finding where I belong

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Really wanting to be liked. Really wanting to belong. Wanting to be known and be valued. Insecurities hit like crazy. I find myself all too often wondering how I’m perceived. I still struggle with the fact that people don’t necessarily see a smart girl when they meet me for the first time or care to get to know me. I’ve inadvertently heard the hurtful assumptions – shallow, concerned only with the outer appearance, only hangs out with people “like herself,” or as they call it these days, “basic.” That word still makes me laugh…because it’s a label like so many things that confine. But more on that later.

So, who am I?

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A layered onion of sorts. I know things and have experiences that would not be necessarily grouped together. Weird, huh? Events in my life might seemingly juxtapose each other. I have always strived to be well-rounded before I even knew what being well-rounded meant and I suppose that is the cause. While societal influences might have encouraged me to fit into a box, I realized as a young teenage girl that it’s possible to use my intellectual capacity in a way that’s fitting to my own passions, interests, and unique personality.

My high school days involved some very strong encouragement to pursue an Ivy League school. Senior year Saturdays were spent getting up at 5am and riding the NYC subway to  take science and engineering classes at a city college. Friends who know me now might be surprised by this. But because I was good at these subjects, I was sort of forced to pursue it. As I headed home on that noisy E train, studying my textbook but more so the diverse personalities all round me, something inside wanted to fight for me. I considered what I enjoyed and decided I would rather spend my energies excelling in those areas. I enjoyed culture, public speaking, fashion, language learning, the arts, anything that gave me an avenue to express this beauty of traits that I felt were spilling out of me.

You see, “smart” is not defined as one particular thing or in a limited way. It’s not a term only meant for those who pursue a certain course. I had to realize that and accept it. I enjoy reading but not so much about concepts or a way of thought as I do reading books and articles that leave room to the imagination…stories, self-reflections…those things that make life come alive for me!

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Portions of my life have been lived stuffed into a box. There were times of having to conform to someone else in order to be accepted. It has left me feeling insufficient and empty. It’s no way to truly live. If we look closely, we might find that where we are in some way a product of who we felt we needed to be or who we were told to be. Some of us have realized this and courageously broken the mold. Dare I say that my discovery is more of a journey? I discover it daily and have done so even more in recent years.

Here is what I do know: the gifts, talents, abilities, and experiences that God has given me were in no way a mishap. I am to channel those along with what I find myself passionate about into something of great purpose. God has entrusted these to me for His greater good. We are ALL called to something! If you are still a seeker, know that He has been using the events of your life to draw you to something of significance. There’s no limit to what He can use you for. He’s got a plan for your life if you’ll just trust Him with it. As David wrote so confidently in the Psalms, “The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me.”

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I try to see life and others through God’s eyes…from His perspective. I value differences of personality and outlooks on life through which I see evidences of the Imago Dei. Beautiful. That’s what people are to me – because they’re made in God’s own image – so uniquely and beautifully made. Truly getting to know others, their culture, what drives them, what brings them joy, among other things unearths the “fearfully and wonderfully made” described in Psalm 139. My passion is helping others to discover this about themselves. While I may not be completely sure of all the ways I can do this, I am confident that I can use the tools that God has given me so far to accomplish that.

So, if those insecurities tend to hit you hard like they do me, here are the things I strive to remember:

  1. I AM SIGNIFICANT. I am created in God’s image. (If you know God personally then you know that this is by far some pretty legit quality to have)!
  2. I HAVE PURPOSE. I have something to offer the world that is uniquely me. My own set of qualities experiences, and characteristics. Good or bad. They can benefit someone else and doing it will bring me joy.
  3. I AM ACCOUNTABLE. We will all one day stand before God and account for how we’ve used what He’s given to us. Sure, this sounds like a lot of pressure for something too great but it’s really not. Just don’t sit around hiding from the world what God created you for. Put  it to work! No time or room for insecurities here!

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*Here are some awesome verses that have encouraged me:

“…He has made every nationality to live over the whole earth and has determined their appointed times and the boundaries of where they live.” (Acts 17:26)

“Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.” (Proverbs 19:21)

“The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me.” (Psalm 138:8)

Here’s to finding where you belong!

 

when you’re just not sure how to believe God right now

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I’m tired of living life as is. Mundane. In redundancy. In complacency. Spiritually complacent. Never truly expecting to see God move in incredible ways. Continually hearing about how God is working wonderfully in the lives of others but not seeing that come to fruition in my own life is difficult.

Have you ever prayed like crazy for someone – lots of someones – and see God answer those prayers left and right; yet, when it comes to prayers for yourself getting answered you can hear a pin drop? Why is that? You’re happy for that person. Genuinely happy. But the walk to your car after church service or after a get-together with friends can admittedly be one of the loneliest. Sometimes I feel like my heart is carrying bricks. The only solution seems to be avoiding those events altogether. Arriving late and leaving early because you don’t want to hear about anyone’s life or answer questions about your own that will only end up in a mascara-ruining situation. No thanks.

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Truthfully, I’ve had past experiences of seeing God do unimaginable things in my life, but right now it’s a struggle. Is He done acting on my behalf or something? Or is it just my inability to have any shred of hope in Him right now?

Faint memories remind me of a time when my heart leaped at the thought of what God could possibly do. I had a joyful anticipation of His crafty hand delighting my soul with a miraculous surprise. But I’m afraid I’ve lost that anticipation and somehow gotten lost in the world of having little to no expectation – FOR ANYTHING. There’s just not much that I expect from God. The eager joy has escaped my heart like that of a girl wooed no more. The words “have faith” now produce a strong sense of resentment within me. I don’t believe that “moving mountains” ordeal as I used to…at least my heart doesn’t.

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One of the godliest men whom I have crossed paths with has become sort of like a spiritual grandfather to me. He listens and encourages with great, Godly wisdom. I don’t get to see him often but I know that if I’m having a rough time I can send him an email or just send updates on my life. To have that is a great blessing itself. He recently reminded me that in Genesis 8 it says, ‘and God remembered Noah.’ “So dear sister, He has remembered you. Your time adrift on the boat is coming to an end. You’re in the palm of His hand.” Coming from someone who should’ve lost his battle with cancer numerous times, those words brought a comforting hope to my heart. God has remembered ME…little old me.

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Jesus does in fact pursue my heart and He does delight in my seeing evidences of Him in incredible ways. As seasons change and look very different in our lives I think it’s the same way with the Lord. He doesn’t want to stay in the same place with us as it was a year ago…or even months ago! Like any relationship, He desires us to grow and be closer to Him. And sometimes, that requires difficulty or maybe even the feeling of being distant so that we’ll press into Him more. So that we’ll seek after Him.

“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13)

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I want my God to open these eyes to see Him in ways I never have before. I don’t want to stay stuck in spiritual complacency. I want to dream endlessly walking by His side and have a part in His grandest of plans!