Monday, September 8, 2014

Fitting in or belonging...?

Week 37:

Ephesians 4:25 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body.

I have recently read a book by Brené Brown titled Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead.   Brené is an author, researcher, and college professor and her recent work has been in the areas of vulnerability, courage, worthiness, and shame.  Her book was written for a broad arena of readers.  However, as I read through her material, I could sense a Biblical and Spiritual perspective within her study of human nature and interaction.

One of the things that Brené briefly touched on in her book has been a theme that God has been working on in my life for some time now.  After reading it on the pages of the book, I have become even more aware of this theme over the past few weeks.  The theme is this idea of fitting in vs. belonging.  Basically, fitting in is becoming someone I am not in order to fit into a group or to connect with a person.  A sense of belonging is when I belong to a group or am accepted by someone just as I am.  Even if I am not accepted, I still have a sense of belonging because I am good with who I am (with who God made me to be).   

Several years ago I realized that I was living life in such a way that really did not know who I was.  I was living the life of a pleaser in order to be accepted…to fit in.  It started for me somewhere in Elementary School.  I began to be somebody I was not and began to act like those around me.  I did this for so long that I really did not know who I was.  Somewhere in my early 20s, I realized that I was a poser.  If someone were to ask me then what I wanted from life, I could give a Churchy answer…but really deep inside, I didn’t have a clue.  I did not like who I had become.  Yet, I really did not do anything about it.  A few years ago, I realized that I needed a transformational shift in my life by God.  So, I began this journey that I am now on to let God work His power in me, my heart and my soul. 

Within that journey come themes that I believe God places in my life for a time.  These themes are opportunities to do work on my heart and soul.  The part of Brené’s book about fitting vs. belonging reminded me of the above verse.  I do realize that one verse can be taken out of context.  However, when I look at the area from which this verse is written, it fits my walk.  The verses leading to 4:25 talk about putting off the old self.  That is what I am in the middle of doing now.  And, one of the parts of the old self I am still setting aside is the false self.  This is the part of me that acts a certain way in order to fit in. 

While I was looking at that part of myself as well as observing this action in others, another verse came to mind for me.  “Do not covet.” (Exodus 20:17)  An even more accurate verse to this situation is James 4:2-3: “You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”  In my desire to belong, I have tried to fit in.  I have tried to fit in because I covet the connection, the belonging.  I am trying to belong or fit in with earthly situations. 

The challenge for me is to be good with who God made me to be.  I am on a journey of improvement within that purpose, but I am not to be who I am not.  In order to drop my false self, I need to recognize what I covet.  When recognize how and why I covet, I realize that I belong, but I do not necessarily need to fit in.


1.      What came up for you when you read the difference between fitting in and belonging?
2.      What are some of the actions you take in order to fit in?
3.      What have been the results of your efforts to fit in?
4.      Have you been able to feel the difference between fitting in and belonging?  Explain.
5.      What was your reaction to fitting in relating to coveting?
6.      This week, pay attention to what God may be revealing to you from this article.    

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