For a few very hard years this word was my mantra.
The word means
-undismayed; not discouraged; not forced to abandon purpose or effort
-undiminished in courage or valor; not giving way to fear
But the truth is, I was often dismayed by everything that had taken place, and I did battle discouragement. I battled fear and doubts. I hurt and was angry, and sometimes "undaunted" sounded more like a mockery than a mantra, and I was determined to be real about all of it in these posts, thus the name, Undaunted Reality. More than that, though, I was determined to live undaunted, not because I'm so great or strong, but because my God is, and no matter what this world looks like, He is the only reality that matters.
I pray I live the reality of Him beautifully undaunted.

Monday, October 12, 2015

When You Really Don't Belong, You Really Do

It's been one of those weeks when everything I'm not has decided to have a convention in my world, mostly in my head. And isn't that the worst? When everything you aren't decides to who up at once and have this mental convention and all the voices just end up being a resounding chant of "You Really Don't Belong ANYWHERE"?

So I looked around me, and honestly, I have to agree.

I don't have a group I hang out with. I don't have my writing act together because sometimes I really don't know what to say, and I refuse to be one of those people who say something just so I'm a presence. Trust me. My presence is useless without His presence. Besides, at the ACFW conference a few weeks ago, there was a lot of talk about my "voice" and my "niche", and sometimes I don't feel like I have a voice, and I really don't feel like I have a niche. Plus, I'm a licensed pastor that doesn't really have a church home. I have a church I attend, but if I don't attend, no one will notice. That isn't their fault. It's just that my whole role there is to show up, sit on a pew, follow the order of service, and go home. It's really pretty much like every other church I've attended for the last five years. BUT, I like the fact that unlike the other churches I've attended, I don't have to work myself into some emotional state and find a way to be "blessed", "fine", or "great". A few weeks ago I cried through the whole service, and no one said a word to me. Oddly, I found that peaceful. Actually, it is quite exhausting to have to feel better so I can prove I hear God and feel God or let some church leader feel they have accomplished their job. So there is a strange peace in attending this church. But belonging really isn't so much about what I get out of it. The truth is there really isn't anything about me that they would find useful. That is what I mean by if I don't attend no one will notice. That is why I don't write unless I think it is something God wants someone else to hear.

Belonging means you fit. Who you are fits. You serve a purpose. You bring something to the situation.

And really, when I look around at the pieces of my life, I really don't belong.

Except I do.

And you do.

I know it is easy to look around and see all the ways you don't fit into something. It is easy to look at church, family, Bible groups, school, social groups, and so on and feel like you have nothing anyone wants. It is easy to see that no one would notice if you didn't show up. Except, someone would notice. You just don't realize it yet because you don't realize that your belonging isn't about a group, it's about your life.

You belong in your life.

You life matters.

Maybe you don't belong in a social group at work, but you belong in the world of the cashier at the grocery store who is always encouraged when she sees you in line because, thank God!, He sent a friendly face in the midst of her hard day.

And maybe you don't belong in your church, but you belong in the world of those homeless people who really like that hot cocoa you hand out on cold days.

Maybe it doesn't matter if you don't go to the family reunion, but it would matter to the bus driver if you didn't get on the bus everyday and ask how the family is.

I know it is hard when you don't belong. I have spent my entire life simply wanting to belong somewhere, and I never did. My mother wanted only boys. My dad didn't want kids at all. I married a man who liked the idea of marriage but hated the details of relationship and responsibility. I've tried to prove my worth through grades, titles, accomplishments, and so on. And I'm telling you, I have never felt like I belong.

I will also tell you I have felt very lonely, and I have felt very broken, and I have thought often if I could just be something else...

It has taken me a long time to realize that the real issue isn't belonging in all those places. The only place I need to belong is in my life. The way I live.

I belong in my life as an encourager.
I belong as someone who prays for anyone who asks...and some who don't.
I belong as someone who remembers what is bothering folks and asks them about it.
I belong as the person who has had intimate relations with grief and can tell someone, "You really are normal in the grief world. You're doing great."
I belong as the person who makes soup for friends who are sick.
I belong as the person who picks up the phone at all hours.
I belong as the person who loves deeply.
I belong as the family member who says, "I need a family gathering. Who's in?"
I belong as the person who knows the favorite cookies of the folks at our dentist's office.
I belong as the person whose couch is well used from folks needing a place to stay sleeping on it.

I belong here.

YOU belong here.

So your family doesn't get you, and there really isn't a place to plug in at church. Maybe the other people in your class don't really get you or invite you to stuff either. Maybe, like me, your Friday night excitement is lying on your couch under a blanket reading a book because there really isn't anyone to go out with. If any of that is true, you most likely hear a voice saying, "It doesn't matter if you are here."

It does matter.

YOU matter.

Your voice is a beautiful voice.
So you don't have a "niche". Great. That means folks like you and I can pick up the stragglers no one else can reach. We were made for this.
YOU were made for this.
You were made for your life.
There are things about the way you live that are breathtaking.
YOU are breathtaking.

You aren't breathtaking because of what you do.
You are breathtaking because of how you choose live,
and living a breathtaking life is right where you belong.

So next time that voice or those voices tell you all the ways you don't belong in their lives, tell them that is okay because you still belong in your own.

Praying you live with the fierce passion of being you because being you is exactly how you were made to live...

1 comment:

  1. I know this feeling of 'not belonging' too well. Sometimes I notice how I reach out to others on the edges, because I know that feeling of being an outsider... and I also know that it is likely that nobody else will reach out. And that makes me sad. Thank you for this encouraging, reassuring word!