What is the Difference Between Fitting In and Belonging?

Becoming Me website

Who are you?

I spent years disciplining my personality away.

Yes, self-denial in the face of temptation that shifts us from God’s plan is beneficial. Disclipling ourselves to avoid sinful actions and attitudes will help us from taking our lives down a path of brokenness. Sacrifice can be honorable; Abraham and Isaac come to mind.

But I sacrificed my truest self at what I thought was the altar of obedience only to find that I was being manipulated and moved by guilt to fit into other people’s mold for me.  I was motivated to fit in. When in Rome…

Fitting in is not the same as belonging. Fitting in does not bring peace or comfort.

‘Fitting in’ moves me to be a chameleon. It leads me down a road of plastic smiles and insecurity. To fit in I must be who you want me to be. I need to dress to please you. I must use your verbiage and I will laugh at all your jokes. If I’m going to fit in, I will need your approval. It compels me to wear a heavy backpack filled with perfectionism that keeps me from the letting the lifter of my head lead my life. I end up down a path that is shallow, empty and fruitless.

Belonging though, is freedom. It does not require me to meet your expectations, belonging only demands that I show up. I belong when I decide to be seen for who God created me to be. No longer longing for you to turn your head my way so that I can impress you, instead my hope is that in seeing me, you will see Him. When I belong, my heart is set on His approval, not yours.

I hope you let yourself be seen, even if you don’t fit the mold others have poured for you.

I’d love to hear about a time that you forfeited your own passions and plans to get the approval of someone else, and what you learned in the process. Let’s talk about it, leave me a comment.

The Tomb is Not Forever

Tomb not forever

The season is hard. You feel tired, empty, spent. Nothing is blooming; it is the winter of our hearts. You wander lost, wondering how you will go on.  A life that once seemed so full is now confused and broken.

Take heart. Like the day between Calvary and the resurrection, life is at a crossroad.

He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted.
Isaiah 53:3-4 NIV

Why did our dream have to die? What did we do wrong?

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life.”
John 11:25

Maybe we did nothing wrong. Possibly, this was part of God’s plan all along.

A resurrection requires a death.

If you are in a season that feels desperate, alone and longing, don’t despair, trust.

Trust that the plan is larger than your eyes can see at this moment.

Believe that God is bigger than the current circumstances.

“Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
Hebrews 13:5

And know that He has not left you, He will never leave you.

“He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along.”
Psalm 40:2

The tomb is not forever.

Is Shame Based Punishment Effective?

Taken from my segment on Star 105.7 with Tommy and Brook

kid-shame-300x150

Is publicly shaming our children an effective way to bring a positive change when they’ve made serious mistakes?

Experts and this real mom say no.

Kids need to be able to trust that their parents will watch out not only for their physical well- being but also care for their emotional health. Our job is to provide loving guidance not humiliation that demeans our children.

It’s ok that our kids feel guilt over their bad decisions, guilt drives us to change. Guilt says: you did something wrong, but shame says: you ARE something wrong.

Shame based punishment teaches kids to devalue themselves and their worth.

Publicly humiliating a child is so destructive because most of the time, the world doesn’t let us have the mercy and grace we need to move on from our mistakes.

Shaming our kids destroys their self-esteem and studies have proven that children with a healthy self-esteem will:

  • Have a larger network of friends
  • Have courage to face difficult situations and
  • Have the self-confidence needed to step up to the challenges of stepping out as a leader.

Shame-based punishments may work in the short term, but in the long term, it can be a vicious cycle.

My heart goes out to the parent whose child is constantly making really bad decisions, it can feel quite helpless and I’m sure the signs only come out after buckets of tears and helpless feelings.

But I still believe that there is a better way than public humiliation.

How often has humiliation provoked you to positive change?
Does throwing your dirty laundry in the face of all your friends at work or church compel you to want to do better or make you feel like shrinking back and isolating yourself?

What does a bully do? He/she humiliates. By using humiliation as punishment, parents resemble a school yard bully. Though I know this would never be their intention.

Sometimes I think that publicly shaming our child is less about them and more about us. It could be that a parent wants to deal with their own embarrassment of their child’s behavior and they think that this kind of public display will show the world that they are a good parent.

Street corners are not the only place for this kind of shame, Facebook is the new street corner so we also need to be careful that our Facebook posts are not embarrassing our kids.

But what does a parent do when faced with a child that refuses to listen?
Each situation is different but I encourage you to get to the root of the WHY they are doing it. See if you can find a way to address the heart of the issue.

And consider how you can discipline instead of punish them. Discipline comes from the word disciple and is done with the intent of moving forward in a positive way it encourages growth in someone. Punishment is always based on the past and not on a positive future.

As a Christian I look to Christ, He never humiliates or shames us, in fact He took our shame and punishment. However, He does discipline us.
Jesus showed us over and over that grace was more effective than scorn and punishment.

And in the Old Testament:

For further information on the dangers of shame I encourage you to check out Brene’ Brown’s website, videos and books.

If you missed this segment, listen here: Real Moms: Shame based punishment

You can listen to my ‘Real Moms of West Michigan’ segments on Star 105.7 with Tommy and Brook every Tuesday morning around 7:05 AM. If you are not in the West Michigan area you can listen on iHeart radio

I Prefer Nice People

I like nice people. They’re easy to get along with; they don’t stomp on your feelings by calling you a bad mom. They don’t eat your sandwich at the office or talk to your coworkers behind your back. They don’t tell you that you look nice on Sunday morning and then inform everyone in your Bible study that you dress like their Grandma.

Nice people are nice.

But then there are those others in life, there’s one in every office, family and small group. They are not nice. They hurt out feelings on a regular basis and make life miserable every five minutes they are around us. They get under our skin with condescending remarks about everything from the project we’re working on to the style of our hair. We don’t like them; we want them to go away. We wish they would move to Bangladesh or on really bad days we’d like them to be stuck in the woods with a pack of angry wolves like in the movie “Grey.” THAT would be awful for them, almost as awful as having to watch the movie, which was 2 hours past terrible. I’m a huge Liam Neeson fan and I still hated the movie.

Sadly, I have to inform you that we won’t have a life filled with nice people. The mean ones are out there and scouting new ways to make us want to curl up with a blanket and a gallon of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream while watching reruns of The New Adventures of Old Christine. Which never should have been cancelled but that’s another post.

The moral of this is that mean people are not going away so we may have to put on our big girl pants (unless you are a man, and in which case, please do not do this) and deal with it. You can’t wait for them to be nice to you; it’s not going to happen. Stop blaming them for your bad moods and hang nails. If you need to address a situation, do it. Be all Sally Field in Norma Rae and start a fire, but if your in laws or the lady in the choir are keeping you awake at night, it might be time to stop giving them that much power in your life. Let go of what you can’t control and don’t let their smallness make you small too. You’re better than that! You drive a (insert brand of car, and it really doesn’t matter what it is because cars don’t make us better people, but this is a rant so go with it)!

I can get 100 sweet comments on Facebook, but it’s the one negative one that spins in my mind like a gerbil on a wheel. Over and over until the squeaking makes you scream at your kids because they forgot to empty the dishwasher.

If we’re going to be happy and successful in this life we have to stop letting mean people take away our joy. They do not define us…unless we let them. The choice is ours. When we find our worth and value as a person, from the God who created us, we will not be so quick to forfeit our peace.

Dare to make today different. Dare to believe that you are loved and cherished by God and that He is right there with you. Don’t let feelings dictate your day.

C’mon girls (and guys), we got this!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...