Do You Ever Feel Like You Don’t Belong?

 Yeah me too. That is one reason I am writing this post. I have come to realize  I may never be one of the “cool” kids and it’s okay. What sucks however is feeling like that just about everywhere, including the church. Not to say people aren’t nice and polite at my local church where we are members. But, my family just feels like we don’t fit in. We try and consider other people, it just doesn’t seem to make a difference.
My wife and I particularly feel that way because of our living situation. We are both students right now, neither of us working. As a family we live with my mom. My health is a major factor (if your new to the blog I have fibromyalgia). It limits the things I am capable of doing. I’ll leave it for another post. With my oldest son having special needs (Aspergers), he is not well received by his peers. The only one who seems to fit in is our six year old.
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I don’t know if it’s just our perception or what, but we often feel like outsiders. We have few friends, and even fewer we talk to on a regular basis. Don’t misunderstand we want to be sociable people.
We want to be pictures of God’s grace. So we have stuck it out for several years at our current church.
My wife was a Sunday school teacher who started to feel taken for granted and burnt out. She had been teaching since we started there and she was doing it alone while all the other classes had help. I’m not saying  we serve to be given credit because I know any praise we get here is our reward. While the good things we do and get no praise for we get praise in heaven. But some small words of gratitude can go a long way.
Who doesn’t want to feel like they matter, especially to those in their home church. It is a place where we’re  supposed to feel like an extended family. We often struggle with finding our place apart from service, which can be part of our problem. We are being like Martha, so busy serving we are missing the Messiah in the other room.
Looking through the gospels you see Jesus with the outcast, the downtrodden, people that everyone else wouldn’t give another thought about. I guess that is one reason why I am drown to him. Because he loves me while I struggle to feel the same love from His church.
I hope your experience is different. And you have a place where it feels like coming home every time you walk through the doors. I am at place where I am no longer sure how I feel come Sunday morning.
Can you relate to every feeling out of place?
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6 thoughts on “Do You Ever Feel Like You Don’t Belong?

  1. Paul
    I am so sorry that you are feeling this way. It sounds to me like you may be depressed. Seek help if you can”t pull yourself out of this. Maybe you could talk to your Pastor or a deacon.Express how you feel, it may be that they are just unaware of how you are feeling. If you remain uncomfortable with your church, seek a bible believing and more loving one.
    I love my church family and can’t imagine one that is not loving and caring for all of it’s members. The building is not the church, the believers in it are.
    I will pray for you and your wife and children, to find a place where you are welcomed, loved and appreciated for who you are.

    In Christ, Anne

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    • Thank you very much for your kind words. I will be okay. I am glad to hear that the Lord has you at a place you love and are loved on. Right now I do not feel the Lord calling us anywhere else. I hope to start an internship here with this church in the next week or so for class. I hope that will help.
      Thanks for your support. And your prayers. God Bless,

      Paul

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  2. Today’s 500 words came up with this theme I thought I would share.

    Not belonging?

    How many times has that feeling almost choked the life out of me? “I don’t belong anywhere. No one cares who I am or where I come from.” Not belonging to a group. Not having anyone in a close relationship, no one who understands my thoughts, my pain, my longing. Not belonging – not even among Christian brothers and sisters.

    The toughest test was once many years ago, when a certain decision we had made on the mission field turned nearly all our colleagues against us. We were even forbidden to attend their annual gathering – incase our decision would cause a split among them. We had never, ever wanted a split. The decision we made concerned our local work in our local area.

    The following year we were invited to the annual gathering. In our language there is an expression called ‘out-freezing’. That means ‘you are not one of us’, stay out and freeze in the cold. Freeze to death – we don’t care. Experiencing a situation of invisibility was freezing, being alienated.

    The last day of that gathering was on Sunday. The final meeting was to end with Communion. I asked myself, can I take part in Communion with these people, colleagues, and friends from many years? The do not accept me. Will the Communion have any meaning if I do take part? Am I one of them or am I completely separate from them? Have I broken fellowship with them? Or do they just not accept me?

