This Seat Taken

Sitting there scrolling, it popped right up on my phone. That one-liner that seems so popular lately. The one that makes me roll my eyes so hard. You know it… something about us each having a spot at the table. 

I think what she meant to say every one has a seat at A table. I mean she’s got 60k+ followers on Instagram, is a published author, travels to preach and teach. I don’t think we’re sitting at the same table. We’re not even in the same cafeteria. 

The thing is, there’s not always room at the table and people of this world, no matter what they claim, won’t always make room for you. Now, the big table, the one where  God has set a beautiful feast for us, there’s room for us. But again, this fallen world doesn’t come through for us like God does.

Personally this is something that I’ve struggled with so there’s a few options on next steps. 

  • See there’s no seat available, get upset, become a wallflower // This recently has been my default. I don’t know why at 30 my insecurities have decided to rear their ugly heads and make me shrink into a tiny little girl. I’ve retreated, stayed home, not invited, turned into a hermit. The struggle of attempting to see if there was a chair open at the table over and over is exhausting and each time the seat was taken, holding a purse, or just not there, it hurts.
    • So why continue to subject myself to that? It’s easier and safer to just sit along the wall. But that’s not what God has called us to. 
  • Bring your own chair to the table // While sometimes it’s necessary for us to put our big girl pants on and sit in those uncomfortable moments, forcing your way to the table can be awkward. Do you want to sit at a table where you’re not really welcome? Ummm, no thanks. Not worth the heart palpitations.
  • Get a new table // This is probably the easiest, least controversial thing to do. But then we have to be aware to make sure that we don’t repeat the pattern. So we get a new table and instead of setting it, we just invite others to bring their own chair and we can all sit together. No limit on the table, just a loving invitation. Table gets full? Pull up another table to add more spots.

Don’t get me wrong, I know that every situation is different. We’re not always willing to let everyone into our mess. Sometimes there’s a limit on the place settings. The need for boundaries is real and it’s healthy to set them. Even Jesus had levels to his circle of friends. He had a couple that were super close, two handfuls of friends he entrusted the Church with, and then he had all the ones he cared for. His circles though, they didn’t include safe people or people that were the same. Yeah, yeah…no one was the same as Jesus. But his circle included people that would betray him (John 18:1-11) and deny him (John 18:15-18); and also all the other sins they committed before they were even followers of Christ. 

I continue to remind myself of grace. Give grace to others because really if you don’t know someone then you might not understand their situation. My mom always told us to consider the reason for someone’s behavior before just writing them off. When I was 16, that’s not what I wanted to hear. But now I think that’s very sound advice. We can all so easily start our day off on the wrong foot and sometimes allowing another person to pull up a chair and truly ask how they are doing can be life changing. 

Last night while studying in Titus I read…

“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearance of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.” – Titus 2:11-14

Thankful for grace. A grace that not only tells us what to do but shows us how to do it. And this whole lesson encourages me to make a table and ask others to pull up their chairs, no matter what baggage they have on their shoulders. When you hear that “pain leads to purpose” I think it’s so true. Pain and experience lead to lessons and growth. 

So let’s all come together and unfold our chairs at the table. Especially in motherhood, let’s squeeze in tightly so that we can all come to the table. No matter what our differences are, we’re made by Him and for Him. And if you feel like you already have a table, I challenge you to make a little room for someone else. 

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