Where Do I Belong?

I grew up a bit of a mixed-up kid.  I was born in Canada.  My parents were born in Texas.  That made me a “dual citizen.”  I was made fun of in the States for having a “Canadian” accent.  I was made fun of in Canada for having an “American” accent. 

Now, I knew what an “American” accent was.  After all, our family made a trek to Texas every year from wherever we lived.  Most of the kids in the family “picked up” that Southern drawl as soon as we hit the Texas/Oklahoma border!  But, I didn’t really know what a “Canadian” accent sounded like until I was older and could hear it more clearly.

I grew up learning the history of the United States and the history of Canada. 

I knew all 13 provinces and territories and most of the 50 states.  We drove across those states putting together state map puzzles many times.

I grew up learning French.  I also heard and learned words like “y’all” and “tard”- (translation: plural “you” and “very tired”!)  I knew that soda and pop were the same thing.  I knew that many Canadians drank hot tea while Texans drank iced tea.  I knew in which country to buy “Shreddies” and where to buy “Shredded Wheat”.  I knew where to get “Smarties” vs. “M & M’s”!  I knew what sticky muggy heat felt like and I knew what it felt like to get frost bite inside of my lungs!

I was mixed up though because I didn’t know to where I “belonged”.  Was I truly American or was I truly Canadian?  When I went to Canada I said I was Canadian but if I went to the States I said I was American.  Where did I belong?

I felt like an alien or foreigner no matter where I was.

There are several places in the Bible that talk about those of us who are believers being “aliens” or “foreigners” in this world.  The verses are found in Ephesians, Hebrews, and I Peter.  Ephesians discusses the fact that there was this division between the Jews and Gentiles but Christ did away with that and they became part of one family under God.  I like the verse in Hebrews and I Peter as well because they talk about the fact that though we live in this world, it is not our home.  There is another place far better waiting for us.

I don’t have to feel like I don’t belong.  I know I am a child of the King.  I know that I have an eternal home with Him.  I know that He wants me to spend the rest of my life here and in heaven with Him under the promise that I am His and I belong.

“Dear Father, Thank-You that because of Your great love and sacrifice I belong to You now and forever.  I am not out of place.  I do not have to be mixed up. I am Your child.  Thank-You for this priceless treasure.  May I never take it for granted.”  

 

Have you ever felt like you didn’t belong? Where do you find your sense of belonging?

My Choice

Quiet

Peace

Stillness

Solitude

Rest

These are the places I need to be. God knows.  When life seems to get too…

hurried

full

busy

crazy

chaotic

painful

harried

I need time with the only One who can bring me to the truest place of peace and presence.

Everyone has something…something painful, something difficult, something stressful, something.

Sometimes the “somethings” seem to come gradually.  Sometimes the “somethings” seem to come at us like a stampede.  Sometimes the “somethings” are small and “handleable” and sometimes they seem enormous.  Sometimes we can see the answer to the “something” right away and sometimes it takes time.

Those “somethings” can try to steal our joy and our strength and our patience and our peace.  Thankfully none of those things are dependent on us or on the “somethings”.  Those things are a choice we make but they are always there and always available because God is always and they are directly from Him.

You know…that joy that isn’t giddy but it’s way deep inside and comes from knowing Who is the Source and Who is in control.  It is that strength that isn’t muscular or a character trait but it is a gift and is strongest in our weakness.  It is that patience that doesn’t make sense to anyone else but comes from having experienced His patience with us and from knowing His timing is not our own.  It’s that peace that we don’t even understand ourselves but comes in the midst of the storm…it’s there in the stillness but it comes fresh in the storm.  If we allow.  For it is a choice.

It is a  choice to keep my eyes on Him in the midst of the storm.  It is my choice to keep my eyes on Him in the middle of the crisis.  It is my choice to keep my eyes on Him when people around me are doing things that could impact me in a negative way.  It is my choice to keep my eyes on Him when the Dr. comes with yet  more bad news.  It is my choice to keep my eyes on Him when others will walk away.  It is my choice to keep my eyes on Him when the devil’s lies attack me.  It is my choice…

“Lord, today, let me keep my eyes on You.  Let me choose joy and strength and patience and peace.  Let me choose Your way each step of my day. Let me choose Your quiet stillness.”

Eyes Wide Open

I am by nature a melancholy type of person.  So, I work hard at letting God deplete that nature in exchange for something better….His!  I’ve been thinking a great deal over the past few months about being thankful.  God brought a wonderful book into my life and I’ve been reading it for awhile now, trying to go slowly enough to absorb it.  This book is on being thankful and the author writes in such a way as to cause me as the reader to look at things from a different perspective.

One of my latest themes in life is “Eyes Wide Open”.  If my eyes are wide open I have a better chance of seeing the blessings which God has given.  The “big” blessings are easy.  You know, money suddenly comes from “somewhere” to pay an outstanding bill; you get a call from someone you’ve been thinking about but haven’t heard from in a long time; someone comes a long and takes you out to dinner or pays for you to go to a special event.  Then there are the, what we might refer to as “little” blessings…you know the ones you might just miss if you’re eyes to your heart are not wide open.  Like a parking place close to the store, or a sale at the store on THE item that you “must” have, or having just that one more bite of something special that you love.

But, there are also the blessings that come after.  You know, after the storm, after the difficulty, after the trial, after the challenge.  These we usually see…well,…after.  We see what God has done.  We look back and get a better or bigger picture of what we learned through it.

There is yet another one and this is the one I’ve wanted to deepen as my eyes to my heart and my walk with God open wider.  That is the blessing while going through the fire, the storm, the difficulty.  Whatever it is.  I think most of us would agree that most things are centered around perspective.  If I allow my natural melancholy perspective to rise up then the trials that I go through suddenly become gray and dismal and thunderous.  But, if I begin to look for the blessing while I’m going through whatever it is then I have a perspective that is in line with what God has for me.

In Ephesians 1 verse 18 Paul writes “I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened [opened] in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints.” God tells me all through His word that He wants my eyes on Him and His plan, He wants my heart and mind on Him, He wants me to trust Him.  The question is, do I trust Him or do I not?  Do I trust Him when the sky is so dark I can’t see my hands folded in front of my face?  Do I trust Him when life’s battles are raging and all I can see is the situation right in front of my face?  Do I trust Him when everything around me seems to be shifting and what I’ve known as “normal” is no longer?  Do I trust Him when the Dr.  brings yet more “bad” news?

Having my eyes wide open means the answer is “yes”.  He knows it’s hard…He promised it would be.  He doesn’t mind me reminding Him that it’s hard.  But, when my eyes are open to Him then my perspective takes on a new background.  In the midst of the darkest night I know that the stars are still shining.  When the battle is raging I know that He has gone before me to make a way and give me strength.  When the shifting begins I know that He is my sure foundation and He will not allow that mountain to fall on me and He will help me find my “new normal”.  When the Dr. comes again with that news that I didn’t want to hear, He will remind me of the bad news that He has already brought me through and made new and made good come out of it.

“So, Lord, today, may my eyes be wide open to every single blessing, the big, the small, the blessings that come after, and the blessings while I’m walking through.  Open my eyes that I may see Your perspective.”