Monday, July 1, 2019

Where Do I Belong?

The moment you feel it may not be obvious to those around you.  It isn't always a big incident with pointing and laughing.  Sometimes realizing you don't belong is very quiet and still.  The conversation you're having stalls because it is clear this other person can't understand where you're coming from at all.  Or there are times in life where we've invested so heavily in a relationship only to find that it is one-sided.  No matter the circumstance, feeling as though you don't belong is heavy burden to bear.

There are seasons and reasons for not belonging - and many of them are for good.  There is so much sin and dysfunction in the world that only leads to suffering.  It is God's will and design that we don't belong there.  Both as the church and in our individual lives, Christians are called to be holy and set apart.  That will reveal separation and difference sometimes.  Dave Ramsey, a financial author, says that in order to live like no one else we must live like no one else.  This principle applies to a lot of things and results in different ways of living.   While a different way of life (like frugality, homeschooling, spiritually principled living, etc.) might be something you deem worth it, that may not eliminate feelings of isolation or rejection.

Of course, there are other times when rejection is not really about you, but you suffer anyway.  Rejection.  Being left out. Or just somebody's after thought, if you even get that far.  Realizing you expect or desire things out of a relationship that you may never get can be a vicious wound. 

And maybe you are the type of person that says, "Who needs them anyway!" and moves on.   When you can let it go and simply focus on something else, it is healthy and freeing.  But there are some of you, like me, who are sensitive.  That means you feel things deep and sometimes longer that those around you think you should.  Wanting to belong somewhere is a very deep need that we all have.  It is so deep that it can lead us to compromise so much because the pain of separation and rejection is so great.

Can we all work on being a little better to get along with? I know I can. Do relationships work better when we allow other people to feel honored too?  Absolutely.  Is sacrificing wisdom or the truth in order to gain a group to belong to worth it?  It's not. But still, sometimes pain is so loud and so angry that we'll take anything to make it stop.

Just as Jesus bore the weight of rejection, there are going to be times of hurt and isolation in our lives. We can't avoid them altogether.  So, then what can we do? I have been struggling with some of this in my life and been in need of some guidance.  Here's some tips I'm trying to build on in myself.

1) Belong to God.  As followers of Jesus, we are told that we are God's children.  We are always welcome and wanted by Him.  Just as a mother will always open her arms to a heartbroken child, God longs to help us with our trouble.  That means praying more, reading the Word more, and bearing those wounds to Him for healing.

2) Count it Joy!  This painful rejection or reality check will lead to amazing growth if you will allow it.  The hardest criticism to hear is likely to motivate you to the biggest change.  It doesn't feel good in the process, but it just might be the best thing that ever happened to you.

3) Be a Home for Others.

My grandparents lived in a small house my grandfather built long before my mother was born.  They lived their until their deaths when I was a teenager.  Despite the size, they had a reputation for always having room for one more around the table.  Granny was an amazing cook - and why wouldn't she be?  She made three full meals a day for my Papa, carpenter and gardener extraordinaire for probably their entire married life.  With 6 kids, 17 grandchildren, many great-grandchildren, and leading the local church, their door was always open at meal time - or any other time really.  You could belong there - there was never any question.  I have longed to be called in for supper out that screen door and feel the safety and assurance of love and longevity more and more the older I get.  You wouldn't be overlooked or left out and certainly could grab a plate.

Theirs' is an example of hospitality, but more than that.  While they were alive, it was an example of consistency and commitment.  Throughout many hardships and changes, they were still there welcoming you to dinner if you were in town.  I long for that kind of commitment in my relationships, but then do I demonstrate that kind of consistency in their life?  Having 3 kids has slowed me down in that department and I'm feeling the fallout of it.  Remembering the invitations or happy birthdays or genuine chats about how life is can change the course of a heart's pain.

Finally, we are not perfect people and I know that we will cause each other pain.  Still, I desire to be a safe place and like a lighthouse on the shore, a welcome home for anyone in need.  If you've ever felt alone and unimportant, you can understand how powerful just one person can be in your life.  Is this something you struggle with in your life? Would you share it with me so that I could pray for you?  This is my theme right now and I would love to include you!

1 comment:

A Journey For Life said...

Yes! So relate! So timely, thank you for writing this!

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