mis·fit – noun \ˈmis-ˌfit also ˌmis-ˈfit\

: a person who is different from other people and who does not seem to belong in a particular group or situation
:  something that fits badly
:  a person who is poorly adapted to a situation or environment

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Every year during high school I went to a spring youth conference at Taylor University, where I would later graduate with a bachelor’s degree. I discovered the conference when some older friends had gone to college there and invited me back. It was a place to connect with other Christian teenagers, to experience college life for a weekend, and to connect with God.

Sometimes, though, connecting with God seemed a little less obvious than the motivating speakers, the small group leaders, and even the other teenagers made it seem. When I wasn’t checking out the good looking Christian guys, I did everything I could to feel that connection with God. When the speakers asked us to close our eyes, I did. When the small group leaders asked us to share our thoughts, I always went first. Every year during the last morning session, I walked down the aisle to rededicate my life. But often during the long ride home, I would struggle to know if I had encountered God at all.

Since those high school years when I was still new to faith, I often have felt a surge of emotion or tingles down my spine or a deep peace that I knew was God speaking to me, however fantastical that may sound. But more often than not, when others seem so certain, so convinced, so charged up because of their faith, I find that I often have to believe without the benefit of assurance.

And apparently, I am not alone. In her book, Spiritual Misfit: A Memoir of Uneasy Faith, Michelle DeRusha writes:

“When I found myself disheartened by my lack of an emotionally charged faith, I figured I had two choices. I could obsess over why I didn’t feel a connection to God in my heart and why I was never moved to tears by my love for Jesus, or I could simply continue to put one foot in front of the other. I could try to figure out the next step in my faith journey and move forward.”

Misfit

In fact, at the heart of Michelle’s story is a progression from asking “why?” about faith to eventually asking, “why not?”

“That day in the airport I began to understand that belief in God encompasses something bigger, broader, deeper, and stronger than I’d realized, something that can’t be neatly packaged and reasonably rationalized,” Michelle writes. “Not only did I begin to understand a belief in God as altogether something more than I could ever fully define, contain, or pin down, I began to accept and embrace this understanding, in spite of the fact that it didn’t fit well with my everything-has-a-place-and-an-order-and-a-rational-explanation expectations. As a result, I began to live more fully and freely in the ‘Why not?'”

Michelle’s new book is available beginning today. If you’ve ever wondered whether belief and doubt can coexist, this book is for you.

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WORD COUNT: 480

2d6eab18-a681-4013-ab3f-74c0f54e5b7dTo celebrate the launch of Michelle’s book, I am hosting a book give-away. By leaving a comment on this blog post, subscribing to receive my blog posts in your inbox, or emailing me a story from your own faith journey by noon, Monday, April 21, you will be entered to win a copy of Spiritual Misfit. The winner will be announced in next Tuesday’s Word of the Week post.

Also, you might be interested in reading more about my own spiritual misfit story. I recently was a guest blogger at Michelle’s place, telling my own story of coming to realize that I am His BELOVED misfit. Follow the link to read more about caged birds, spiritual resumes, and the doubts I live with in the midst of faith.

And join me on my blog this Thursday for a special interview with Michelle about writing Spiritual Misfit and other matters about uneasy faith.

Photo by Michelle DeRusha, used with permission. Definitions of my word of the week are from Merriam-Webster Dictionary Online.

*This website uses “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” Also, I received a complimentary preview copy of Michelle’s book, but any endorsements, reviews, or comments about the book are my own opinion and were not influenced by the author. The book I am giving away was purchased by me.