When I was in my twenties, I did not fit because I was single. Everyone around me was married by the age of 21. It was like a team sport in my church. “No problem,” I thought, “It will just take me a little longer to find the right person. There’s no urgency anyway.”
I stopped thinking that in my late twenties. Everyone around me was not only married but onto having their third child. Meanwhile, I was 29 and painfully unmarried. “Ok,” I reflected, “Now it’s a problem.” All the guys I knew were married. I had no-one on the horizon; no dates and no hope. Like the proverbial square peg, I did not fit.
But God used my unfitness. He inspired and prompted me to write a book about singleness and the Church. Five years later I published Surviving Singledom, my first book ever. God used my experience of not fitting to encourage others.
In the midst of writing this book, I met my husband online. (I finished the book anyway.) I had finally found my fit. I was part of the married club. I belonged. Of course, I was the same person I had always been, but it seemed that people’s perception of me shifted once I was married. I was perceived as “fitting in”.
But it didn’t last. The square peg began to grow uncomfortable again.
You see, in order to “fit in” as a married couple, you have to start having kids. This is especially true in Christian circles. It’s like a mandated policy. When I told people I hadn’t decided about having kids yet and that I wanted to wait, I encountered the strangest reactions.
People insisted I would never know real love until I had children. People intimated that there was something wrong with me, perhaps a dark and sinister secret buried in the cavern of childhood past. People accused me outright of living in sin.
I did not fit.
As I began to speak to other childless couples in the Church, I realised they were not fitting in either. I found that others were having a hard time being childless in church. I discovered that there was a great need to talk about this. I was seized with a desire to start a conversation about childlessness.
So I began work on my second book, Surviving Childlessness, which is still in progress. It will be a piece of encouragement to other childless people and hopefully a source of solidarity amongst those feeling isolated and ostracised by childlessness. Though I do not fit in the traditional sense, God is again using my unfitness to drive my writing.
As a single person, I did not fit. As a married person, I do not fit. And yet, I have found my fit, not in “fitting in” but in using everything God has given me – personality, life experience, love of writing – to write messages of hope to others. This is where I fit.
Have you ever struggled to “fit in”? How are you navigating the process of finding your fit in life? How is God using your experiences, good and bad alike, to do good things?