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  • Katie Smith

Forcing it to Fit

Updated: May 24

Square peg in a round hole. Too tight. Too small. There are a million and one ways to say that something doesn't work, but it takes breaking down that something to see what was always there. It doesn't fit.

I know that our life back home doesn't exactly fit our life on the road. I know that our experience in Mexico is not our experience in, say, Yosemite or Disney or even in Willits, California. I know these things mentally, but like a child, I don't realize that I'm still trying to force-fit things in the wrong places. I am subconsciously trying to replicate rhythms that make me feel comfortable so that I can grip a sense of control. But control is an illusion-- like the golden calf, it is mankind's greatest idol.

Whether it's making your spouse fit a mold you designed, keeping your kids in certain seasons or situations you think match their age, or even staying at a job you know doesn't quite fit you, we all try to make things work that simply don't. But it fits with your timeline, your culture, or your bank account better than anything else you know.

Smash that puzzle piece into the open spot, and it may look like it fits for a time. But we all know, eventually it will pop out, or it will be needed somewhere else to complete the puzzle. You can't force things forever. You can choose to recognize reality sooner rather than later, but reality will have its way.

Jesus told this parable: “No one tears a piece out of a new garment to patch an old one. Otherwise, they will have torn the new garment, and the patch from the new will not match the old. And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the new wine will burst the skins; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined" (Luke 5:36-37).

I am trying to force my old clothes to fit this new life style and pour my new blessings into old boxes. I'm trying to check boxes that don't exist. The volunteer box. The education box. The church box. The date-night box. The activities box. The friendship box.

Our globally connected world makes it much harder to let go of expectations and impressions. That is why the law is so much easier to follow than grace. People become slaves to whatever religion gives them control over their own circumstances, salvation, or future. But God wants us to give ourselves up completely.

I know the puzzle pieces of my life will fit together in the end, because I know that grace abounds in my life. But right now, I need to be okay with empty, open spots in the puzzle--patches on my clothes and brand new, empty wineskins. I cannot force anything to fit, but I can trust God will give me the tools and the pieces I need to fit everything together in His beautifully perfect way.

As Paul puts it, “God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work” (2 Cor. 9:8). God doesn't want me to keep forcing my old habits. Instead, when I surrender, I am peacefully open to receive boxes as gifts, not squares with pegs.

Our learning, serving, and communing have looked very different these past few months, but as I prayed for a place for us to help others, God opened the door to a family farm, which has given us so much more in the way of learning than I could have ever dreamed. Feeding, killing, and cooking animals, mowing, hoing, and weeding-whacking, gardening, mulching, composting, and taking care of kittens. Even without our own land or yard to tend, God provided another. "Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us" (Ephesians 3:20).

~Carefully and Carelessly fitting

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