A Sense of Belonging

This is something I struggle with.  And it's something that I've struggled with on and off my whole life really.  On the one hand I don't like to feel confined to fitting into a box (good post about that over at CinnamonAndSparkles you should check out: Just Some Thoughts).  And yet, it's nice to feel a sense of belonging too.  It's a balance that I never really seem to master. 

I can be a very private person, a very quiet person.  I can be withdrawn at times.  But I can also be a very open person, a boisterous person.  I can be the life of the party.  Nash says that I have an all or nothing personality.  And it seems to me that's fairly accurate.  I don't really do moderation very well.

Tonight the kids and I will head to church.  The kids have youth group and the adults have Bible study.  In our church the adults are split up into groups they call LifeGroups.  It's a feel good name that's supposed to foster togetherness.  The groups are supposed to not only study the Bible together, but share about themselves and their lives, their successes and failures, their struggles and their triumphs.  The groups are supposed to support each other, "do life" together.

I was part of a ladies only LifeGroup last time around.  There was a lot of heartache shared and a lot of laughs too.  But, this time around I wasn't assigned to a group.  I guess there were a few of us that weren't and we were told that we could either just pick a group or if we were unsure which group to pick, we could ask for some guidance. So, I just picked a group. 

But, I was already feeling uneasy.  When I saw that my name wasn't on the list for any of the groups, I just felt excluded.  And then when I walked into the group, the leader said "Oh, are you in this group?", which just made me feel like I didn't belong there.

Funny thing is, I've attended this church for many years.  It's not a tiny church, but it's not a huge church either.  Generally speaking people are quite welcoming and I have many friends there.  That said, most of them aren't what I would call close friends.  Many are probably what you'd call situational friends. You know, like when you're friends with the other soccer moms or something.  You chat during practices and the games and while you help out in the snack shack, and you might even be friends on social media, but you don't necessarily interact at all otherwise.

Anyway, I'm just not sure what I'm going to do tonight.  My dilemma is centered around going to a LifeGroup.  We all gather in one area and watch a video message first and then split up into the groups to discuss.  There's a part of me that would like to just head out to my car after the video message.  I'd sit and read while I waited for my kids to get out after youth group.  The other part of me knows that withdrawing like that isn't going to help foster a sense of belonging, but rather do the exact opposite.

I don't know.  I'd talk to Nash about it, but I don't think he'd really understand.  He's generally a very social person and is way more easy going about most things than I am.  He doesn't let stuff bother him in the same way that it gets to me.  And he'd probably just tell me to go back to the group I went to last week ... and even if I go to a LifeGroup tonight, I'm not so sure that's the group I should be a part of.  It would've been so much easier if I'd just been assigned to a group.

In the scheme of things this is a small blip on the radar screen.  I do know that.  But it's part of a bigger issue.  It's an example of my struggle between wanting to belong and yet feeling the need to maintain my independence and individuality.  Does anyone else struggle with this? 

There are a lot of people that I'm friendly with...but how many would I really call friends?  How many really know me well?  How many do I truly know well?

If I want to get to know people better I have to let them get to know me better.  And that requires trust, being open and being vulnerable.  And that's just plain hard.  But, I'm in a place in my life where I'd really like more close friendships.  The more superficial friendships have a place, don't get me wrong.  I'm not looking to lose friends.  But, deeper more meaningful relationships are something that I'm craving right now.  I guess I just have to decide if I'm willing to put myself out there.


Comments

  1. I get this Lilli, the need to belong, yet wanting to maintain independence. It's hard to put yourself out there, I struggle with it also.I don't have that many close friends, more situational friends.

    I would feel excluded in this situation too. I think you should join a group, perhaps a different one to last time. Hope it works out well.

    Hugs
    Roz

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Roz! While I'm glad to not be alone in this, I'm sorry it's something you struggle with too. (((hugs))) As it turns out, I ended up going to the same group. It didn't go horribly. I guess that's good, right? lol

      Delete
  2. Yes I get it. I long for friends but find it too vulnerable to open up (except on the internet). It can also be very draining.

    I cannot insert myself into a group and I would jump to the assumption I had been left out on purpose.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh Toraprincess, you sound lonely. I hope that's not presumptuous of me. I feel lonely sometimes too. I imagine we all do. For me, it's not necessarily easier to open up on the internet though. Oh yes, it's easier to be open about certain things (like D/s and spanking and such). But, the close friends I have are ones I've made offline. I ended up going to the same group this week. I guess I'll just see how it goes. Thankfully, though I did feel a little excluded, I do know that I wasn't left out on purpose. There were others left out too. I imagine it was just an oversight. I know that things have been really busy at our church as it's a time of transition (new pastor, etc.). (((hugs)))

      Delete
  3. This is the first time reading your blog. As I was reading this I knew exactly how you felt...right down to the lifegroups which we do at my church too. I am also an all or nothing person and know about the feeling of "situational friends". I find this happens a lot with adult women. Can't wait to read more!

    Renee

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Renee! Thanks for stopping by and saying hello! It's good to know that I'm not the only one to find myself feeling this way.

      Delete

Post a Comment

Popular Posts