To be honest, for most of my life I’ve sort of felt like a spoon in a drawer full of forks.
A pair of flip-flops in a closet full of boots.
The jellybean in a bowl of smarties.
Something just didn’t belong.
And that something was usually me.
It was like looking through one-way glass. I could see everyone but they couldn’t see me. Looking in but not being able to break through. I would often think to myself, I wish I had one person that believed in me. Someone that would see something in me, encourage me and cheer me on. To step into the mess of my life and help me grow so I could get to the next stage. I knew there were people around me that cared, but I often felt very alone.
It sounds like I’m really needy.
But that is how I have felt.
So many times.
After a particularly hard season, I left my place of work and I wasn’t sure if I would ever go back. I took a year off, and God led me on some amazing adventures. But I couldn’t run forever. I soon found myself again nervously embarking on another leadership journey. I entered this new role with much fear, and to be honest, I didn’t let myself get too close at first. I wouldn’t be hurt again. I wouldn’t fully commit my heart in case I was going to be let down.
Then something amazing happened.
My leader found me.
I could tell story after story of how I was continually blown away but support, by inclusion, by being valued. I was accepted. I was asked. What I did mattered. There was a table and I was able to pull up my chair. I wasn’t trying to break through the glass anymore. As a result, I grew the the most as a leader in this season. I walked with confidence and learned about myself. Took risks and pursued dreams.
As I look back, one thing stands out to me.
I was invited.
One of the greatest influencers in my life impacted me by simply inviting me into the conversation. Because of that, I was a faithful follower.
When you are asked to contribute, you become more invested. When you are valued, you give your best work. When you are invited, you attend with your whole heart.
That leadership journey eventually ended, but the impact of it lives on. In my present season of life, I remind myself all the time that I need to be an inviter. I’m not always good at it, it’s very easy to get comfortable in my safe places. I often have to remind myself to lift up my head and look around. To seek out people who are longing to be asked. Wishing to come in. Not wanting to be looking from the other side.
We all have a table, and we can all make room.
Look around where you are.
Who can you love, influence and include?
There are those waiting to be found.
Pull out a chair.
Invite them in.