The Folly of Fitting In

I have felt like an outsider for most of my life.

Photo by Wendy Wei on Pexels.com

This picture, taken from the vantage point of an onlooker, is how I felt for much of my life. Always an observer. Forever on the outside looking in. I desperately wanted to be one of those girls, arms wrapped around each other, laughing and having fun together. I was never invited.

Most people who know me think my self image is silly at best and possibly crazy. I’ve been told that my self perception is wrong, that I don’t really know myself, or that I have low self esteem. For years I assumed everyone else knew better. Then I got mad. Why would someone outside my head know me better than I know myself? The truth is I see things differently than most anyone else I know; therefore, I see myself as different. I am different. And so are you.

The thing about me that has separated me from many others, particularly my family, is my spiritual nature and my relationship with God. I was not raised in a family that went to church together every week. God was not discussed. It wasn’t a matter of belief as much as practice. My parents had not had a religious upbringing, so neither did my brother and I. Mom took us to church sometimes; she would take us and some friends to Sunday School then come back to pick us up. Finally, as we grew older we simply fell out of the practice.

I began going to church with friends and neighbors. I would walk down the street to attend the little nondenominational church in our neighborhood. Sometimes mom would come with me, but I felt an urge to be near God and this is where I thought He lived. So I went.

Fast forward to my fifth and sixth decades of life. Some days I don’t think I’ve learned anything; other days I stand in awe of all that God has done and is doing with me. This morning I had such a moment. It was a burning bush moment.

I picked up a devotional book that I haven’t touched in months, “Yes, And…” by Fr. Richard Rohr is a collection of meditations that move my heart, mind and soul. It always astounds me when I just open a book or the Bible and what I read speaks directly to what is happening in my life. It is a frequent enough occurrence that I have to believe God is enlightening me to something important.

You do not think yourself into a new way of living as much as you live your way into a new way of thinking.

Fr. Richard Rohr, Yes, And….

This one sentence stopped me cold. I had to read and reread it. Allow it to penetrate beyond the logical mind and into my soul. I sat quietly and allowed experiences and thoughts to flood back into my conscious mind. Images, of what have always felt like the tattered pieces of a life that had no direction, slowly came into focus. Thoughts from long ago returned accompanied by the late night whispers that our home is where we are to be and to invest in our community.

In a society that values decisiveness and action, God wants us to be still and listen. We are to watch and wait and live. Do the day in and day out stuff that seems mundane, but always do it with a sense of anticipation. We never know when God is ready to move in our hearts and minds towards something greater than we could have ever expected.

Do I fit in? Nope. Not on earth and certainly not in the world we currently live in. Do I care anymore? Nope! I am here because God has more work for me to do and my plan is to allow him to do what is necessary and enjoy the ride.

Peace and Love,

Sheryl

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