me. I hang it up for the day I just may need it, taking up space but still coming up short when I realize I have nothing to wear! Can you relate? Oh my heavens!

All of these old trends seem to scream at me from the closet of my insecurity, begging me to put htem on and embrace them once more….all at once. As if layers were back in style and I needed to wear 2 under shirts, 1 tee, a vest scarf and jewelry all at the same time. I used to work retail. I know how this goes. Super cute on a mannequin but so expensive to wear every day!

The circumstances that bring these old styles back haven’t changed. My childhood is still my childhood. My past is still my past. My present is still being lived out every day. But somehow through it all, our perspective changes and it’s near about time to just send those old, ratty, too small and faded pieces to the second-hand store…or just straight to the trash.

Easier said than done. I know. I. Know.

So back to the quote that brought all of this up:

“There is something wonderfully sacred that happens when a girl chooses to realize that being set aside is actually God’s call for her to be set apart.”

uninvitedbookMy life has been a lonely life. My parents worked all the time. My sisters were typical big sisters that didn’t want to have anything to do with their younger, dorkier, sibling. I totally crushed their vibe (smile). I was severely bullied at school, like just about every other kid is nowadays. I was the poor kid at a rich elementary school, quiet middle schooler at a large public school, Christian virgin in high school and worked 2 jobs while going to college.  I never got hit on by guys and used to be concerned about it. My sisters are now both married to senior pastors of churches, each with three kids, and life has moved on for them and many more into seasons I feel uninvited.

Maybe you can relate. Even if you’re with people, but don’t feel connected, like Lysa says…you can still feel completely left out and alone.

I know in my heart this has always been intentional. I didn’t always know it but God has whispered to my heart so many times that my alone wasn’t rejection, it was purpose. That somehow if I had gotten caught up in always having a boyfriend, or being pre-occupied with the party goers, or just slammed bsy with social events I would miss…Him. I’d miss what He has interwoven into my life to become.

The call of John the Baptist rings hope in my heart and scares me all at the same time. He wore the bare minimum of life’s comfort but became the greatest of all men. Wow. How did he not get discouraged being alone in the wilderness? I can only imagine it’s because He relied totally on God to be everything he chose to give up for the call.

I’m not there yet. I put on hope and faith and trust far more often than I used to…but I can’t say they are my go to ensemble every time. And because God is just that cool, it is my choice. I choose what I wear, how I think, what I choose to dwell on, the paths of thought I follow, and the emotions I allow to dictate my mood. I choose.

If I choose that ratty old “I am not loved” pair of jeans, I’m sure to feel like crap as long as I’m wearing them, muffin top and all. Or I can pull out my faithful, best fitting, most comfortable Big Star jeans that never seem to wear out but are just a bit too long unless I put on my heels. Heels are intentional. And jeans that are just the right length for heels are too long for flip flops.

So be intentional. Because God’s call for your life is that you would be set apart, not set aside.

Guys not hitting on you is not rejection, maybe it’s God saving you from fulfilling your need for affirmation the wrong way.
Girls not befriending you is not rejection, maybe it’s God’s protection from compromise and comparison.
Parents that didn’t love you well is not rejection, sometimes even with their best attempts they just didn’t know how to do it right.

You once didn’t know what you know now and you will soon understand even more. Holding people accountable to what they should have known how to do, by who they are now, is like grading a first greater on fifth grade material. It will never render the results you were hoping for.

Set apart or set aside?
Your perspective and how you choose to wear it will determine your outcome.

I felt set aside. I am reminded once again that I’m not. I am set apart. And sometimes a reminder is all we need.

Thanks, Lysa, for the reminder and thank you Abba Father for leading my teary-eyed, cloud covered soul to a bi-line of a book that would allow your Son to break through again.

Guess it’s time to head to Goodwill…I have a few things I’m ready to let go of. How about you?

In this with you,
Shelley
.
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I encourage you to read the book, click the image to get your copy!

uninvitedbooks
I was not paid to recommend or review this book or it’s author.

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