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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Where Do I Belong?

I know I haven't been around much lately. I have been taking a little break, focusing on my family...and just waiting for God to lay something on my heart. Well, He definitely did and it is raw and personal for me. I hope that it speaks to your heart...



Where are you from? The question stares back at me every time I log into my Facebook account. It is a simple enough question for most, but I honestly don't know how to answer it. My parents are both originally from Zanesville, Ohio. My dad joined the air force after they were married and I was born in Fairbanks, Alaska. My family moved to Michigan before I was two. At age six, we moved again to Colorado Springs so that my dad could attend a bible college after feeling called into the ministry. We lived there for only a few months, then moved to Ohio because my maternal grandmother had cancer. That was my 1st grade year and I attended three different schools, in three different states.

From that point on, I was a Pastor's kid and we moved multiple more times within Ohio - I never attended the same school two years in a row all through elementary school. I settled into my second year at the same middle school, only to find out we would be moving again - in the middle of 7th grade. I finished junior high, and thankfully attended the same school all four years of high school. My parents didn't move again until I was nineteen - about eight months before my Wedding.

Hopefully, you now understand my predicament. Facebook tells me that I need to complete my profile - but I honestly don't know where I'm from. Ask me where I was born or where I graduated from high school, those I can easily answer. Facebook now even suggests my friends' hometowns to me. It is a familiar feeling that has followed me most of my life. I don't have "the house that built me" or a best friend since kindergarten. I don't remember the old pharmacy downtown or the fire that burnt down the school.

I had a wonderful fantasy of a childhood. Truthfully, I did. We had beautiful family traditions and were a close knit group. My family was everything to me. My siblings were my best friends. I had a childhood full of love, laughter and joy - full of no-bake cookies, loud music, family devotions and spontaneous trips to swim in the creek. We have the home videos to prove it. There is only one thing that I never had - a hometown. I don't think I missed out on some developmentally crucial part of childhood - but I have recently realized that I have spent most of my life trying desperately to find where I belong. I am a people-pleaser, and this desire to please others - never saying no, always weighing my words - comes from a place a deep within. A place that wants to belong. Wanting to be known by others and people to want to know me. I was blessed with a loving and family, and yet the enemy found a small crack in my life that he used to gain entry. Maybe you have felt rejected by family or friends. Maybe you were neglected or abused. All of these things cause us to seek approval from others. Sometimes this manifests as people-pleasing, sometimes as bullying, other times by being a victim.

In it's nature, it is pure self. It is superficial. Needing the approval of others to feel like I have worth and value. If I say the rights things, appear the right way, give them what they want - then I will be accepted into their group...then, I will belong. I have experienced dysfunctional friendships and been taken advantage of because of this desire in my life. Because I had wonderful parents, they taught me to value myself enough not to get into trouble or compromise myself in any way. As an mother, I have found a sense of belonging that I had never felt before - these children love me in spite of my weaknesses, they want to know me and desire to be with me. And yet, I still wanted to appear like I have it all together to others...ultimately because I want their approval. I don't speak up when I should - and have ended up hurt and wounded myself, because I don't want to hurt anyone else. I think, if I just do everything right (remember that perfectionism post a while back?), then I will belong. And there is the problem. The idea of doing.

The enemy has long marinated this desire in me. That constant voice in my head. Over-analyzing every word I speak, assuming that everyone else must think of me...what I think of me. And it can be pretty ugly, friends. But it is a lie. And it is sinful. I have been given the gift of adoption into a body of saints. My hometown is the Kingdom of God. I do belong - I belong to Jesus. I am a daughter of the Most High King! He has called me chosen, beloved, beautiful, worthy. He says I am enough - and there is nothing I need to do, nor could I do, to deserve the love and grace He has lavished upon this longing child.

"I must painfully acknowledge that I still operate out of a fear-based center. I have been speechless in situations of fragrant injustice. While the imposter has performed superbly, I have assumed a passive role in relationships, stifled creative thinking, denied my real feelings, allowed myself to be intimidated by others, and then rationalized my behavior by persuading myself that the Lord wants me to be an instrument of peace...At what price?"- Brennan Manning, Abba's Child

What if we truly stopped trying to be accepted by anyone or anything else - and claimed our inheritance as sons and daughters? And rejoiced in the beauty of God's creation - ourselves! When you believe that you are worthless, stupid, unlovable, ugly...you believe that about God's creation. He is a masterful artist who formed each unique part of you. Created in His very image! How could that ever be anything but wonderful? It couldn't be, and yet we allow the enemy to feed our hungry souls with the taste of approval. Say 'yes' too much, over-commit, busy ourselves, be everything to everyone...and there will be no time or space left for Jesus. And we have filled the longing with 'do' instead of 'be'. If we truly want to belong, we must stop trying to 'do' for others, and 'be' His.

2 comments:

  1. I totally get where you're coming from! As the daughter of a career Army man, the only school I ever started and finished was college. I never lived in the house that my parents currently live in. I have no hometown. But my husband has lived in the same town, attended the same church since he was 7. It's weird that feeling of not belonging.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Nice read! I like the suggestions.

    ReplyDelete

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