    I thought what it would mean to completely cut myself off from them. The mission they represented had been part of my family long before I was born. It was my father’s mission from his youth; he had been one of the pioneers of that mission. He had given his whole life for mission – whether understood or misunderstood by others. My siblings were all involved in the same mission in various ways, at home or abroad. If I wanted to cut myself clean from that mission. It would mean cutting me clean from my own family; from my father.

    The thoughts rambled on before communion – or was it God’s Spirit trying to teach me something? Even if I cut myself from my father’s family, from him, even so far as to getting a complete blood transfusion, clearing out every cell of my father’s blood in me, my body would still be producing those same blood cells in the future.

    That is how we all our bound together by the Blood of Christ. We are all bought with the same price:
    “The blood that Jesus shed for me,
    Way back on Calvary;
    it’s that blood that gives me strength from day to day,
    It will never lose its power.
    It reaches to the highest mountain.
    It flows to the lowest valley.
    The blood that gives me strength from day to day,
    It will never lose its power.
    It soothes my doubts and calms my fears,
    And it dries all, all my tears.
    The blood that gives me strength from day to day,
    It will never lose its power.

    I shared Communion with my brothers and sisters, who still turned their backs on me. Many did not speak to me for years. Some even made up lies which hurt deeply as a rusty sword wound, festering for years.

    I have Rheumatoid Arthritis. I call it a ‘religious illness’, due to the fact that it is an auto-immune disease. Instead of the immune system protecting my body from outside attacks of infections, it turns against the joints and ligaments of my own body. That is what I was experiencing in the Body of Christ. Instead of all of us jointly finding out what God’s will for the mission, for the church, for the revival which was going on, the immune system of the body turned against itself, causing terrible damage. ‘Religious principles without love’.

    Belonging? To whom do we belong? We are born again into the family of God. We are His children. As His children we are one family. Who can separate us from His love? No power in heaven, on earth or below. That love can flow through us to heal the wounds both in the body of Christ as well as in the suffering world. If we never knew the pain of not belonging, of being outsiders even when we are inside, we would never understand the pain of others who are outside, with no one to care.

    “No, for the Scriptures tell us that for his sake we must be ready to face death at every moment of the day—we are like sheep awaiting slaughter; but despite all this, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ who loved us enough to die for us. For I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from his love. Death can’t, and life can’t. The angels won’t, and all the powers of hell itself cannot keep God’s love away. Our fears for today, our worries about tomorrow, or where we are—high above the sky, or in the deepest ocean—nothing will ever be able to separate us from the love of God demonstrated by our Lord Jesus Christ when he died for us.” Romans 8:36-39

    Lisa

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    • Lisa,

      I don’ t quite know how to respond to such a story. Other than to say I hate that it happened that way for you and your family. I know that through Christ all things are possible. He works all things together for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose. Rom. 8:28 is my life verse.

      Thank you for taking the time to respond and share your story. God Bless,

      Paul

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  3. I did not mean to overwhelm you by my story. Instead I hoped to show that the power of God’s love and the cleansing, healing of the Blood, goes far beyond any pain of body or spirit we ever can experience in our lives. The pain can be transformed into empathy and caring for others. We begin to see the pain others go through, and drop off the lethargy of thinking ‘all is well in the world’.

    Your story of ‘not belonging’ brought umpteen memories of being an outsider, growing up as a missionary kid, an alien of anther color; later at ‘home’ as an ‘alien’ with another way of thinking, speaking, acting. Now it is very natural for me to connect with foreigners, or visitors at our church, even strangers who can’t find what they’re looking for in the grocery store, since every article is labeled in a language strange to them.

    Also, I am at peace with those who hurt us a long time ago; even on speaking terms. Jesus came to His own, they did not receive Him. I think He wants us to learn to share His experience of rejection in some measure, so we can serve ‘the least of his brothers and sisters’ through what we have gone through.

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