A Place for Everything, and Everything in Its Place

When I was in fourth grade, I finished testing early and got sent to the library. It wasn't to read or to kill time, though; I was there to work. For two or three days, I was the one scanning in books, helping check-out or shelve materials, and generally being a ten-year-old library assistant. I was hooked: I absolutely loved working in the library (so much so I did it again in college). Part of the appeal, I think, was the fact everything was perfectly organized. Any information anyone could ask for (in an elementary school) was there for the taking as long as you knew where to find it. There was a place for everything, and everything was in its place.

A lot of us have those tendencies. We organize, straighten, categorize, and file away everything. Our worlds are kept orderly and tidy. But even for those without such inclinations, we often want to treat people in this way. We believe everyone has a place, and everyone would be much happier if they were there. To that end, we've designed countless personality tests and psychological evaluations, all with the goal of helping us know who we are and where we belong.

Unfortunately for us, people have the annoying habit of not fitting in our little boxes. A career test in high school told me I should be a funeral director. The tests I had to take in seminary left people wondering if I were fit for ministry (or even if I could truly believe in God). But therein lies the beauty of human beings made in the image of God: we're more than the sum of our parts. My penchant for order, my IQ score, or how much I can lift can never fully define me. They can never fully define anyone. People are complex beings, and we can't know everything about them from a single factor.

Praise God for looking beyond labels and loving us -- all of us -- for the whole person we are.

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