Kat Mills reflects on longing to be valued, wanted and loved
I came home from Chessington World of Adventures with a yellow band on my wrist today. This was to symbolise I had special access to rides because I am autistic. As I was looking at the band it got me thinking. Do you remember after a gig, holiday, youth event or conference having a competition to see who could keep wearing their wrist band for the longest time? I'm sure I had a couple of bands that I wore for way too long - into the smelly and torn state - but the band was a reminder of fun times and belonging to a group.
Whenever I went to the Christian holiday Spring Harvest, I would always admire the folk wearing lanyards and I longed to have one too. They looked so important, had a purpose, knew why they were there, what they were there to do and were part of a team. I wanted to be like that - in fact I think we all have within us this innate need within to belong to something, whether it's a club, a group of friends, a sports team or the in crowd. There is a sense of knowing you are part of something, you are needed, you are valued, and you belong.
This desire in me was even more because I stood out and was very different. No matter how much I wanted to be part of things or to be able to join in normally, I couldn't and didn't. Growing up I felt alone and isolated even when I was surrounded by people, because I didn't know how to connect, interact in socially acceptable ways or how to keep up with others. The desire to belong but my seemingly inability to do so hurt my heart.
As a Christian I questioned God - I couldn't figure out what was wrong - had He made me faulty? Was there something inherently wrong with me that repelled people? I told God I was hurt, angry, and in pain. I had a good old strop and let it all come flooding out. I shared with Him my longing to belong, to be valued, to be wanted, and to be seen has having worth.
It was shortly after this that I felt His peace flood my heart, and I felt a huge shift. I felt him whisper words to my heart - words that I had heard so many times at church but never let into my heart. These words were from Psalm 139 about God knowing everything about me - my thoughts, my heart - and caring about every little detail about me. The words said that I could never escape his presence, that He had made me fearfully and wonderfully and that he loved me, accepted me.
It hit me - I belonged - I truly belonged. I was loved, I had value and I had purpose. I was accepted no matter how much I had messed up. His incredible grace and gift of love removed the hurt and pain and the years of feeling isolated and alone. I am so grateful.
I'm still on a journey and even when something has been dealt with, it is the habit of something that also must be broken. I was so used to listening to lies and believing I wasn't good enough. I now choose to believe what God says about me but there are still days when I still start sinking into that feeling of sadness and isolation. At these times I remember and meditate on His truths - what He says about me.
The sense of belonging to God has radically changed my life and fulfilled a deep longing within me. I never thought it was possible to belong when I was growing up, but I have now seen the miracle of God's love and grace working in my life.
He can do the same for you.The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.
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