Niche – A comfortable place, or status, or position appropriate for a person. From google and the Merriam-Webster dictionary.
Why was a niche so important to me?
What did the niche provide for me?
How did the niche develop?
Who affirmed my niche?
When did I feel most secure in the niche?
It all started with missing the early morning flight. The small airport had few passengers that day. My friend and I chatted comfortably as I waited for the boarding announcement. Every few minutes I glanced at the clock. Shouldn’t we be boarding by now? Isn’t it time to walk through the security turnstile? I waited (bad choice). No announcement. Finally I go to the desk and ask. Oh, our public address system is out of order. Your plane is taxiing down the runway right now. Without me!
I WAS MAD!
Because I missed that plane, my niche was in jeopardy (or so I thought). My significance, my role, my worth, all on the line.
There was a later plane. And the niche I was missing could easily be filled (and was) by another.
But the issue rested in why was the niche so important to me? (And the other above questions).
That niche represented my misplaced identity.
The weekend went downhill, the discouragements unrelenting.
I gave up. I didn’t care. I’d put on a mask and pretended all was well.
It was my lowest point spiritually; and a turning point.
Could I understand that pain as part of my gospel journey? How I answer that question makes all the difference.
“Come to me … my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”
from Matthew 11:28-30, NLT
That weekend the burden was heavy. The come to me invitation drowned by my perception of the circumstances. The drone of my perceived reality deafening the beautiful melody God was orchestrating.
I had always had a niche, a team, a place of belonging.
God was gently (although it didn’t seem gentle) chipping away at my external support system. He wanted to be my support.
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD,
plans for welfare … to give you a future and a hope.”
Jeremiah 29:11, ESV
That weekend, the truth of Jeremiah 29:11 never entered my thinking. To jump into the deep end and trust God’s good plan was anathema. God was going to need to initiate. And isn’t that so like God? He is always the initiator.
“We love because he first loved us.”
I John 4:19, ESV
God knew his niche for me, his place of belonging, his supports, his destiny for me with my name written all over it.
This was new (for me, not for God). My known-ness had always rested in a recognizable team, had dictated my worth, was the place I expected fruit, was now resting in God’s love.
My ears were becoming attuned to God. My niche not dependent on airplanes.
Although my specifics are different from Abram, I hear God saying,
“I will make of you …
I will bless you …
you will be …”
from Genesis 12:2, ESV