VarianceDear Round Peg in a Square Hole,

It’s okay. I know that it seems like everyone in the world thinks that you should be something you’re not, but you don’t have to be what other people expect of you. It’s okay to be yourself. In fact, it’s best to be yourself. Even when you feel that you don’t fit in, there are very good reasons why God has made you the way He has and has placed you in the place where you are.

It’s okay to not quite fit.

If I’m honest, I have to admit that I have never fit in or truly belonged anywhere. I was child who was deemed “gifted and talented” by my teachers and yet I spent much of my school years enrolled in special education classes. Despite being a special ed student, I graduated high school with high honors in the top twelve percent of my class and had my pick of colleges. I chose to study Agricultural Journalism at Texas A&M University not because I was all that interested in ag, but because the degree meant that I could learn to shoot photography and write while being heavily involved in science and wildlife management. While at college, I discovered a love of fiction writing even though my degree was strictly nonfiction. I used my journalism degree during three different internships and a job before my husband and I moved to a small town for his work.

Once moved, I discovered that the only employment I could get with my formative photojournalism degree was work as a secretary to a chamber of commerce in a town with only one permanent tourist attraction. Eventually, I quit the job to start my own business selling art and commercial photography. Despite the enterprise being in a poor town, the business managed to turn a profit by its third year. Not much of a profit, mind you, but enough to be in the black. Finally, in spite of the fact that I’m still a horribly slow reader, I managed to published six books in four years.

The point of my explaining all of this is not to try to impress you. The point is to show you that you probably won’t find a more round peg in a square hole than me. And that is good thing. Being a round peg has taught me to roll with the waves that life sends me—to be somewhat flexible in how I fit in a place. I may never quite fit in the spaces I am placed, but the wiggle room allows me to learn new things and grow to meet new challenges in ways that other people can’t. This is a good thing.

Use your uniqueness to help redefine your parameters.

If I had studied for a regular journalism degree, I would never have had the opportunity to learn the science that I needed to know when I wrote research feature stories for two of my internships. If I didn’t have the background in wildlife management, I never would have been competent in handling animals for my job as a pet care specialist after college. If I had studied English as my major instead of ag journalism, I would never have understood the mechanics for the concise, clear writing that is so integral to popular and genre fiction. Finally, if I hadn’t taken that creative writing class as an elective, I wouldn’t have realized how much I love writing fiction until I was much older. As odd as each of these seemingly counterintuitive decisions have been, every one of them has helped shape me into the multitalented, creative individual that I am. Being odd has shaped me into an authentic kind of beautiful.

Use the discomfort to your advantage.

Let’s face it. The only way round pegs get to be perfectly round or square pegs get to be perfectly square is when all of our rough edges are whittled away and sanded down. That isn’t always comfortable work. As painful as it is though, it is necessary and good. After all, if God has a good plan for each of us, then it means that He has a fitting place for each of us.

Yes, sometimes our circumstances are mistakes, but they never God’s. God knows what He’s doing even when you and I don’t. If we are seeking His will and walking in His grace, then we needn’t worry. We can rest assured that we are following our true purposes even when those purposes push us into some very tight corners. God knows the plans He has for us—plans not to harm us, but to prosper us. God desires, above all else, to give us a future and a hope (ref. Jeremiah 29:11).

You don’t have to be what others expect. You just have to do what God asks.

If He wanted to, God could fix this broken world with a single spoken word, but instead He chooses to fix this world in smaller steps because He wants each of us to be involved in its healing. You and I were made with a purpose. We were each made in God’s image. Even when Satan tries to trip us up with his distractions and tries to mar your joy with his discouragement, you should know that God’s plans for you as his precious round peg are more inspired and impressive than anything this broken world can aspire for you to do. In fact, God’s plans for you are even bigger, better, and often even more daunting than the plans you have for yourself.

Yes, life will be difficult and others might not always understand. Even so, always remember that God knows you better than anyone else and He chose you. You and I might be a little oblong yet, but I have no doubt that God will whittle us into just the right place if we let Him. When He gets finished, what amazing sculptures we will be!

May we always remember together that God chooses us—His beautiful, useful round pegs—to fulfill His awesome purposes. Until we meet again, may we each rewrite our world for the better!



The SCRAWLS blog is brought to you from the writing desk of Alycia Christine at Purple Thorn Press and Photography with vivid fiction, deep love, and epic art for all. As always, contact me with any questions or thoughts. Thanks!

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