This is one of those blog posts that is going to be hard to press publish on. This is one of those blog posts that something deep within me is screaming, "Don't write it! Don't be that open and vulnerable. Don't let people in." And yet, these are the posts that God uses the most in my own life. These are the posts that bring healing to my heart and help stop the numerous thoughts swirling in my head on a daily basis.
So here I am. Typing away. Working up the nerve to tell you what's going on in my heart and mind right now.
And it's not easy. But I know in the end it will be worth it. So here it goes...
I'm different. I don't feel like I fit in most of the time. I'm not normal (whatever normal is anyway...).
And that often leaves me feeling very lonely.
In all honesty, I'm usually okay with being different, with being smart, following Jesus, and being who he created me to be.
I LIKE me.
But then I have days where it's all just very overwhelming. Where I just wish I could relate to people better. Where I just wish that being different wasn't so hard.
It's not a new feeling.
In elementary school, I was different. I was smart. I liked school. I liked my teachers. I liked doing the right thing. And all of that made me different... and it made it difficult to make friends.
I liked hanging out with the adults. There was less drama. Less cattiness. Less chance I was going to get picked on.
Don't get me wrong. I still had friends my own age. But I had very few friends and I could count on one hand the number of people I would have considered a close friend who I went to school with.
These feelings didn't stop there. I wasn't your typical teen. I hated roller coasters, had no desire to stay up all night long or really even that late, thought video games were pointless (probably because I wasn't good at them), was homeschooled, and had pretty strict standards about the types of media I would let myself watch/listen to (some of them self imposed, some of them parental restrictions).
None of that would I change. That's what made me, me. But it made it difficult to connect. I had a close group of friends, but they weren't always at activities and I found myself, once again, gravitating to the adults in my life.
Now I am an adult and the feelings haven't stopped. There's a running saying at my office about whether or not something is "Holly-appropriate". Most days I actually really appreciate my coworkers working to protect me from what they consider inappropriate based on what I believe. I know they really are trying to protect me, and since my coworkers are family at this point, I love them for it. I work hard to find points of connection with them outside of what they deem as "not-Holly-appropriate". It's why you'll find football games on inside my house when I'm pretty indifferent towards the game. It's why, when I finally have 2-3 people tell me a certain movie is "Holly-appropriate", I do a little research and make an effort to watch it. It's why I look at cat pictures and share recipes and send English/writing jokes back and forth. It's why I'll go to the bar with them and drink pop while we all just talk.
That's most days.
And then there are the days when I just want to say, "Screw it. I don't want to be different anymore. I just want to fit in. I don't care if things are 'Holly-appropriate' or not, I just want to be normal for once in my life. I want to not have to ask if something is a movie quote or from a TV show or a pop culture reference that just completely went over my head. I want to not feel like the odd man out, alone, and lonely."
And usually after the mini-tantrum/pity party I throw, I get my head screwed back on straight and I realize I do care if something is "Holly-appropriate" or not. I do care what I put into my mind and body. I do want to be different. Because I'm following Jesus, and that requires me to be different. It means my life should look different. My life should be more love-filled, hope-filled, joy-filled, and peace-filled. And part of how I get it that way is to live differently.
But it doesn't always change that last sentence.
I still get tired of feeling lonely.
Of feeling like the odd man out.
Of feeling like no one quite understands all the thoughts constantly swirling around in my head.
Of feeling like I'm the only one who chooses to live like this, to follow Jesus.
But that's not the reaction I need to have.
Because Jesus gets it.
Jesus got lonely.
No one quite understood the thoughts swirling around in his head constantly.
There were probably pop culture references he just did not get.
And if it's not "Holly-appropriate", can just imagine the things people wouldn't tell Jesus because it wasn't "Jesus-appropriate"?
So instead of throwing myself a pity party accompanied by a class A tantrum because I feel left out and lonely, what if I turned to Jesus, spilled my guts to him, and let him comfort me? Let him show me that I'm not alone? And that his truth is greater than my feelings?
Because that's the truth: Jesus gets it. Jesus will never leave me or forsake me. And the truth and how I feel aren't always in sync... I'd rather trust the truth.
So today I'm going to try something different. I'm going to run to Jesus. I'm going to embrace what makes me different. I'm going to keep choosing to live following Jesus. I'm going to keep loving the people around me. And I'm going to be thankful that God put people in my life who care enough to warn me and protect me when something's not "Holly-appropriate".