I am a Spiritual Misfit, but here is how I came to understand that I am also His Beloved Misfit.
Some people might say that misfits are identified by their actions. I believe that our innate intentions matter too. I breathe. I am human. I have innate sin intentions (Romans 3:23). I am a Spiritual Misfit.
I was raised in a nominally Christian home. My parents regarded religion as a connection to their heritage, but their Christian faith was not expressed in our daily life together. For many reasons, they chose not to teach me about God during my childhood years. I did not become aware of the reality of sin, or of my own sin for that matter, until I was in college. It wasn’t until I switched dorms during my freshman that I first began to realize and to experience God’s great love for me and His immense love for all people.
Life in the dorm as a college freshman is a pretty sweet gig. No parents. No adults to check in with. It’s a life transition filled with possibilities. In my case, God used a group of five spiritual misfits to show me Jesus’ unconditional love during the spring semester of my freshman year in my new college dorm.
I refer to this group of girls as spiritual misfits because they didn’t hand me off to a pastor or a professional church worker when they realized I needed to learn about God. No, these young, passionate women knew that Jesus declares that all people are capable of sharing the good news of God’s grace and forgiveness (1 Peter 2:9).
God used the daily rhythms of our life together in the college dorm as a natural curriculum to teach me about Christianity. This unique environment enabled what began as information transmission to become life transformation. I learned about vulnerability, unconditional love, forgiveness and accountability as these spiritual misfits apprenticed me into the ways of Jesus.
Ultimately, I came to understand that I am also His Beloved Misfit.
I became a Christian sixteen years ago as a result of the love, care, compassion, and Scripture that these spiritual misfits shared with me. While my faith journey is rooted in a more organic way of ‘doing church’ and experiencing faith in the every day, I now have a deep love for the local established church as well.
I believe a perfect world this side of heaven would include times for the local church to gather for worship, fellowship, and learning. But after the gathering, the church would then scatter so that God’s spiritual misfits could influence others in the places where they live, work, and play.
What would it look like if every follower of Jesus became a spiritual misfit instead of relying on pastors and professional church workers to share the good news of God’s love with others? After all, God’s people are still the church when they leave the building; I am proof that His Beloved Misfits can change lives.
Dr. Vanessa Seifert is a DCE-Discipleship Catalyst at Calvary Lutheran Church in Lincoln, Nebraska. In this capacity, she teaches, writes, and encourages God’s people to see a discipleship culture in all parts of their life. Her work can be summed up by her mantra: “All of life is faith and all of faith is life.” Feel free to connect with her via Twitter: @discipleshipDrV
Click here to purchase Spiritual Misfit: A Memoir of Uneasy Faith.