You Already Belong
Anybody else feel like you just never quite fit in anywhere? That's been me for most of my life. I was bullied as a kid, constantly made fun of for being smart, caring about school, and just generally not being one of the it kids. In high school I hit a stride where I was no longer bullied, but beyond my best friend, I didn't seem to click with many people in a deep or meaningful way. I had friends, acquaintances, but my circle of close friends stayed at one. And no complaints about that! That one friend is still my dearest and she has remained an anchor in the very volatile years since. I looked forward to college, however, hoping that attending a small Catholic college meant I would finally find "my people." College dawned hopefully, but somehow I still didn't quite fit in. I made some friends, even met my husband (who thankfully does make me feel like I fit just right), but I never found that ever elusive group of like minded people who could hang out, talk about God, or do ridiculous things together with equal ease. When I graduated and went to work, the story was the same again, and again when I quit my job and joined the local handmade movement - people were perfectly lovely, kind, friendly even - and yet I just didn't fit. I have spent my whole life thinking that the next stage, the next place I go, the next group of people I find myself in, that will be where I really belong. Those will be the people I click with. Those will be my lifelong friends - and not just one or two people, but a whole community that I could be myself in. Right now my primary community is my faith community here, and I am not near as involved as I'd like to be, so I am working on changing that, but part of me wonders if it's easier for me to just keep fantasizing about the group of friends I could have at church, rather than diving in with the potential of being disappointed again. But that's no way to live, so I am trying to use my new found "freedom" (haha) of staying at home to connect more. But here's the thing the Holy Spirit keeps bringing me back to lately - I don't need a big group of friends to belong. I don't need wait for these mythical people to come along and justify who I am, because I already belong in God. He is all the justification I need. He created me to be smart, driven, intense, competitive, introverted, and guarded. I say this not in a "this is the way I am so deal" kind of sense, but in humble (I hope) submission to the person God created me to be. It's easy to look at people who do have the big group of friends and wish I was like them. To wish to be someone other than the person I am. But that is a disservice to me and God, and frankly, the wonderful people who are in my life that already love me for who I am - my husband, my kids, my other family members, and my close friends. All these relationships are so meaningful to me, and would I really want to change or diminish them by having a big group of people around me instead? If you're one of those people with a big group of friends, awesome! What a blessing. I say none of this to diminish the joy those friends add to your life. The primary point I want to get across is that no matter what our close personal relationships look like, how many friends we have or how many texts we get a day, that is not how we know we belong. We belong because our Creator created us for Himself - and he loves us just how we are. There is no need to wait for other people to see our beauty to know that it is there, even though it's always nice to have other people accept and appreciate us! We know we belong because God calls us to himself, unconditionally loving every weird thing about us and calling us to be the best version of ourselves. I hope that God blesses you with wonderful friends and people that help you feel the love of God, but if you're struggling like me right now, feeling like you just don't quite fit in, I encourage you cast your cares on Christ. Find peace in belonging in Him, and continue to pray for good and true friends. He knows your needs. He knows who wonderful you are. He will provide what you need.