Have you ever wondered…
Where do I fit in?
I have, NUMEROUS times. In fact, I spent most of my life trying to be someone that I’m not, because I just wanted to FIT in. I drank. I partied. I compromised my values, and even abandoned my faith, all because I wanted so badly to fit in.
Because FITTING IN=BELONGING…right?
Several years ago, I had a harsh reality check. You could say, I had an IDENTITY crisis.
In a sense, I felt like I was LOSING everything. Or rather, I realized, that I never really HAD anything to begin with.
Earlier that year, in 2013, my health had begun to deteriorate. Fatigue, brain fog, dizzy spells, headaches, and flu-like aches and pains had become the daily norm. The doctors diagnosed me with lyme disease and other tickborne infections and put me on a pretty aggressive LONG-TERM antibiotic protocol. I was told it could take well over a year of antibiotics courses to successfully treat the infections (which turned out to be an understatement!).
All the sudden, my perspective, and my priorities shifted. You see, prior to that, my whole life revolved around partying with friends and flag football. I know…it’s SAD to say now. But, as a young adult, working the 9-6 grind, those were the ONLY things I looked forward to. And prior to all the health stuff, I felt like I had a pretty good life. I felt like I had LOTS of friends, and a group to which I BELONGED. We would all get together on the weekends, dominate the football field (sometimes…), and then hang out, play beer pong, recap all the highlights of the game, and drink ourselves silly.
It was fun. Until it WASN’T. For me, at least.
That spring of 2013, I quit the football team, as it was too physically demanding for me. And I quit drinking alcohol completely. It turned out to be the best decision of my life, but pretty soon, I found myself feeling ALONE and ISOLATED.
Sure, my friends would still invite me to hang out and “party”, go to the bar with them, etc.. But it just wasn’t the SAME. Sitting there while they recapped that morning’s flag football game for HOURS upon HOURS just wasn’t fun for me. And it definitely wasn’t fun for me when they all got “silly.” When everyone else is drunk, and you are sober…things get REAL.
I suddenly realized, I no longer FIT.
It was a HARD time for me. Those in my friend circle would reach out to invite me to parties. But they didn’t reach out to ask me how I was doing. How I was feeling. How they could help me or support me. And as I began to isolate myself, and skip out on hangouts and parties, STILL…no one reached out.
I remember crying out to God in my kitchen one day. I don’t remember what I said. At that time, I wasn’t even truly sure if He was real. But if He was real, I knew He was the only one who could help me. I truly felt EMPTY. Everything I thought I had- friendships, purpose, identity – I realized, I NEVER truly had. I longed for relationships that had SUBSTANCE. MEANINGFUL connections. And most importantly I longed to feel a true sense of PURPOSE, and like I BELONGED somewhere.
Long story short- and not a shocker- God DID hear my cries. He brought me out of the pit, and that’s why I’m here today, talking to you about BELONGING.
Because, you see, what I realized, is that so many times we think we have to FIT in to BELONG. But the truth is, fitting in is actually CONTRARY to BELONGING.
Why? Because, to BELONG is to KNOW that you have a purpose. And not just any purpose- a UNIQUE purpose.
To BELONG is to know that you have a UNIQUE purpose which is part of a GREATER purpose.
Think about it for a second. You have five fingers on each hand. Though they have commonalities, not one finger is exactly alike, and they all serve a unique purpose. All five fingers work together, along with the hand to allow you to type, pick up objects, play sports and musical instruments, paint, draw…and the list goes on.
BUT, two pinky fingers do NOT belong on the same hand. And two right hands do NOT belong on the same body. That would not only be weird, but unnecessary and counter-productive to the greater purpose that those body parts serve.
When we try to FIT in, or in other words, BE like someone other than who we were created to be, we are like that extra pinky finger, or that extra right hand.
The truth is…we don’t BELONG by trying to FIT in. We BELONG by being WHO God created us to be. We BELONG by walking in the unique purpose that He has called us to.
1 Corinthians 12:15-20 says,
“Suppose the foot says, ‘I am not a hand. So I don’t belong to the body.’ By saying this, it cannot stop being part of the body. And the suppose the ear says, ‘I am not an eye. So I don’t belong to the body.’ By saying this, it cannot stop being part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, how could it hear? If the whole body were an ear, how could it smell? God has placed each part in the body just as he wanted it to be. If all the parts were the same, how could there be a body? As it is, there are many parts. But there is only one body.” (NIRV)
Do you ever struggle with feeling like you don’t belong? If so, I would really like to encourage you today. Because the beautiful thing is, whether you KNOW it or not, you already BELONG, because God MADE you that way.
He made you with intention. With a specific purpose in mind. A purpose that only you can fulfill.
“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10)