Five Minute Friday: Belong

Belonging, at least for me, takes a great deal of effort.

Attending children’s classes at church each week, I felt like the ‘odd-one out’, because I didn’t attend our local church school.  After being together daily, my peers had established friendships that took longer than a couple hours once a weekly to make.

From junior high through high school, I never really felt included equally.  There was always a tension present; I just knew that something wasn’t completely right.  The only time I had people clamoring for my attention was doing a group project.  They wanted to work with me, not because of who I was but because my smarts and work ethic would guarantee them an ‘A’.  (Yes, I actually heard that comment more than once.)

My first ‘real’ salaried job as an adult showed me that the struggle to belong doesn’t end with your grade 12 diploma.  I quickly found myself excluded because of healthy lifestyle choices and my refusal to spend lunch outings complaining (aka gossiping) about co-workers, managements and company issues.  I used to think it was in my head, until another co-worker confided to me that she hated how everyone else treated me there.  I knew that if someone else could see it, it was bad.

Not belonging often meant I was purposely excluded.  Overlooked, left out and omitted for being too nice, too kind, too polite, not complaining, not gossiping, not cursing….  The list goes on. I didn’t belong when I dared to be different.

Yet the advantage of struggling to belong meant that I had to dig deep for my sense of worth.  It wasn’t rooted in how I looked, acted or talked.  I took my sense of worth from God and His Word.  I discovered that I do indeed belong somewhere and to Someone.  I was created on purpose, for a purpose.  All of these hardships were part of the refining process, molding me to accomplish the work that God has for me to do.

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You wouldn’t believe how the number of instances of when I struggle to belong are flooding my mind.  It’s a good thing the time guideline is only for five minutes.  I didn’t even touch the obvious yet—race.  That discussion will come in later posts. 

Join the five minute Friday community here.  With all the great readers, writers and cheerleaders, you just may find belonging.  I have.

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  • Tiffany Mrsh Haywood

    Isn’t it awesome that there is no exclusion in God? He is truly an awesome creator..

    • http://sabrinajr.com/ Sabrina

      Praise God, Tiffany! This is why I strive to be like God–because His behaviour and actions are worth sharing with the world.

  • Rosario

    I like your post. I often feel like you when I visit my in-laws. I feel I don’t belong there because their life revolves around gossip about other family members. Something I don’t like to take part of. Also when I try to talk about what I like somehow I feel I’m being ignored.

    • http://sabrinajr.com/ Sabrina

      I so know that feeling, Rosario! That makes it hard, because it’s not like you can totally avoid your extended family forever. Hopefully they’ll catch on to your positive example (of not gossiping) sooner, rather than later and quit the ugly habit.

  • http://www.sonyamacdesigns.com/ Sonya McCllough

    That is one of the many reasons I love Love Jesus … cause HE in the only one whose desire is to include ALL who believe in and on HIM.

    • http://sabrinajr.com/ Sabrina

      Amen, Sonya! He desires to include, not exclude. That mindset makes a world of difference.

  • Alexa Toop

    You and I are very alike, Bri – I realize that more and more all the time :) I feel exactly, exactly, exactly like this…pretty consistently. Keep drawing near to God in spite of whatever loneliness the world might bring. You’re inspiring to me!

    • http://sabrinajr.com/ Sabrina

      LOL–I’ve always said to myself that you & I are quite alike, Alexa :) You inspire me too, Doctor-girl!

  • http://www.debistangeland.com/ Debi Stangeland

    You belong with me!!!!! Because you are totally awesome and a rock star in my eyes. So I’m kinda glad you didn’t fit in before so that now we can be together. Rock on!!!!

    • http://sabrinajr.com/ Sabrina

      Yay! I’ve found a *home* :) Thanks, girl! XOXO

  • http://www.gracebiskie.com/ Grace Biskie

    you know, I *almost* did mine about race too, but I’ve written twice this week about race & I think I’m just totally overhwhelmed by the topic and just feel so tired…I can’t even go there right now. sigh. Anyway, I’m so sorry for all the unbelonging you faced growing up, it’s tough and sad to remember those things. I have a lot of those stories as well. Big hug.

    • http://sabrinajr.com/ Sabrina

      ((HUGS)) Too many of us have a variety of these stories, mostly for the wrong reasons. It was hard remembering, but I’m kinda glad I did. I’ve come a long way since then–praise God!

  • http://momentsandinvitations.com/ Dana Butler

    Girl, I identify too! I think you may have just described my first office job. Precisely. I also identify with how you learned to find your sense of worth and belonging in HIM. Ditto. Love how He uses it all to draw us into that place. Anyway… thank you so much for sharing. So, so appreciate your words here.

    • http://sabrinajr.com/ Sabrina

      You’re welcome, Dana :) I hope you’ve had better experiences since that first office job.

  • E W Wright

    I can so identify with what you wrote, Sabrina. Thanks for sharing your heart so honestly. (Stopping by from Five Minute Friday).

    • http://sabrinajr.com/ Sabrina

      Thank you for stopping by & reading :)

  • Denise Oldham

    thanks for sharing your beautiful heart.

    • http://sabrinajr.com/ Sabrina

      Thank you for being such a faithful reader & commenter, Denise :)

  • Patty Mejia Burke

    Found you through 5 Minute Friday. You are blessed with God’s strength and grace, I can tell. Living in this world, with all of its scary things, you are so strong!

    • http://sabrinajr.com/ Sabrina

      Oh Patty, thank you for your kind, encouraging words. I feel so humbled that you can tell all that about me from my words. I pray that I will continue to be a blessing in written form :)

  • Amy von Borstel

    I’m dropping in for Five Minute Friday. This is so beautiful, Sabrina. I can tell just by reading this short post that you belong to Christ. You are a great writer!

    Blessings to you!

    Amy (www.liveabundantlynow.com)

    • http://sabrinajr.com/ Sabrina

      Thank you for dropping in, Amy :) It’s wonderful to belong to Christ. It’s a doubt-free relationship!