ACT by writing again (my lessons on belonging)

My dear blog… sorry you have been so neglected. It is not because I haven’t had a million things to say or write, but filled my life with a million other things and excuses. Well, God has given me a time to be still and honestly I still struggle with it (because I wanted to accomplish much in the off-time).   Life has gotten a little crazier than even I prefer. So, as I seek stillness, it is time to ACT on pouring out my heart and head. I need to return to a place of peace.

I feel lately like my equilibrium is off and things that never mattered suddenly do. I am generally a self-sufficient person and really don’t like to ask for help, announce issues going on in my life, announce the need for prayer publically, etc. Unless it is something I can be grateful for, it is likely not going to be advertised.  But lately I have been a little absorbed with all the places / situation I don’t really feel like I belong. (Facebook can do that to a person).

I read about people running here and there with their children for sports. It makes me miss the years of being a “dance mom” and running and belonging to the group of other dance moms. We shared so much around while we waited at practice, recitals, competition, pictures, etc. Our children are in NOTHING. To some that is a foreign concept and to others we are judged for lack of socialization. However, for our family that type of belonging is just not in the cards due multiple factors at different times.

There have been many social events that I have also declined. I have declined some due to timing. To be honest, I have avoided some because I didn’t think I would “fit in” /belong with the crowd. They would talk of school, sports, and children. I had nothing no offer – no sports, we cyber school, and well, we have some unique children. There are many times our different life is really highlighted by just simple comparisons.   I honestly wouldn’t change our choices, but it does limit conversation in many areas. I can’t relate to what they talk about, and honestly, I get tired of defending/explaining our choices. However, I eliminated the option of not belonging before ever giving the event/the people a chance.

I struggle often when I know how much Sam misses “friends” because they are busy with life (school and sports). Mary over time has been blessed to find a group of friends she belongs with and is quite content living the life of the introvert. I pray that one day, Sam is blessed that way too. Life is so full of being the perfect fit, doing it all, belonging…. And well…. We just aren’t there…

However, lately I have had some beautiful reminders of just where we do belong. I have worked weekends every year for 11 years. For a couple years I was blessed to go to evenings on weekends and we found a church we loved. We started going as a family. Then life changed and my schedule got rearranged so we had to give up church again. But on a rare Sunday I had off (Jim had class) and I asked Sam, do you want to go to church with me. He quickly replied YES! I was quite surprised! We went and when we got in the car he said I have really missed church. The church had gone back to how we remembered when we first started.   It felt like home… WE BELONGED!!!! I don’t have to explain Sam’s quirks, or feel like excuses are needed if we can’t come (we had been gone for months and there was no judgement), etc… We sat back down where we hadn’t been for MONTHS and the love still spilled over.   Conversation is easy….   We went as a family last week and it was priceless… A place WE BELONG.

I had another weekend I requested off recently to get together for a teleconference for women. We have an amazing women’s bible study/tea on Mondays. Another group where I BELONG! We have a Bible Study and we talk about what the lesson meant to US. No judgement, no explanation, no excuses needed. Well, I expected a large turn out and it ended up being a small group. Only 3 stayed all night (counting me) and 7 total in/out for the Friday/Saturday. It was perfect and amazing. Though the live teleconference was good….. the small group of ladies (of various ages and stages of life) breathed life back into my weary soul. I BELONGED!

Over life I have had some various jobs in nursing. I still see some of the nurses I worked with on Oncology and we can still talk about life – because I BELONGED in that group. Our love and care for our patients was bonding and over the years we watched our lives grow and change. I miss those bedside nurse days (and say that more and more). I am blessed in my various nursing areas to truly feel like I BELONG in some.

I also need to realize it is okay not to BELONG perfectly everywhere. It is not necessarily a statement about me or the others, but the fit has changed. Friendships are the same way. I have some life long friends that I can drop a text to and ask for a prayer and it is said. We have meaningful conversation via technology and I feel refreshed. I have friends that when we talk we pick right back up where we left off. I also have had friendships that no longer fit as we have changed. It does not decrease my love for them, but to wish them well as we BELONG in new areas.

In our home we teach be true to who you are. However, I still find myself focusing too much on where I don’t belong. It probably goes back to one of my strength/weaknesses of people pleasing. I want to be all things to all people. I want to say yes to everyone (which can be a dangerous thing because our daughter just echoed those exact words last night!). I want to understand everyone so I can meet their needs! However, in the end, I am often left drained and alone.

I was not created to fit in everywhere.   Just like a plant and growing – some need more water, more sun, no water or maintenance (Like the only plant I have not killed since getting married – a cactus). I grow where I belong! Just like our children in school – Mary was getting strangled by the weeds and Sam was stuck in a pot with too many seeds (a too large of a class). So we moved them so they could grow.

I have to learn / apply some lessons

  • Appreciate and focus on the beautiful places God has placed me to belong – our church, my friendships, and work. Make sure they know how much they mean to be. Pour back into them.
  • Try new things and see if I really don’t fit (I have made many a decision by the scenario I play in my head of what may happen and never try).
  • When I know I don’t belong, don’t try to fit in… move on and learn from the lesson.
  • The lifelong lessons will be — I don’t have to be all things to all people! People pleasing is not a strength when I am left depleted!

Thank you Lord for this time you have given me to be still…. Thank you for the beautiful places you have planted me that I do belong…. Thank you for the amazing church that welcomes us just as we are… Thank you for my incredible friendships that I never realized how much I needed (because I thought I could do it all on my own)…. Thank you in advance for making me brave to move on and learn…. Thank you for letting me know that I always BELONG wrapped tightly in your arms as your child!

p.s Please Lord, give me the strength to work on the people pleasing!


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