Where do I fit in? What does it mean to fit in? Have you ever walked into a room and felt an “air” about the room, and instantly, you felt unwelcome? I spent the majority of my life feeling this way. I still find myself experiencing this awkwardness at times. It’s a reality that we face. We struggle to feel quite adequate enough to be a part of certain groups, organizations, or types of society. We feed on human acceptance. It’s part of our flesh and our emotional capacity.
Some of you know me in my community. Many of you see and hear the activity of my non-profit, Light Of Hope. I created this organization, as a place for people to find hope, to know they fit in, unconditional, loved, and understood. Even with this organization established, I admit I still struggle with identity. Not too many people know me personally. If you’ve heard my testimony, you’ve heard some of the difficult journeys. However, the depths of my experiences are still unknown to most people. There are details that I went through that are incomprehensible. Sometimes, I wish someone understood those difficult details. It’s been a tough road. Those of us who have been through severe situations must process through human emotions on a daily basis. Because of the depth of the pain, we had to make a choice. My choice was the only option. Surrender my life, completely and wholly to God. I reach out for the Hand of Jesus and allow Jesus to carry me through each day. I dedicate my life to turning my pain into purpose. My entire existence is committed to helping other people press through their difficult journey. I am determined to allow God to use me in any way He possibly needs me.
Doing this comes with its own set of difficulty. I had to become completely vulnerable. I am an open book. My dirty laundry sits on a shelf for the world to see. I am judged by those who don’t understand the purpose. This means I battle the human flesh of emotions every day. This means I experience that ‘feeling’ of not fitting in. I still don’t know that I have been accepted by some people. I still face the reality of certain people’s attitudes toward me. There are still people that only know me for that struggling, abused, depressed, alcoholic that I was for a small period of my life. There are still people that purposely avoid me, as they identify me with pity, as a mom who lost her daughter. It’s hard to get over that identity. It’s hard to know if you’ve been accepted, forgiven, “unjudged”. It’s hard to know if you fit in, leaving us open to vulnerability.
What does it mean to be vulnerable? The word “vulnerable” is often used synonymously with “weakness.” This definition might be right for engineering, but it’s not accurate when it comes to emotional vulnerability. A much better synonym for “vulnerability” is “courage.” Emotional vulnerability can be defined as having the courage to take emotional risks, even when we don’t know the outcome. It means showing up as our authentic selves and speaking our truth with no guarantee that we’ll be accepted. For many of us, this uncertainty can create a deep-rooted fear of rejection. Humans are wired with a need for belonging, and avoiding rejection is a powerful motivator. As a result, we often try to fit in or hide our true feelings rather than risk not being accepted. In the end, being emotionally vulnerable is not just helpful. It’s necessary to live a happy, fulfilled life. Of course, that doesn’t mean it’s easy.
I am so thankful that I know that my identity does not revolve around the difficulty of the past or the acceptance of others. My identity exists because of our Savior Jesus Christ. My life is a reflection of God’s power. Only God could have carried me through what I’ve been through. Only God can carry me through each day and use it for His glory. I am a survivor. I am a child of the Most High God. I am His example, His vessel, His warrior on this earth. I pray that each one of you knows that you have a purpose. Our purpose is deep within us. Our purpose is our witness to the world, in how we choose to live out our lives. We can take our past brokenness and use it as a pedestal to reveal the unveiling of Christ within us. We can determine to allow God to show us His love, by allowing Him to pour into you. Surrender your life to Christ, and ask God to be the one in control. Then, walk boldly into those rooms, and allow yourself to experience the vulnerability of ‘uncomfortableness’. It is in these moments when you will experience the power of God. He will create an atmosphere in which you ‘fit in’. God will guide you through the awkward moments and allow you to feel welcome. Your renewed life in Christ will be filled with His purpose and His love.
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. ROMANS 12:2
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 2 CORINTHIANS 5:17
God is with us.
© Layla Freeman 2021
Author of HOPE IN THE STRUGGLE and Layla’s Light
All Rights Reserved
P.O. Box 669 Claremore, OK 74018
Facebook – Layla’s Light
Twitter – @laylaslight
Layla’s Devotional Book available for purchase at the following:
AMAZON – HOPE IN THE STRUGGLE -$9.95
Light of Hope
(Layla Founded this Non-Profit after the loss of her daughter)