All of us need to be embraced on one level or another. Everyone one of us have a built-in gauge that says, “I belong”. And each of us fear not having that need met. I’m really speaking from the heart today.
For most of my life, I’ve never really felt that I belonged. As a child, there was always a sense of separation from other people, like I wasn’t good enough, athletic enough, smart enough or funny enough. I would go to school, or church, and hear about the various events that my peers were involved in that I wasn’t invited to. So and so took all the kids to the zoo. We all went skating. That birthday party was amazing last night… Events and times that, as a child, I wanted to go to. I liked to have fun but why didn’t I get invited. Why couldn’t I go?
As a teen, you become more aware of who you are and begin to blaze your own trail into who you’ll be. So, I started turning these feelings of being a misfit into “I’m unique” or one of a kind. But, it’s only a mask. I tried a lot of different things. In the 10th grade, I decided to run track. Why? Running track forced me into other people’s world. I had the opportunity to feel like I belonged to something that no one could kick me out of. Unfortunately, I wasn’t that good. I don’t recall ever finishing first but I was there. Needless to say track didn’t work out.
So, in my quest to belong I realized that there were a few things I was good at… so, I started to embrace the arts. I belonged to the two high school choirs and the ensemble. I tried out and was accepted into the Columbus Boychoir and Resurrection Mass Choir. I was able to travel the world and it was fun. I built lifelong friendships with many of those that I served with but even in the midst of these things… there was still something missing. I realized that I only belonged when we were all together but once that concert or practice was over… I still wasn’t invited to the party.
I’ve played the piano for close to 30 years. It wasn’t until the last 3-5 years that I actually felt confident in my abilities. I always felt the need to do more, to try extra hard, to push push push… especially when other musicians where present. But, I had an epiphany. I had to be comfortable in my own skin. I had to be okay with me. I had to realize that once I put out my best, there is no more that can give.
As an adult, we become more creative in covering our rejection. Some just recoil and live super simple lives in order to avoid rejection while, others live their lives thru their children. We have more money, more time, and resources. We don’t need to be invited to the party. We just throw the party. Now, people just don’t come. But, that’s okay… not everyone will skip your party. We have to revel in those that came.
Rejection will make you do some crazy things. When I was in high school, I ran track. But, as an adult, what are we willing to do to be accepted? Or better yet, what will we do BECAUSE of rejection? Rejection is an ancient spirit. Cain killed his brother because of rejection. This spirit has infiltrated the modern day church. We search for acceptance. We seek approval. We need that Atta boy even in the service of the Lord. Unfortunately, the acceptance that we receive isn’t always what we want. We try to build relationships, fellowships and partnerships with the intent of acceptance. But, what happens when we are rejected by those closest to us, by those that our hearts are connected to or by those that we respect?
I was reading my newsfeed on Facebook and what caught my attention is a new show like the Real Housewives of whatever but the difference here is that the women are all prominent pastors’ wives. Like, church doesn’t have enough issues as it stands (especially black churches)… All I see is that these believers are seeking acceptance from non-believers and all that happens is that your efforts are viewed as a joke. The sad part is that the joke isn’t on you (the individual) but the church (as a whole)…
How do we fix it? As a believer, I’m supposed to say put it in God’s hands. Pray, fast and God will fix it. Not to sound sacrilegious, that is final fix. That is the overall chapter but what is the verse? What happens in between the prayer, fasting and fix? We happen. One thing God gave Adam was the power of choice. One of the greatest variables that we face is the power of choice itself. We have to choose to walk in the acceptance of God first. Once we’ve made that decision then human acceptance will come. We must place our faith in Him. And trust me, that’s the hard part because we are always looking I am always looking for that human hand that reaches back when I reach out for help.
I talk about rejection because in one way or another I deal with, or have felt, it every day of my life. But, as the saying goes… Today is the first day of the rest of my life. I don’t claim to have the all of the answers but I know this, when we love ourselves, it becomes easier to love others. And when we love others, others will love us…
It’s a new year… let’s start a Lovefest!! We all need acceptance. So today, write down all of the reasons that you love… YOURSELF.
I love you ALL!!!