I have had several things running through my head today. This is of course a common thing for an over thinker like me; however, this time it is processing all the incredible teaching I heard at The Belong Tour this weekend. The theme of the conference is You Belong Here. I attended with a group of some of my best girlfriends and by the time I left I felt like the speakers were my best friends too.
Jen Hatmaker spoke of growing up in the church as the pastors’ kid. She said one day she realized that there was a “language” that Christians spoke that made hearing about God and His Love less accessible to others. People outside of the church did not understand what they were talking about, much less able to find a relationship with God.
I had a realization that I was on the other side of that. We didn’t go to church as a family so I would occasionally attend with a friend down the street. I was in elementary school and I can remember sitting in Sunday school class thinking everyone knows these stories but me. Who is Noah anyway and please don’t call on me. I did not feel like I belonged.
As an adult in my late twenties I began attending a small Methodist church near my house. When I attended service I felt like the pastor was speaking to me. I often commented that it was as if he followed me around and knew exactly what I needed to hear. In small groups though I was still felt like I didn’t know the right answers, I was not supposed to be there. I believed that God loved me, but it was purely blind faith, I had no idea why or how He could love me.
At the age of 32 the pastor invited me to attend a nine month walk through the Bible. I did not know what to expect but after a couple of times I was hooked. I was so intrigued by the bible and everything in it! I knew nothing when I began. I did not know what The Gospels were or that there were different translations, but I was so excited to dive in. I quickly learned that the bible is alive and relevant in our lives. I learned that God truly speaks to us through His word. I could not get enough! My life was changed. All because a pastor, with no judgement, met me right where I was. When the class ended he said “Congratulations, you now know more than 80% of the congregation. What? You mean all that time I was making false assumptions in my head? I really did fit in?
I am still so grateful for Pastor Ken. He passed away a few years later way too young. I want to pass on what he gave to me. Too many people feel that they do not have a place and in the words of Jen Hatmaker, “I am not having it!”
God made each of us unique, beautiful, and special. We are not to judge each other by our differences or our struggles, we are to love each other right where we are. That is Christ Love.
Shauna Niequist illustrated our lives using Russian Nesting Dolls. She talked about how as you open each one you find another smaller one inside. Each of the dolls represented those little parts of ourselves that we might have tucked away. Each one makes up who we are today.
I might have wanted to forget about that insecure little girl that didn’t fit in at Sunday School. I am glad I was reminded of her. I would like to go back and tell her, you belong here, there is a place for you, and you are worthy. God wants to take you on a journey you could never imagine.
My prayer is that in my life, my coaching, and my speaking that there is no judgement, only love. No pretense, only vulnerability and authenticity.
I would love to hear your story. Share in the comments or send me a message. I look forward to connecting!