The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

September 27, 2013

I want to be outside the camp

By Ruth Ann Replogle, Columnist
Enid News & Eagle

— For as long as I can remember, I’ve struggled with being an outsider.

It started when I was a little kid moving from town to town with my dad’s job. I never quite fit in because I didn’t grow up there or have four generations of family settled in that area. I didn’t have roots, anywhere in particular.

It was magnified when I went to school. I looked weird with my big glasses, buckteeth and odd sense of fashion. I literally had a target on my back. One day I ended up with a sign taped to my back that said “kick me” and I took a tumble down the stairs. I was terrorized all through junior high, so much so, I spent part of my freshman year in the protection of the principal’s office.

I remained isolated in high school because I was outspoken for my moral beliefs and tended to hang with the fringes of society. I spent a lot of time in my room, reading and dreaming. Wouldn’t you know it, one of my childhood favorites was “The Outsiders” by Tulsa native S.E. Hinton.

I tried to break free of my introverted self in college and early career days. I led Bible studies, took mission trips and broadened my horizons in more ways than one.

But I continued to be an outsider looking in. No matter how involved I got, how many friends I attained, I still didn’t feel included. I wrestled with my self worth even when I got married and eventually landed an awesome job.

Then the Lord revealed a profound truth to me nearly two years ago — I am meant to be a stranger in this land, a gypsy, a wanderer (Hebrews 11, 1 Peter 1).

Being an outsider is a good thing, He told me.

Imagine my shock followed by an immense sense of relief. I realized nothing was wrong with me!

It is completely normal to feel like an outsider in this world. In fact, it means I must be in tune with my Savior if I’m feeling that tug, that yearning that I’m not home yet (2 Corinthians 5:2). Bison, Oklahoma, is not my home; I’m temporarily residing here until Christ calls me to my heavenly home.

Moreover, the Lord revealed another profound truth to me recently — I am meant to be outside the camp.

“Let us then go to Him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace He bore.” — Hebrews 13:13

I was floored. Then I sat in awe.

If you read Old Testament and Hebrew tradition, you’ll see the significance here. Two goats were used by the priest to bring the people into alignment with God; one as a scapegoat released into the desert (outside the camp) to carry sins confessed on it, and the other as a blood sacrifice slaughtered on the altar before remains burned (outside the camp).

The goats foreshadowed Christ’s coming. He bore our sins on His back and bled for us so that we would become co-heirs in the kingdom with Him.

God has instructed me to go outside the camp. I am to share His grace with those who are on the outskirts of society, the castoffs, the ones who don’t fit in; in other words, the outsiders.

If I were to stay inside the camp, to keep trying to be part of the “in-crowd” or the “it” girl, then I’m missing my calling.

I’ve decided I like being strange. It doesn’t bother me anymore that I don’t fit in, that I’m not accepted by others, that I don’t think or act like they do.

I am who I am under the Great I Am. And that’s exactly where I want to be.



Contact Ruth Ann Replogle at www.facebook.com/JustHoldOnRR or justholdonrr@gmail.com.