Tag: belonging

I don’t like coffee. There, I said it.

I read blogs and listen to podcasts. I’ve seen the memes. Women who are younger than me – a lot younger than me- who write books, wear great earrings, who all seem to know each other. And they all seem to love coffee.

Somehow I’ve told myself if I were ever in Nashville or Chicago or the next blogging conference I’d be able to blend right in. If I wore a cute pair of boots, a long skirt, found some cool earrings from a free trade company and wore my Warby Parker glasses, it might distract from my obvious age. But then someone would say, “Let’s grab a coffee,” and I’d be exposed for the outsider I am.

Even in the photography class, I’m taking I try to fit. When I scroll through Instagram to the pictures of others in my group they are full of spring blossoms, of lilacs and peonies, tulips, cherry blossoms and ranunculus- bundles and bundles of ranunculus. I sigh a lament of not having these beauties around me. When the prompt is branches and blossoms, I grab my fake branch with pretty pink blooms on them. It might be a fake cherry blossom branch, but I hope it doesn’t look too fake. I look at these photos and again feel like I don’t belong. What can I do that will look as lovely? How do I fit in with this group of artists?

I’m used to standing out having grown up in the Salvation Army but not always comfortable with the things that make me different. It all sounds so juvenile. Am I still worried about fitting in? At 60, is that still clawing at me?

I’m over at The Mudroom today. Read the rest of the story here

 

grace

Much of my childhood I felt I didn’t fit. We moved so much in my junior and senior high school years I didn’t have time to join so I didn’t have time to fit. By the time I figured out the rhythm of this new school we were moving to another state where I’d have to observe and learn again.

Move from Arkansas to Baltimore: note to self: they don’t say y’all here
Move from FL to Utah: LDS means Latter Day Saints (and everyone but me is one)
Move from FL to TX: my seemingly ancient, though kind, English teacher called Jim, in Huckleberry Fin, Negra Jim. hmmm

Fitting in seems important because it feels comfortable and known. Maybe that’s why it surprised me to feel like I fit in with a group of addicts and alcoholics.

 

I don’t think I can adequately articulate this because I don’t completely understand this. Except that I know I’ve been lost and am found. I’m the sinner saved by grace. Broken and being put back together one jagged edge at a time.

Switch foot isn’t a band whose music you’ll likely hear on Sunday morning. They don’t write what we call praise and worship songs. They’ve gone so far as to resist having their music put in the ‘Christian music’ box. They write music. They are Christians. They view the world through the lens of their faith. That informs their music. I find that refreshing as I’m not a fan of that ‘christian box’.

Beautiful Letdown album by Switchfoot

I like their sound. The crashing guitars, real drums, their energy and passion. The lyrics are a bonus.

In a world full of bitter pain and bitter doubt
I was trying so hard to fit in, fit in,
Until I found out
I don’t belong here

They are singing my song. Words I with which I can connect, learn and grow.

It was a beautiful let down
When you found me here

This song, in particular, reminds me I’ve been found. In each of the 13 schools I attended, He found me. In the nine states we’ve lived, I was found. God found me in his love.

Their words are counter-culture to what is often espoused in today’s Christian circles. They sing of the calling to follow a Savior who wasn’t accepted by his own. This song reminds us following Jesus will bring ridicule and scorn.

We are a beautiful let down,
Painfully uncool,
The church of the dropouts
The losers, the sinners, the failures and the fools
Oh what a beautiful let down

This is who I am, where I find myself found. These are my people because they are Jesus’ people. Nothing to prove. Only grace to receive. And the songs final reminder that I don’t belong here. Not on this earth. Our home is in heaven with Christ.

faith grace Music

by Annie Rim

In my mid-twenties, after having gone on only a couple dates, I decided to come to terms with the fact that I would most likely be single the rest of my life. I started making plans and dreaming dreams that included only me – no imaginary partner.

My mid-thirties self gives an enormous eye-roll.

I was married in my late twenties and am now living the stereotypical life of a stay-at-home mom to my two daughters. Add being a middle-class, educated white woman to the mix, and I’ll easily find a place at any church, regardless of beliefs or denomination.

Recently I spent a morning texting with a single friend who has decided to leave our church. This friend was highly involved in church life and its weekly clockwork. My friend was also part of the small group my husband and I host at our house. Yes, he was in the minority among couples but I didn’t think anything of it.

Until, partway through our conversation he said this: “I feel loved there, but not totally a part since I cannot join in couples talk and that was a big part of conversation.”

single

Ouch.

Frank and I were talking about being single. How hard and lonely it iand how neither of us will ever understand what our friends deal with. Even though I wanted to be in a relationship and was often lonely while I was single, I got married at the exact average age for my demographic.

Stories of loneliness, of feeling forgotten, of not having a place have been shared about singles and the church. More and more stories are coming out – that the “singles ministry” isn’t what is needed. How do we embody the family of God for those who so desperately wish to start their own families?

It’s easy to say, We’re here for you! I’ll give you a hug on Sunday! But that doesn’t fill the day-to-day gap our single friends face. On the other side are people giving the advice of Try harder! Join more groups! You’ll feel loved if you put in more of an effort.

This has made me aware of so many groups who feel abandoned by The Church. Who feel lost or on the outside. Who feel that, no matter how hard they try, needs aren’t being met.

It reminds me of the imperfectness of The Church. The thing is, no one’s needs will ever be met by an institution. Loneliness will still be waiting at home. And yet… If we are The Church; If The Church goes beyond the institution, I wonder how I can stretch outside of my own comfort zone to help make small changes?

Perhaps it’s taking time out of our busy week to invite someone for dinner – mess and grumpy kids and all – because they need a family. Perhaps it’s seeking out someone from a different demographic, who may be different from all my other friends. Perhaps it’s something big like committing to volunteer or something small like sitting in a different section of the sanctuary so that I can meet new people.

What I’m hearing more and more is that The Church simply cannot meet all the needs of all the people. And I don’t think that’s what Jesus had in mind when he came to reframe and restore the covenant God gave his people.

When he calls us to love our neighbor, to care for the least of these, to remember those around us are Jesus personified, I think he’s asking us to be The Church, to step in where institutions simply aren’t capable of going.

I’m sad that our friend left the institution of The Church. But I know that, as long as we’re friends, it’s impossible to actually leave The Church.

Annie RimAnnie Rim lives in Colorado where she values asking questions, community, raising strong kids, and grappling with faith. She finds snippets of time to blog at annierim You can also follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

 

faith hope The Church