Belonging

Time for some real talk...I feel like I’m in a lull, a rut, a valley, out in the wilderness...

I'm struggling with the season of life I'm in right now. It probably started around mid to late part of last year when my church bible study was dissolved and so my core community group also dispersed and we each went our separate ways. I also got busy with traveling for different things which added to the disconnected feeling that was developing. My small group tried to continue to meet up once a week after our bible study dissolved, but our schedules didn’t line up anymore and that too eventually ended. I've reached a point where I have to start over, make new friends and try to jump into already formed community groups and I'm struggling. I’m not sure why this time is feels so different since I essentially had to go through the same thing when I first started going to my church, but somehow this time just feels harder.

In addition to feeling a disconnect from my church I’m walking through a season of singleness. I flip flop between being okay with it and feeling extremely lonely (currently in a lonely phase). A lot of people from my previous bible study are now in relationships (don’t get me wrong I’m extremely happy for them) but it does add to the feelings of loneliness. I’m not sure where I will end up meeting my future husband but I do know that I want a God fearing man that is strong in his faith, so that must mean my best dating pool would be the church right? Problem is that lately when I go to the social events through church I feel awkward and like an “outsider.” That “outsider” feeling is something I’ve felt before and I try to avoid it.

I’ve started listening to a podcast by Jen Hatmaker called “For the Love” and I recently listened to the one she did with Glennon Doyle. In that episode part of their conversation really stuck with me because it pretty much explains how I feel right now.

Jen: “If we want to continue belonging to a certain space, then we have to toe the party line. It’s a very powerful incentive. Very powerful. I don't mean to make light of it, because a loss of belonging in any way; it’s painful, and it's scary, and it's disorienting. All of a sudden, it's that sifting that you talked about earlier, when a lot of things that you counted on fall away. That falling away process—it’s a freefall. So I understand why, and I mean literally here, we can fill in the blank. There are so many ways right now in which group identity is leading our culture. You know where this is this is our group this is our set of beliefs. And you're either in or out here. We've lost all nuance, we've lost all discussion and conversation, we've lost any sort of value on diversity. It's just a hard time to be alive in the in the world. I get why people choose to make their inner group happy, because at least we get to keep belonging and there's a place to fall.

Glennon: And listen Jen. For sure this is what we need and want and crave. But to me, there's just this chasm wide difference between fitting in and belonging, right?

Jen: That's the difference right there.

Glennon:  Trying to “do” is “fit in,” and fitting in is so deadly because it means I am going to change who I am, who God made me to be, so that I can be who you want me to be. Then you slowly die. So belonging, and the only groups --I mean institutions run on fear, on people being afraid, of being more desperate to fit in, than to be who God called them to be and to live how God leads them to live. I mean, this is literally what happened to Jesus, right? If you want to look at what happens to you when you go against the grain of the dominant narrative in any given institution, you just look at the cross.

-You can check out more of Jen Hatmaker's "For the Love" podcast here http://jenhatmaker.com/podcast.htm

When I Google searched for an image to use for this post I happened to click on one that took me to a post on the Crosswalk website about being in the “wilderness.” It was perfect for this post so I’m using it. Here is the link to the article https://www.crosswalk.com/faith/women/3-ways-to-pursue-god-while-you-wander-in-the-wilderness.html

When I Google searched for an image to use for this post I happened to click on one that took me to a post on the Crosswalk website about being in the “wilderness.” It was perfect for this post so I’m using it. Here is the link to the article https://www.crosswalk.com/faith/women/3-ways-to-pursue-god-while-you-wander-in-the-wilderness.html

I can't really complain about missing my community when I haven't been going to church or engaging like I used to. I feel like I need a change of some sort though and I'm praying for some clarity on that. I'm also praying for that fire and desire to go to church to be reignited in my heart. 

This is not the kind of post that you would typically find on a photography blog but I just wanted to share some of what I'm going through right now. I'm not a writer by any means but I felt I should put my thoughts out there. 

*I wrote this post last night and after praying and sleeping on it my first step to getting back in the groove of things and out of this funk is to go hang out with my Coreluv family and see the beloved Rubens tonight! He is in the US for the first time from Haiti and I can't wait to spend some time with him and the crew!

-Megan

Megan Elsbury