I'm often amazed at how much our views and perceptions shape reality. What can seem so real to us is in fact nothing more than a figment of our own imagination which is shaped by our personality, beliefs, and past experiences.

As I've been reading through Bob Goff's books, one of the quotes that stood out to me was, "I used to think I needed an invitation, but now I realize I'm already invited most places." Wow.

I've spent most of my life feeling like an outsider and relying on others to make me feel welcome and assure me I have a place. There have been people throughout my life who have done very well at this, but most people have failed and some spectacularly so. I'm ashamed to say that I once earnestly believed that the people who failed, failed at a moral level. They let me down and, by golly, they let down Jesus, too!

It's clear to me now, though, that assuring others of their worth and value is an exhausting endeavor. While everyone benefits from the reminder from time to time, it's not something we we can ever truly instill in another person, rather, they have to choose to find their value and worth in Christ. Until then, reality is warped, acceptance is a foreign concept, and they will see rejection in even the most benign situations.

It reminds me of driving on the highway. Some people are natural mergers. They look, they assess the situation, and they merge accordingly. Yes, some of the other drivers are oblivious due to selfishness or distraction, but most are willing to either speed up or slow down to create a space. And when a space is created for you, the best thing to do is merge.

We all know those exhausting drivers who cannot seem to merge to save their lives. Their blinker is on, they're eyeballing the open space, their head whips back and forth, deciding, deciding, deciding. You slow down to a crawl, you motion them over with your hand, and sometimes that still isn't enough! You feel as if you'd have to stop your car, put it in park, walk up to their window, and issue them a verbal invitation!! How exhausting is that?!

The flow of traffic on a busy highway is much like our lives. A bunch of people going in the same direction, but for differing purposes and bound for various destinations. They don't mind you being there, they're even willing to make space, buy you have to be ready to jump in. Merge, already.

And if you're on the highway, yes, it's good to pay attention to the on ramps and be mindful of those who are incoming. This isn't YOUR highway (church, neighborhood, office, etc). They have every right to be here, too. Mindfully leave some space. Maybe even throw in a friendly wave. Merging is stressful, don't be the reason it's even more so.

But the bulk of the burden of successful merging relies on the merger. You have to have a deep-held belief that you belong and that there is a place for you. Don't impede the flow of traffic with your neediness. Jump in with confidence.



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