To belong is to be fully accepted exactly where you find yourself. Could be in a place of curiosity, grief, wonder, celebration, or “meh”, and all if it belongs. When you find belonging in a community, in God, and in oneself, the real you is never a threat. But what I observed is that way too many people settle for fitting in.
Fitting in sounds good enough, but it demands that you conform to some “other.”
Fitting in means you adapt to be worth being included. We can see if we said this, posted this, wore that then we too could be at that table. We can calculate our way into a form of belonging, but it has a cost. Instead of being aware of what your body needs, what grieving looks like to you, what expressing anger looks like to you, you have to be constantly aware of whatever one else is doing and expecting of you so you can keep your seat at that table. It’s exhausting.
So here’s a tip I learned from a good friend many years ago. Write yourself a permission slip.
Yes. Write it out like you were in 3rd grade copying your mother’s signature to get out of dodgeball.
Write your name and then “has permission to:”
- take a nap this afternoon even though I took one last week.
- take the long way home from work and sing crazy loud with the window down.
- tell yourself in the mirror that you are ravishingly beautiful.
- put the house project on hold and jump into the river with your friends.
- ask for help.
- cry about that lost friendship.
- dream how you (yes, you) see God.
- say no to the dinner party you regretfully said yes to.
When we abide in that deep truth that we belong to this good and beautiful God in every breath, then we don’t have to perform to some ideal to defend being worth that belonging. We can rest, play and dream because that belonging is in all those already, because it’s already, always has been, within you.
You have permission to be fully you.
And you are beautiful.