Exile though I am on earth, do not hide your commandments from me. — Psalm 119:19, JB
It’s hard when we feel we don’t belong. Humans are wired for connection and community, yet many of us feel ourselves to be outsiders, even among our closest friends and family members. In my case, I often feel ill-suited for this world. I have no real career aspirations, the issues that have people frothing at the mouth hardly affect me, and my idealism kicks things up a notch as I am looked at disapprovingly for holding values and expressing ideas that many believe to be simply unrealistic.
To feel like you’re just floating through existence without a solid “anchor” can be uncomfortable, even painful. It’s difficult to watch other people settle into their lives, hopes and dreams in hand, at least knowing where they want to go. But what about the rest of us?
Something that I feel I’ve been given to say by the Light is that it’s okay to “not belong.” I spent so much of my life lamenting that I wasn’t like everyone else, but my most meaningful relationships were made possible precisely because I was different. My ideas, goals, and perceptions actually provided something for certain people, and I found myself connected to others who felt like I did.
I found that I wasn’t alone, and the truth is that you aren’t either.
There are many of us who feel like “exiles” in this life; as though we were made to belong somewhere else. The truth is, however, that those who don’t feel “at home” here are supposed to feel that way. Our world needs people who can see things differently, who aspire to different goals, and who live outside the accepted norms of thought and behavior. It’s been my experience that God works best through those who are open to a different way of doing things, as there is less comfort and conformity standing in the way. We were born to be the monkey wrench that stops the machine of homogeneity from running rampant, and we are meant to be the exception that keeps everyone from “having it all figured out.”
Seeing myself and others this way has opened my mind and my heart up much more, as I am realizing that everyone has a part of themselves that feels like it just doesn’t belong. Many of us press this bothersome little attribute down, hoping no one will see, but the reality is that our differences are what can lead to powerful transformations in our lives and in the lives of others. Embracing and loving ourselves and our other-ness enables us to extend that love to others, and such affection is Godly, spiritual, and powerful. It can build bridges, demolish walls, and shatter the fragile myths of uniformity that drive the current state of affairs.
Instead of letting my difference become isolation, I choose to treat it as a gift. No, I don’t feel like I belong here, but it’s neither a curse nor some delusion of grandeur that I am above anyone. I’m just different, and so are you. Everyone has a uniqueness, a gift that when embraced, stands to enhance our understanding of life and of one another. So let your “freak flag” fly, refuse to fit the mold, know that you are an exile by design, and we need you now more than ever.
Peace be with you!