My Niche in Jeopardy
by Sue Tell
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you…
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, was all on the line. There was a later plane. The niche I was missing could easily be filled (and was) by another. The issue rested in why was the niche so important to me? (Along with 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 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.
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. 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, my place of belonging, 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 that dictated my worth; it was the place I expected fruit; and it was now resting securely 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 ..."
Genesis 12:2 ESV
Father, I pray that I will continue to trust You with the niche You have planned for me since before I was even conceived. Amen.
Sue Tell and her husband Bill have been married for almost 46 years and have served on the staff of The Navigators for 46 years as well. Although their official roles have changed over the years, the campus ministry has always been a part. Sue writes a weekly faith-based blog, Echoes of Grace, that you can find at suetell.com. (Echoes of Grace is "on leave" for the months of July and August for some website updates but will return September 6.) Sue also enjoys facilitating Sabbath-Living retreats to help women grow in their friendship with God. Bill and Sue have two married sons, five grands, and her favorite walking buddy, a Golden Retriever named Lexie.