“These aren’t my people.”
It broke my heart to hear that my father had spoken those words. He knew he didn’t belong in the nursing home where he had been for the last weeks of his life. The doctors’ diagnosis of cancer and Alzheimer’s was a crushing blow to me, and to see him struggle trying to discern his whereabouts was heartbreaking.
Once healthy and full of life, his frail body was undergoing the transformation of becoming whole once again. But until that day, he would reside in the nursing home. As he warily scanned the unfamiliar faces, he knew he didn’t belong there.
Have you ever felt you didn’t belong somewhere? Like you were far from home and your deepest desire was to find your way back? I did.
I was quite comfortable with my surroundings. I had acclimated to my worldly environment and it was difficult to distinguish me from those around me. My personality and lifestyle had been cloned by the culture and society which had propagated multitudes before me. The only features I possessed which set me apart were my name and social security number.
Despite my “comfortable” surroundings, I was also wandering through the chaotic wasteland of loneliness, rejection, abandonment, worthlessness, perfectionism, depression, anxiety, and feeling as though it would be better if there was no me. There was nothing I wanted more than to belong in “this” place, accepted by those who were permanent residents, and yet my heart found no comfort when I realized that acceptance. I was complacent, yet dissatisfied, sure I knew exactly what I wanted in life but needing exactly the opposite.
How could I have traveled so far from home?
I was deceived, believing there was a thing, a person, a place that would satisfy me, but nothing did. You know you can gain the whole world and lose yourself in the process. You can live for it — for the people, for the comforts, for what it can give to you — and you will come up empty-handed every time. Speaking through Isaiah, God said, “Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and delight yourself in abundance.” (55:2)
I was a prodigal daughter, and I wanted to go home.
I finally came to the end of myself. My surroundings were no longer identifiable, the language was completely indiscernible, and there was no clue as to a route of escape. The only way was to acknowledge there was Someone who was wiser than I was, who had a better plan for my life, and in whom I could find complete solace. And I found that Someone in Jesus.
Through the loving guidance of spiritual “mothers,” the counsel of faithful “sisters,” and the encouragement of protective “brothers,” God showed me the barren hopelessness of my beliefs, attitudes, and actions. Although it was difficult to understand during the journey, He allowed me to experience the emptiness of being in a foreign land where I didn’t belong so I would fully appreciate His goodness. Those who came alongside me helped me get my spiritual bearings again, and because of the loving direction of my heavenly Father who promises never to leave or forsake me, I eventually arrived back in familiar territory.
I hope you know there is no place you can go that is so far from the reach of God’s hand. If you find that you have wandered too far from Him, He eagerly awaits your return. Let Him lead you out of the barren wilderness to a life of hope, peace, and contentment. Like me, He created you to be a temporary resident in this world and a citizen of heaven forever.
But our citizenship is in heaven, and we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ … Philippians 3:20
Because you are what God says that you are! You are enough!
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Pam Freitag Weyant traded the harsh Midwestern winters for the sunny South. Her best friends are her stenography machine (she works as a freelance court reporter), her aged but adorable cocker spaniel Jake, and words. She is grateful for time spent traveling, writing creative nonfiction, and working out. Her goal each day is to share her story with others so they can also find freedom in a redemptive Savior. Read more of Pam’s Breath on Paper bio here.