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"I hope you find our blog a gathering space to grow you and your family. Kick off your shoes, grab a cozy drink, and stay awhile. Our hope is that you find joy in every season."

-Lauren

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Culture Shock: I don't belong here


Have you ever felt like you were meant for another place? Perhaps you outgrew a group of people or they outgrew you. Maybe you felt like you were the black sheep and ostracized amongst people that once felt like family, friends, or co-workers. I feel like most people can understand what it feels like to not belong.


Goodness.. It's been over a year since I've blogged. I attribute it to a few things, but not that I didn't want to write or didn't have the words to, but maybe God was holding on to my words keeping them for a blog like this which would hit at just the right time for someone who needed these words...


Friend, I have news for you... you don't belong here. You were not created for this group of people or that. You weren't meant for this world. It is only part of your story. It is who you become in the process of navigating this world, that you realize His purpose for your life is not the same as your purpose or your vision, but HIS! It's for His glory. It's for His calling over your life. Your story is only part of His- the bigger picture.


Last summer I thought I had found it!-- The place I belonged, with my people, my purpose, and the very thing I would do for the rest of my life. And to be honest, it was also like culture shock, because this group of people didn't feel like anything I had ever felt, nor did it look like anything I had ever seen. To me, it was culture shock to find a group of people who were so welcoming, non-judgmental, who made me feel like I was a part of something bigger. They helped heal me. They helped me find "purpose". They dreamed with me and helped me create a vision for what my life could be. They were a soft place to land for all the weight I had been carrying from life. I was incredibly unstable when I found them, and they helped me find solid ground. I found strength in being pointed to Jesus through them, setting up daily practices to keep me accountable, and play a part in something bigger than me as I grew.


I told them that if I ever reached a point to be on stage and impact people at a level of achievement they qualify being a mentor and leader, I would call my audio "culture shock". Obviously, I didn't "make it"- since I'm writing this blog now. There came a time, just like every other time in my life, to part ways, to leave that "association" and the people I called friends. I felt alone, uninvited, and dismissed. It was my decision to walk away, but also, it was because of some things that just didn't settle in my heart as truth. It felt to me more like I was disrupting their perfect culture than contributing to it. It felt to me that "my purpose" and the vision for my life that I had created with them was more important than His purpose and His call for my life. I felt unsettled in my heart with the things I was learning that didn't match up Biblically or with the Spirit of God inside of me. It became incredibly clear to me through a feeling I could not shake that my time was done.


I still struggle-- It is unreal to me that people who follow the same God as me, call themselves Christ followers, could treat anyone like this... can you relate? I have felt sick to my stomach that these people who were once so incredibly close to me and my son, now made me feel like I never even existed. I knew one thing- I never wanted to make anyone else feel that way. I never wanted anyone else to feel like they didn't matter, like they were unseen, or like they weren't welcome at my table. I never wanted to feel the way I did amongst them or now, apart from them. It hurt to feel like no one cared what I was doing anymore. I never saw any of them and pretty much never heard from them again. I spent every single week with these people, talking to them daily, spending weekends and late nights being coached by them with ideas for a life I could create with them by my side. I laughed with them, cried with them, and I did life with them. I no longer had "mentors" to lean into, but instead, I fell into the arms of my Father who would carry me over the last 7 months.


Just as I was wrestling with the idea of leaving that group of people, my church released a song called, "The One You Love". I let these words, the words that I felt were most certainly written for ME, minister to my heart! Every word was completely contrary to the feeling I had reached when surrounded by my circumstances.


"I can be real with You Say anything and not be afraid You made me and You like what You made You made me and You don't make mistakes I can be real with You

You take me just as I am You'd choose me all over again I am the one You love I am the one You love I don't have to prove anything There's room at Your table for me I am the one You love I am the one You love

It's me, it's me The real me It's me, it's me

I know You're proud of me Even though I don't deserve it sometimes No, I'm not a perfect child But I still make my Father smile So, I know You're proud of me" - Elevation Worship



And in the words of that song, I realized He never intended them to carry me. It was GOD who was the supply. It was GOD who was providing, all along. It was GOD who was speaking through them, for a season. It was GOD who never left my side. I can see Him everywhere I look. It was never about the association I had with them. It was about who I was becoming in the process of them being in my life.


It's not just you, friend. I have been ostracized amongst friends, amongst family, in church groups, in work settings. And the resounding theme is that I don't belong. I just wasn't meant for this world. And, neither were you. And, I've realized that I'm ok with that. I was meant for a place to dwell with my Father- in a magnificent place called heaven, where there is peace and love and no feelings of shame or guilt or being wronged. I was meant to pursue my Father- not a group of people, not a mentor, not a friend. I was NOT made for this. I was made for ONE purpose and that is to love Him.


And loving Him means I love people. Even the ones that hurt me. Even the ones that desert me. Even the ones who have abandoned me, who have wronged me, who are confused at what the Gospel is-- He so loved the world, ALL OF US, that He died for us (John 3:16), and came so that we may have life more abundantly (John 10:10). That "may" in there is extremely hard because the truth is, we all get it wrong- we rarely get it right, but we have to strive to become more like Him- not more like someone we admire. Not like the world. Not chasing after the next greatest thing that will fulfill us. He is the only ONE who is worthy of pursuit. The only ONE who is worthy of praise and affirmation. The only ONE whose name is above any other.


And, as long as I pursue anything other than His heart and His purpose, I will come up empty. Nothing will fulfill me- not church, not friends, not family, not a career, not anything I create or dream. Nothing. Nada! He is the only ONE who can fill my cup. He is my Creator. He is the ONE who holds me. And while He may use people and seasons of achievement in this world to help us along, they are not the source. People do not hold your purpose. People do not determine your worth. People do not get to determine if you're at your Father's table- He does. He called you loved. He called you worthy. He called you OUT!!!


If you feel like an outcast. If you feel like you don't belong. If you feel like you were made for something else... It's because YOU ARE! You were made for a purpose that you will only find by seeking Him and His heart- not chasing anything else.


Why write this now? Lately, I've felt like something was left unfinished. I've felt like I needed to tell my story. And really it's not even my story, but perhaps you will find yourself in the places I talk about and maybe it will give your pain and loneliness meaning. Perhaps you will find a bigger purpose to the feeling of not belonging. I write this blog to simply let you know that you are not alone. You are not the only one.


 

In the off chance that you were with me in that season of life and you were a friend of mine: I just want to say, "Thank you" for being there for me during an incredibly hard season of my life where I was healing and finding myself again after a long life of rejection and pain and loss. I want to say, " I forgive you" for leaving me.


I also pray that God will continue to use you despite our misrepresentations of the Gospel. This is not how God intended us to treat people, but I pray He will deal with you in your heart like He did with me- as He called me out on the methods that were used that were not His to pursue a vision for my life that was not His purpose. I pray He corrects you so you do not hurt people along the way. I have been indefinitely impacted by your wisdom and love for me in that season, and God did use you in my life in a unique way. I pray you continue to hear the Holy Spirit and listen to His voice and that you're able to silence the voice of anything that resembles Him but is not. In Jesus' name, Amen


 

grits grace and granola, Jackson pine farm, Lauren Jackson, handmade, etsy seller, etsy shop, mompreneur, entreprenuer, branding, farm

I so enjoy sharing my life alongside you! I am so grateful to each of you reading and being a part of my life and my story! I hope to be part of yours! And, I'd love to connect.


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Have questions? Contact us via email at Lauren.gritsgraceandgranola@gmail.com


Pursuing Jesus,

Lauren


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