A Seat At The Table

I did a lot of sitting in airports this week. 

I get to travel for my job fairly often, and while I like to be early, this week was excessive. On the way to the airport to fly out, my flight got delayed multiple times. I ended up killing time for 4 hours before my flight took off. Airports are not adult playgrounds. You can only browse at the corner market so many times before they start thinking you are casing the place. 

And then, again, I was early on my way home, as that was when my ride had to be there. But thanks to a friend, the 6 hours I sat in Denver's airport before my flight out was actually good. 

You see, I've rarely felt confident that I have a seat at the table. Not sure of where my place is. Always an outsider looking in. Always the pursuer, never the pursued. 

I became aware of that this last weekend, as I attended a retreat run by RP. As an employee, I wore one hat. As a participant, another. In that was the tension and insecurity of not fully belonging in either camp. 

The enemy whispers a curse, in my own voice: "I don't belong."

It felt familiar. I grew up as a pastor's kid- and thus never quite fit in anywhere. At school I was picked on and avoided, or my value of holiness often pulled me out of connections that were... less holy. I was the weird kid. But at church I was excluded as well- often for the same reasons. There wasn't a place among peers where I really felt like I belonged. I might have excelled in some circumstances, and even led in others, but I often experienced an isolation I couldn't yet name.

"I don't belong."

Back to the airport. I've never been to a lounge or club at an airport. Visions of free massages and decadent foods consumed by high class business men with shiny shoes would float through my head if I envisioned what that might be like. Intriguing. Exclusive. 

"I don't belong." 

But when a friend (who also had attended the retreat) found out we would both be stranded at the airport for several hours at the same time, he invited me to a lounge he had access to. 

While the lounge was nice (not stuffy, and no free massages, by the way) the real goodness of the experience was just being invited to the table (literally and figuratively). A small gesture that said, "Hey- I see you and I like you. You don't have to be alone. You can have something good. You belong here." 

And Jesus says the same thing. He had dinner with and spent loads of time with the outcasts and the lonely. When the enemy whispers, "You don't belong" at God's table, he invites us anyway. 

What is the curse that gets whispered in your ear? What are the ways that God has already shown you truth and blessing? 

How might you be with a person in your life in such a way as to bless them in a place they might feel cursed? 

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Cody Buriff, Director of Resource Initiatives