Have you ever experienced that terrifying moment when you walk into a room full of people laughing and having a good time–yet you still feel all alone? You mosey your way into the crowd and maybe you even try to fit in. Everyone is happy and your mind wonders–maybe they all have something in common–that I don’t. I am the freak. It is a feeling of not existing. Knowing your presence is there and people are surrounding you but you feel as though you don’t belong. It’s almost as if you are ashamed of who you are, what you have done or maybe even what you will do in the future to mess up what you have in that moment. Overwhelmed by the weight of your sins. Shameful of your wrongs or flaws.
To be honest with you this feeling of not belonging is a ghost that has haunted me often. I know it haunts a lot of others too. Last week I had a really cool life experience that lifted that burden off me and I want to share that moment with you. I tried a church service that I had never attended before.
I grew up in church. I have heard countless of messages and been to countless of services. I accepted Jesus into my heart as a little girl. I was baptized when I was younger and I even reaffirmed my faith when I became older and could truly understand. I have been to more church camps and missions trips combined than I could even count. My point of all that is that I have seen Jesus. I have seen what he can do. I have felt his presence and it still AMAZES me every time I see or feel this happen. There have been plenty of moments in my life that I have prayed over and over for him to communicate with me or show me a way and he has, right when I needed it in the best possible way. A lot of the time it was what I needed but not exactly what I wanted, like this night.
So this particular night, I was in a room of hundreds of other people probably closer to my age. We had just sang a few praise and worship songs and now we were listening to a message. The message was about being shameful, letting your sin overcome how you feel, feeling like you’re not good enough for anyone, especially God. The longer I listened to the message the more I started to think. This was something I had known all my life. I had heard it a million times before and I can’t explain it any other way than the fact that it was just different this time…
The message was clear: God knows you, He knows what you’ve done and He sees everything. The preacher shared about the fact that He knows if you have had an eating disorder, He knows if you drink too much liquor at home after a long day of work by yourself, He knows you cheated, He knows all. He’s already forgiven you for it. That doesn’t go to say do whatever you want because God will forgive you, but it does mean He forgives you, every time you mess up. So who cares if you have blue hair, if you’re overweight, if you have 3k Instagram followers or none at all. Who cares about anything else for that matter. Who cares? God doesn’t. We all have burdens, we all have felt like we don’t belong and we all have definitely felt ashamed.
So how many times have you felt like you didn’t belong in this world? If you’re anything like me, it’s a feeling that comes with regularity. How many times have you decided you don’t belong because of some internal framework you’ve set up to determine when you’re qualified or not, worthy or unworthy? How many times have you felt like you don’t deserve to be somewhere because you’re ashamed of something you did? I am ashamed, unworthy and I don’t belong. No. That’s not true. God has never thought any of those thoughts about me or you. In fact, he knows you and He wants to know you even more. He craves a relationship with me and with you. With God, I belong. His arms are open wide for me and for you.
So when you feel like a freak, here’s what I want to say to you: you belong. And I don’t know about you, but I would rather belong with Him than with anyone or anything else.
Your belonging is found in him—Jesus.
Romans 14:8 – If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.