Stranger Danger

9:43 AMHeather

A full on identity crisis arises when someone asks me where I am from. If you, too, were an Army brat, you know what I mean. Do people want to know where I was born? Or, where I lived the longest? Which location I liked the best, or, where do I live now? I wouldn't trade this aspect of my upbringing for anything....but I still wrestle against finding a sense of belonging. Somehow, I never completely felt as though I fit in. Living on an Army base, you never kept friendships long as someone was always moving on. Moving to a civilian town, I was the only Army brat. Graduating from high school, I never shook the feeling of being a new girl, even after five years. Most of my friends had gone to school together since kindergarten. Try as I might, I just didn't have the shared history--somehow, I just never felt confident that I truly did belong.

Lately, I've begun to realize that I still fight those adolescent feelings. Being a people pleaser, I long for a sense of belonging, of being sure I fit in. I have a sense of striving for something elusive, that seems to constantly slip from my fingers. I've recognized that I sometimes ascribe my self-value to a feeling of belonging, of fitting in.

I recently felt defeated wrestling against this when the Lord reminded me that I have it all backward. Instead of trying to FIT in, I should be trying to NOT fit in. THAT is my calling as a child of God. The Word encourages us that "if the world hates you, keep in mind that if hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to this world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you."

As with many things of this world, it is completely backwards from the Lord's standards. Our natural self tells us to belong, to fit in, to seek approval by men. But, God clearly tells us that if we belong and fit in and are loved by all, perhaps we are not setting ourselves apart as would please the Lord. We feel it's a danger to be the "stranger." But, the real danger is NOT recognizing that I am a stranger in this world. My whole life, I've wanted to belong...all the while, taking for granted that I DO belong to the Lord of ALL creation, the God of the Universe--my very own Abba Father. And, that's all the matters.

I pray that I can retrain myself...that I can begin to value how I belong to GOD, that I can begin to consider that if I am not "hated by the world," then perhaps I'm not choosing the higher standard. Maybe next time someone asks where I am from, I can joyfully explain WHERE I am forever home, in the arms of my Loving Father.

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