I found this article on Praise and Coffee's site. I wanted to share it with my friends because, as women, I think we sometimes go the route of 'fitting in' rather than 'belonging to.'
Acceptance is important to us, but it shouldn't be at the expense of our true selves.
What is the Difference Between Fitting In and Belonging?
POSTED ON APRIL 4, 2013 BY SUE CRAMER
Who are you?
I spent years disciplining my personality away.
Yes, self-denial in the face of temptation that shifts us from God’s plan is beneficial. Disclipling ourselves to avoid sinful actions and attitudes will help us from taking our lives down a path of brokenness. Sacrifice can be honorable; Abraham and Isaac come to mind.
But I sacrificed my truest self at what I thought was the altar of obedience only to find that I was being manipulated and moved by guilt to fit into other people’s mold for me. I was motivated to fit in. When in Rome…
Fitting in is not the same as belonging. Fitting in does not bring peace or comfort.
‘Fitting in’ moves me to be a chameleon. It leads me down a road of plastic smiles and insecurity. To fit in I must be who you want me to be. I need to dress to please you. I must use your verbiage and I will laugh at all your jokes. If I’m going to fit in, I will need your approval. It compels me to wear a heavy backpack filled with perfectionism that keeps me from the letting the lifter of my head lead my life. I end up down a path that is shallow, empty and fruitless.
Belonging though, is freedom. It does not require me to meet your expectations, belonging only demands that I show up. I belong when I decide to be seen for who God created me to be. No longer longing for you to turn your head my way so that I can impress you, instead my hope is that in seeing me, you will see Him. When I belong, my heart is set on His approval, not yours.
I hope you let yourself be seen, even if you don’t fit the mold others have poured for you.
I’d love to hear about a time that you forfeited your own passions and plans to get the approval of someone else, and what you learned in the process. Let’s talk about it, leave me a comment.