Thursday, May 09, 2013

I (still haven't) found what I'm looking for

In Linden the other week Chris was introducing our new teaching series on David beginning with how David came to be anointed. It's a familiar story: Samuel, the prophet, is told by God to go to a certain house and to anoint the future king. On arriving there he is greeted by the man of the house, Jesse,  who brings out each of his seven sons in turn. But Samuel rejects them all. At last he asks Jesse if he has any more sons and the man replies, 'There is the youngest but he is tending the sheep.' Samuel asks for him to be sent for and, of course, it's David, he's the one and the story continues.

Chris focused on why David wasn't included in the original line-up. He was the youngest, yes, but he was also from a different mother and it's believed that she had previously been a concubine to an enemy king. He was different. Not one of the chosen ones. Less favoured even by his father, who didn't think to summon him until told to. Chris' point was that God chooses the unexpected, the unlikely candidates.

A few years ago nobody, least of all me, would have expected to see me up the front in Zac's leading sometimes raucous bible studies and throwing out offenders, being praised for my confidence and trusted enough to do it. 

How to explain it? Trust, respect, encouragement, having someone believe in me. It makes such a difference, imbuing with a sense of belonging, of wanting to serve.

I'd spent the first two thirds of that particular Linden meeting feeling edgy, irritated, angry with myself for my emotions, thinking, what am I doing here? This isn't where I belong. Feeling I suppose, like U2, that I still hadn't found what I was looking for. Cross with myself because it's not supposed to be about me. 

Then Chris spoke and I remembered, as a young girl, watching television in the front room, my mum, my nan, my great-gran, auntie Connie and her daughter, all engrossed in the Sunday afternoon musical. Then auntie Connie sent me to the kitchen to fetch something. She didn't send her own daughter but me. And there and then I was reminded of my place. I was the one who didn't quite belong, the illegitimate child, the one who was absorbed by the family for my mum's sake but I wasn't the same as the rest.

Okay, it's not child abuse. Don't get me wrong: I had an excellent upbringing as part of a loving family. But I always felt like an outsider. Part of it but not exactly. A bit like I feel at Linden, which is why it's so wonderful to have found a place at Zac's.


Gledwood said...

It's funny how when Samuel the prophet turned up saying "one of your sons is to be future King of Israel!" David's Dad Jesse didn't even bother to put David in the line-up so convinced was he that no way could this stripling of a lad possibly be Israel's intended king. Funny thing destiny, doncha think..?

andy hanney said...

Hi Liz I read this last weekend somehow messing about on my mobile tech phone and i found your comments very powerful. My mum was illegitimate and brought up by a loving family too by her mum's mum in Mumbles in the 1930's. It was no doubt a big scandel for locals at time and a shame stigma for the Sharpe family. Her dad was a Swansea sea pilot who lived in Sandfields and who died when she was 4 of TB. I would love to have met him. Maybe one day in heaven? The vicar refused to marry my mum's parents in 1927 because he had the scourge of TB. My lovely mum's unresolved pain guilt and anxiety has shaped her whole life and even affected my life emotionally I am certain as a young child i absorbed those "you are not good enough" feelings and pre my birth my mum even tried to jump out of a car in one particular bout of rage with my dad. I have been looking at why do i self destruct recently having sadly finished with Sandra on 13 March. On the same day, my middle son Jac stopped talking to me - he was due to come up to Guildford from Llanelli after an amazing breakthrough last November when he phoned up out of the blue after 5 years saying he wanted to do his A levels in Godalming college which is a few miles away from where i now live. The alienation for me goes on and in some recent psychoanalysis counselling i have realised that for me low self esteem, anxiety and guilt/shame proneness are my 3 big demons. After nearly 48 years of skin picking and nail tearing to relieve the above pain self worth feelings perhaps I have finally decided i need to nail this OCD habit. I put it all down to my mum's anxiety affecting my personality. I know you are not like this but what i am trying to say is church for me and social phobias of not feeling apart of something are often an ongoing struggle. The thing i loved about Zac's place and miss today was the we are all on the same playing field and there was no real pecking order it seemed to me. My church experience from age 17 onwards nearly always created some pain around acceptance. Maybe that is life but Zac's place certainly has a dynamic of we are all in this together and everybody's problems or pain is ok... Enjoy the place where you are meant to be and blessed. My church wilderness period of 14 years ended when i arrived at Zac's place. Maybe one day when i retire? i will be able to get back to Swansea and enjoy the Tuesday night journey again..