Belonging

Growing up is hard. Heck, being an adult is hard! My daughter has wrestled her way from Kindergarten to third grade, navigating the social bits of being a young lady. Girls can be so mean. As a mom, it’s hard to coach from the sidelines – especially when it’s similar to what you experienced. My heart breaks, knowing it’s likely she may wrestle with these same struggles for years to come, if not a lifetime. Recently we’ve talked about how God makes us all unique, and it’s hard to fit in when we’re all meant to stand out, being uniquely accepted in love together.

We want so desperately to fit in, to belong. Yet with the ‘fitting in’ to one group, we’re excluded from another. This is something I’ve struggled with since I was old enough to have an awareness about it. I’m guessing you have too. It’s not been until my mid-thirties that things started to fit within me. Oh, there have been inklings all along, but it felt a bit fuzzy and incomplete. Some days, it still does.

This week I began reading Brené Brown’s book, Braving the Wilderness. I love the work she’s doing. I’m not deep into the pages yet, but have already had so many ‘YES!’ moments. And one really big Ah-ha. One of those moments came when Brené brought attention to a quote from an interview with Maya Angelou done on public television with Bill Moyers, 1973.

“You are only free when you realize you belong no place – you belong every place – no place at all. The price is high. The reward is great.” – Maya Angelou

Yes. That quote may be hard to wrap your head around, but for me it spoke truth. Our daughter had been struggling with her enjoyment of space, friends thought she was weird for it and excluded her. But should she abandon that desire, based on reasons and opinions other than her own? That’s a high price. We are meant to hold tight to those dreams and desires placed within us upon our creation.

God has created each of us with a necessary and innate sense to belong to something more than ourselves, while being who He created us to be. It’s part of what causes us to seek Him. Yet, we sell out to the world around us in order to fit in and belong. We are each unique; therefore, we will never fit perfectly into anything other than the creation we are meant to be. We are meant to be unique and authentic, placed on the Creator’s timeline and fulfilling a unique purpose, designed specifically for each creation (you and me) – thus fitting perfectly. Denying who I am – who I BE – is denying the Creator of His creation. It’s living a life that’s not congruent or authentic to that which is within.

Being that which we are created for is imperative to ourselves, those around us, and to the Lord. He leads by example with His first direct revelation of himself in Exodus 3:14 as he appears to Moses in the burning bush, calling Moses forth to be his purpose. “God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM.” That ‘I AM’ can be translated from the Hebrew, I BE who I BE.

I believe striving ceases when we rest in our real and authentic self, a true reflection of the Creator’s Creation. I’m not sure about you, but I want to be that – a true reflection. Striving tends to wear me out, gets me turned around, and unhappy. I’d rather be happy, and rest in my Creator. Exploring who I am as a reflection of the Creator will take a lifetime, and I’m okay with that process.

I am a complete and powerful woman, made of God’s love. How about you?

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Photo by Brina Blum on Unsplash 
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A Canyon Creation

Recently, my family had the opportunity to take a family vacation and enjoy some summer before our u-pick berry farm opens for the season.  It was fabulous to get away, and it’s been hard to re-adjust now that we’re home.  We visited 4 national parks in nine days; camped, hiked, laughed over a camp fire and spent plenty of time in a car together.  The memories are those which will be carried with us forever, with pictures to prove it. 

One of the things I really wanted to do on our visit to the Grand Canyon was to witness a sunrise, all by myself, and read God’s word.  However, that desire of my heart was doubly blessed because not only did I get my sunrise, but one evening the four of us enjoyed a sunset together.  Wrapped in blankets, taking in the dusky sunset and changing light along the Canyon walls.  As evening set in and the sun was down, we headed back to our little cabin in the woods and enjoyed a camp fire with hot chocolate and watched the stars come out. 

The next morning, I crawled out of bed around 4:30 in the morning and drove to the same point we had watched the sunset the night before.  Not knowing exactly where to start reading, I thought what better than to read the creation story, or at least the part in Genesis 1.  It was perfect as the first early light of day flooded the canyon.

“And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.  And God saw that it was good.  And God separated the light from darkness.  God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night.  And there was evening and there was morning on the first day.” (Genesis 1:3-5 ESV)

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Trail marker along the Grand Canyon

We know that the canyon was carved by water and time and all kinds of other geological factors. (Honestly, it’s kinda hard to wrap my mind around.) But to sit there and bear witness to the majestic land before me, knowing that it was the Creator’s hand which carved the canyon long before I ever took a breath, the scriptures held a fresh understanding for me. 

“And God said, ‘Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.’  And God made the expanse and separated the waters that were under the expanse from the waters that were above the expanse.  And it was so.  And God called the expanse Heaven.  And there was evening and there was morning, the second day.” (Genesis 1:6-8 ESV)

Sitting there, reading, it dawned on me that the same Creator that carved the canyon before me, created me (and you).  The same power, the same love, the same patience, the same creativity.   His hand is always at work, molding and shaping us with an unchanging and unwavering love.  The Holy Spirit is always carving us, like the river through the Canyon, to be more in likeness with the Creator.  Sometimes, the molding feels like a tidal wave flood, while others times it’s more like a gentle seep spring within.  But always at work, with a steadfast love.    

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Genesis 1

As I sat there, taking in all of the grandeur of the Canyon, I thought about how differently God sees us compared to how we see ourselves.  In His eyes, we are clothed in garments of salvation with a robe of righteousness.  We are a royal diadem and crown of beauty in the LORD’s hand.  And, just as we delight and rejoice at the sight and creation of the Grand Canyon, so the LORD delights and rejoices over me (and you).  (Isaiah 61-62)

Oh, that I would be able to know and live as He has created me, an expression of His steadfast love.  To be able to see, and treat, others (and myself) as His majestic and marvelous creations.  For me, it is a new view of His heavenly creations.  I’m so grateful for the time at the Canyon with my family, and with the Lord.  And I’m grateful for the new opportunity and awareness to experience what His steadfast (and majestic) love is like.