by Tim Howard
Back in 1982 a television show called ‘Cheers’ debuted and ran for 11 successful seasons. It displayed a pub where people gathered frequently and revealed a camaraderie that was desirous by all who watched. It was a place where everyone knew each other’s name and a place where people felt like they belonged and ‘fit.’ It’s something we all desire!
If you’ve ever been in a place where you felt like an outsider looking in rather than an insider looking around, you know what I mean.
Finding a right fit with other people is more complicated than finding clothes that fit you properly. If you are like me, you can go shopping for clothes and find the article you need and one that fits in a matter of minutes. My wife, however, will often visit 7 to 10 stores, shop for 7 to 10 hours and spend more than 7 to 10 dollars before she finds 1 to 2 articles of clothing that is acceptable and fits properly to her specific taste. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with that - Just in case my wife is reading this! Finding a right fit in the clothing arena, however, is a lot easier than finding a fit with other individuals.
Why is it so hard to find relationships that fit us, to make meaningful connections with people? To find a place where you feel like you belong? Part of the answer may be wrapped up in unrealistic expectations. Here are 5 things you can’t expect if you want to find your fit.
1. You can’t expect everybody to like you. It’s unrealistic! St. John chapter 1 tells us that Jesus came to His own people and was rejected by many. There were some, however, who received Him and to those He began a relationship. Give people the freedom to choose without coercion, force, pressure or manipulation. You don’t need everyone to like you!
2. You can’t expect to get something when you give nothing. It’s unrealistic! There are too many takers in the world. Life is about giving - not only getting. Ephesians 5:2, “walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.” When you are a giver, you become a fragrance that attracts rather than an odor that offends.
3. You can’t expect to fit in by trying to be someone else. Even if you do find a place that accepts you, there will never be a sense of belonging because the one they embrace isn’t the real you.
4. You can’t expect people to embrace you when you make everything about YOU. People don’t fit because they often think life is all about them. With one small exception, life is all about others. Philippines 2:3-4 “ Don’t be selfish; don’t live to make a good impression on others. Be humble, thinking of others as before yourself. Don’t think only about your own affairs, but be interested in others, too, and what they are doing.
5. You can’t expect people to care about you, if you don’t really care about them. The old cliché: “No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.” It’s true!
Your chances of finding a place where you fit like that which is portrayed on Cheers increases when you have expectations that are realistic.
Why not check out one of the many Church families in Kings County this weekend. You might find a place where you fit!