When You Realize You Belong
This morning I was reading something and had an epiphany: For much of my life I confused belonging with fitting in. And being someone who was not wired to fit in to any sort of box, I spent wasted years trying to fit in with people I never belonged with. The last year of my life has brought a deep contentness and an awareness of my belonging so that I haven’t even thought about not fitting in. I’ve always been kind of an odd duck and have seen the beauty in it. Save a few years in my 20’s when I was dealing with some heart wounds that threatened to destroy me, I didn’t spend a lot of time hiding my quirkiness. I embraced it as who I was, but didn’t realize till today that even though I never tried to deny it, I thought it always left me without a place to truly belong. I don’t know if you’ve ever struggled with this: trying to find “your people”. Those who think like you and understand the choices you make. Well, years ago I gave up trying to find someone who’s brain worked the same as mine. I’m not gonna lie, there are many times when I feel like John Nash piecing obscure details together as if life is one big puzzle to be solved.
I looked for people who had the same taste in music, AND movies, AND fashion, AND books, AND theology, AND art, AND 80’s music, AND all things 90’s. Of course I have lots of amazing people in my life who share different pieces of similar taste, but I never could I find that elusive group where I totally fit in. I joke that I’m a Phoebe living in a world of Chandlers, but honestly when I came to that realization, so much shifted in my point of view. I stopped allowing myself to ever feel less than simply because I didn’t understand. I embraced what I’m good at and learned to listen to those who’s lives are different than my own. I most likely will never fit in with the people I love and do life with every day. And that’s ok, because I have something so much bigger. I belong. I am blessed to be a part of a huge tribe that includes a mix of people who I have actually very little in common as far as taste, but our hearts… that’s a whole different story. For me fitting would be nice, but belonging is so much better. Belonging means that people don’t just love me despite my quirks, they love me because of my quirks. Belonging means that my apologizes are easily accepted because my heart is known. Belonging means there is never any pretense needed and I don’t have to bring anything to the table because I am enough. Belonging means I can whine when I’m sick, be celebrated in even my seemingly little victories, and be confronted in my sin. Yeah it would be nice to know what it’s like to fit in and find a peer group with many of the same interests and dreams, but it doesn’t compare to belonging.