Sunday, April 5, 2015

Desire for Acceptance

I think the desire to belong is inherent to human nature.  Likewise, feeling like we don't belong can be devastating.  This week I experienced such a devastating blow. In a matter of minutes, a few critical comments piled up into an insurmountable pile of emotional baggage, leaving me to feel unwelcome where I once felt welcome, unaccepted where I once felt accepted, and unloved where I once felt loved.  

Most people possess a stronger sense of determination to fight, but, in the presence of this emotional enemy, I completely wilted. I was so taken aback when heretofore friends turned to seeming foes that I quickly spiraled downward into a very deep slough. The situation went over and over in my mind again and again, with heightened pain at each recurrence. It was as if I could not think of anything else. I had trouble accomplishing even the basic tasks necessary to maintain my household, like cooking, cleaning, and laundry.  I frequently snuck away to my bathroom to cry hoping my kids wouldn't notice my red swollen eyes and tear-stained cheeks. I lost interest in things that I typically enjoy like running or taking my kids to the park and threw the diet I ordinarily follow so conscientiously out the window. Whenever David was available, I took advantage of the opportunity to "nap" or rather to lay in bed crying bitterly until I finally fell asleep. Feeling more and more like the situation was completely hopeless, I began to protect myself from any more pain by withdrawing more and more from others.

Needless to say, it was very difficult for me to go to church today. I was such a mess of pain and confusion, but I've pretty much mastered the art of disguise over the years. I was pretty much able to keep the sermon at arm's length until the point of application.  Pastor Peter asked us to reflect on what the resurrection means for us. He shared how he had moved around so much and never belonged anywhere until he met Christ. Then, he knew where he belonged: he had become a citizen of heaven. Suddenly, I realized that the agony and torment I had been experiencing were because I was looking for acceptance in the wrong place. When I put my faith in Christ, he transferred me from the kingdom of this earth to the kingdom of heaven. I do belong in Christ's kingdom, and He will never leave me or forsake me. 

I am not placing my hope in the approval of others. Instead, I am placing all my hope in the inheritance described in 1 Peter 1: 3-5:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading,kept in heaven for you, who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 

And, lastly, I just want to close with the words of a praise song that came to mind as I was reflecting on this desire for acceptance today:
I will change your name 
You shall no longer be called
Wounded, outcast 
Lonely or afraid
I will change your name
Your new name shall be 
Confidence, joyfulness 
Overcoming one 
Faithfulness, friend of God 
One who seeks my face.

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