Fit in or Stand out
We all want to fit in, but why not stand out?
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
before you were born I set you apart” Jeremiah 1:5
Throughout my life I struggled to find a place to really fit in. At school, I had a difficult time fitting in. I wasn’t really great at anything except poetry. My grades were average, I wasn’t super talented. I was a middle class girl in an upper class school. If I look back now on all the activities I tried, I realise the reason I didn’t finish well was because I felt out of place. I didn’t really keep friends long. I tried hard to make friends but eventually because of my own insecurities and everything else I was dealing with, i rather made enemies at school. I became a rebel, whatever rule there was to be broken I would break it. I was teased alot at school, i was also the one teasing and being mean to others. My mom took us to church every Sunday and youth on a Friday night, these were my greatest memories of my childhood. If I look back now, I see a broken, out of control young girl that others struggled to watch make ongoing mistakes. Due to traumas I had no sense of self worth, I hated myself and it reflected into all my relationships at school. At 17, I fell pregnant in the middle of Std 9. Now I had a new struggle, fitting into motherhood at such a young age. I didn’t fit in and I rejected my daughter.
The workplace wasn’t much better. I am an extremely hard worker, a very driven person. I was also a very broken person looking for a sense of belonging, somewhere to fit in. I didn’t really fit in anywhere even in the workplace. The place where I felt I fit in the most were the dark places of substance abuse and love in all the wrong places. I actually believed my life was doomed for disaster and I became ok with it. I went through more traumatic experiences in my adult years and fell deeper into making bad choices.
My brother, planted seeds in my life, seeds that maybe I was worth more. He took me to church, I loved it there and so I kept going. I found God and tried to live my life for Him. I made friends, but I had so many issues and insecurities I think it was just so difficult for anyone to relate to me. My friendships were like roller coasters. I was living with so much guilt and shame, and all of these feelings were starting to surface. Ì don’t think at that point I was ready to deal with them and so I chose to self destruct and ended up back in the partying scene.
I fell pregnant again at age 21, I tried a second chance at fitting into motherhood but again I was just so broken. I hated myself even more at this point in my life and I ran away from it all, even God, leaving my daughter and son behind.
In my family, I even felt like the “black sheep”, not because they made me feel that way but because I had so much hatred towards myself. In my adult years I even found another family to call my family instead. The truth is my own family just had a few imperfections and I needed someone to blame so I blamed them. My parents picked up all the pieces I dropped, although imperfect, they were always there for me and my children. It must of been difficult for them to watch me self destruct the way I did.
I met my husband 8 years ago, I felt I didn’t even fit into this but I realised I wanted a change in my life and the way I felt about myself. I wanted to find a place where I belonged. This is the point where all the major self reflecting started. I had a man in my life who loved me unconditionally, through all my brokenness and strange ways. Suddenly I found God again and started growing – slowly self reflecting and ending one bad habit after the next. As I grew closer to God, I started believing more and more of my worth. I started recognising things within myself layer by layer that needed healing, fixing, removing.
The journey of becoming more and more who I was always meant to be, happens by self reflecting, with God. Surrendering these spaces to God and allowing Him to bring Healing and restoration, where it was never possible before. I am still picking up the pieces of my life of struggling to fit in and I am still on that healing journey! While I pick up the pieces, I have learnt that striving for fitting in / gathering material things is not what I need. What I have needed was wholeness in Christ. I am thankful for courage (not out of my own strength, but Christ) to share my story in hopes that others might be encouraged and strive for finding their identity in Christ.
As I get further on my Healing journey I realise I was called to stand out and not fit in. I am very aware that so many people have followed my life journey, and many feelings have come over them, sadness, anger, hurt, disappointment, worry, confusion, judgement etc. It is comforting to know that people who are following me have enjoyed watching my growth process, my Healing journey and have found some inspiration through it.
I am not perfect though, I am also human. Some days on this journey are more difficult than others. It takes constant training your mind, self reflecting and surrender to God to keep your feet firm on the ground where Jesus walked, reminding yourself of what He has to say about you. What I’ve noticed is that the road gets that little bit easier as you go along it and keep on that path. When I mess up now I don’t beat myself up about it anymore, I remember whose I am, that His grace is sufficient for me and then I learn from the experience and allow God to move in it.
You will notice there were 3 key people in planting the seeds of my true Identity – my mom, my brother and my husband. The past two years have been the most accelerated growth years of my life. I may have at times gone astray but the seeds they planted turned into roots. For most of my life I allowed the wrong seeds to grow, I gave them water and food. I’ve realised we need to chose our seeds, water and feed the right seeds and allow them to turn into roots and flourish from there.
Daily I make a choice to believe that I am who God says I am. Daily I make a choice to renew my mind. Daily I choose to find my identity in Christ and not be defined by my past, present or future mistakes. God called me for meaningful conversations with Him and others about Him! I am grateful for my journey through life, traumas, heartaches, mistakes, I am grateful for it all. I have been through everything I have, so that I can tell my story. God has turned all of this into a work for His glory and I look forward to seeing this unfold. It’s been an equipping process for my true purpose. I’ve found where I belong!
We have a choice in this life here on earth, we can choose to lose ourselves by trying to fit in where we dont belong or find ourselves by standing out where we do belong! What’s your choice?