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Kolar: It’s easier to long for some other place and time

"We have to try to fit in wherever we are too. Sometimes that can be really hard. Sometimes, we just don’t want to fit in," writes Janel Kolar.

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Rev. Janel F. Kolar is the pastor at First Congregational Church, United Church of Christ in Dickinson, North Dakota.
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Jeremiah 29:7 :But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.

I have lived in Dickinson my whole life. I was born at St. Joseph’s Hospital, attended school here, and even completed my theological training while living here. There were times we thought about moving. There were times I really wanted to move. But that’s not ever seemed to fit in with what God seemed to have in mind, and so here we are, and I’m quite grateful, really, because I love where we live.

I have met people over the years who have not loved living here. Many of them struggle to fit in. Many struggle with the weather. Many struggle with the fact hat everyone in this town (region?) seems to be related. I have met people who think we talk funny. It seems like for some of them, they consider living here a form of exile. This is where the work was, so they had to come. And I often pray that they will learn to “bloom where they are planted” and learn to not only pray for the best for our community, but work to make this community the best. Certainly, they will benefit from that too.

The people of God, when sent into exile, didn’t want to fit in. They wanted to sit on their thumbs and hope that they could go home soon. God asked Jeremiah to speak to them about that attitude and let them know they were where they had to be for the time being, so it was in their best interest to make the best of it. They could have pouted and complained and refused to fit in. But that wasn’t good for anyone.

We have to try to fit in wherever we are too. Sometimes that can be really hard. Sometimes, we just don’t want to fit in. It’s easier to complain and criticize. It’s easier to long for some other place and time. But I believe God wants us to do whatever we can to do well wherever life takes us, and to pray for the welfare and peace in our current homes, wherever they may be.

Related Topics: FAITH
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