“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect” Romans 12:2 NLT
I’m in a Celebrate Recovery group at church. I am currently going through the 12-step program, learning more about myself and my relationship with God. I joined this group because of the anxiety and PTSD caused from the emotional abuse and infidelity in my marriage. I stay in it because of all the flaws it’s revealed in me for me to work on; patterns and behaviors shaped in me from childhood and adulthood. I’m sure I’ll write about all that later, but the above verse was in my lesson this past week and has really had me thinking since I read it.
I have often felt like I don’t belong. I don’t always relate to people like I feel like I should. Same age, same socio-economic class, same interests- I still feel like I’m out of place. I make friends easily, I’m good at serious conversation and small talk, and I genuinely enjoy being with others, but there’s only a few people I am comfortable with truly being myself. That list got a lot smaller after my ex’s affair and our divorce.
I think a lot of people feel this way, probably way more than will admit it. We all want to fit in somewhere, that’s what we’re all searching for. We want friends that understand and accept us, a family of our own so we have people we know love us, people who will let us express our thoughts and ideas with no judgement. We just want to know that we are wanted for being who we are. That is what this all comes down to, a longing for love and acceptance.
So, we try to be what others want because that’s easier than being vulnerable and expressing who we really are, because then people may not like us. Honestly, is there anything worse than being rejected for being yourself? Our desire to belong is so strong that we will give up our very self to be a part of something- peer groups, friendships, romantic relationships, and even family- anything so that we’re not alone.
Aside from my parents and a couple very close friends, I don’t know that I’ve ever felt loved for being me. I know I didn’t feel it in my marriage, I had to work too hard for love there. I constantly had to make him happy and validate him and show him love. If I was too needy or just couldn’t show him as much attention as he wanted, then I didn’t feel loved at all. He didn’t give for the sake of just loving me, he only gave depending on how I made him feel. So, I conformed to what he wanted and needed, so I could get the love I earned. We both did love wrong.
This leads me back to Romans 12:2 and why I can’t stop thinking about it. “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world…” Y’all, don’t become what the world wants just for acceptance! Don’t give up who you are just so people will accept you into a life that’s not really yours. Don’t be something you’re not just so others will want you and love you. It’s not real love, it’s not worth it! You will never find joy in hiding from yourself and who God made you to be. You will never find your true purpose if you are chasing the things of this world. You will never have the beautiful life God has planned for you if you are following man over Him.
God meets us right where we are. All our flaws, all our mistakes, all our bad habits and addictions, every single insecurity, our anxiety, and our depression. He loves us through it all, just exactly as we are. He created me to be the person I am, so of course He loves me for me. I just have to let Him show me who I am, who He created me to be. I have to let go of who I want to be and just be His. I must let Him transform me into the person I was made to be. I must change my thinking away from MY desires for HIS.
No one in this world will ever love us more than Christ. No one will ever have that complete unconditional level of acceptance than Him. Our lives were not made to fit in to this world and the people of this world. Our lives were made to have greater purpose than that. It is only in God’s will and with Him can you find that perfect life you desire, and it probably looks nothing like you planned.
Let God show you who you are.