I’ve never felt wanted.

“You are worthy of love and belonging." -Brené Brown

I quote this to women weekly, and I believe it for each and every one of you. I knowit is a true statement. And I have been working for a very long time to believe this statement to be true about myself.

But just because we are worthy of something does not mean it always shows up.

Love and belonging have felt fleeting for these 30 years. I wouldn’t dare claim they haven’t been present, but through my lenses, through my skin and heart, love and belonging have rarely penetrated.

And even when I have felt loved, I have rarely felt liked. When your friends follow Jesus they HAVE to love you, but being liked has always felt just out of reach. And so I have compensated. With serving and self-deprecating humor. With helpfulness and leadership and being the best. It’s understandable that you don't likeme (I don't like myself a lot of days), but maybe if you can laugh at me or get a present from me, you can be persuaded to like me just a little, even if for a fleeting moment.

When it comes to belonging, I have always been late to the party. Unquestionably, I have often missed the party right in front of me, the people who would have readily embraced me, as I instead ran across the lunch room, the classroom or the campus to try and force my way in to the party that I was sure would bring purpose and identity. Square peg, round hole, stubborn girl.

This month, four of my closest friends swept me away to celebrate my 30th birthday. We got back late on a Sunday night, and I spent a good portion of Monday sobbing. Something happened that weekend that I had no idea I needed, something that my head is still trying to fully comprehend.


Here are the words I wrote that Monday in between the tears: "This weekend I felt loved. This weekend I belonged. This weekend IbelievedI was liked, wanted, cherished. Who would have known that these feelings would feel so foreign, so overwhelming. How is it, that such beauty can peel back and uncover such deep-seeded hurt we didn’t even know was there?

After all this time, how does the sting of rejection, abandonment and just plain “odd ball-ness” still sit so close to the core of me? Is the aftermath of a birthday weekend supposed to leave you in a puddle on your bedroom floor?

Insecurity is wicked. The inability to believe that we are worthy of love and belonging is nothing short of evil. Just because we all feel it does not mean it is good or right. Insecurity’s rampant plague on us doesn’t make it any less damning.

What I am feeling in the middle of these sobs is something foreign. Something in the very center of my chest feels different. It feels confusing, disorienting, kind of like when you wait for something for so long that, instead of exuberance, you just need a minute to fathom it, to catch your breath.

Walking out of this dream weekend I am feeling s e c u r e. I had no idea how much I have ached to write those words. No idea.

This is a miracle. What happened this weekend in an AirBnB in Hot Springs, Arkansas, was a miracle. Something broke open in me. Somehow (supernaturally) four girls cut through years of scar tissue covering my heart, built up from rejection and abandonment. A heart that has quietly hardened while my smile stayed soft. A heart that had come to accept insecurity like a blanket slowly suffocating me. A heart that had killed any hope of true love and belonging under the pretense of 'letting go of expectations.'

This love and belonging feels painfully vulnerable. I feel like any control I still had slipped through my fingers as I sat on a tan sectional and my sisters read words of affirmation out to me, piercing me in a way that I have never known. They really like me. They want to be my friend. They choose me. They think that what I am doing with my life is deeply valuable. Who I am has made them better. And, for some reason, this time my spirit, my life breath, believes it.

And I am floored. FLOORED. I don’t understand it. But I know it.

And THAT feels good and right. It feels like God. Mysterious and yet so sure."


Photo credit: Alicja

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