Discernment and belonging: All of us cherish the feeling of belonging--the place, the people, the work feels right. The feelings of being out of place, of being left out, of being ignored, being treated with indifference are important discernment tools. Those feelings/experiences are calling us to take notice, to do an inventory of sorts. First of all, I need to examine in which ways I may be the reason for feeling misplaced or displaced. Do I need to change my attitudes or my behaviors? Or does it have nothing to do with me—this simply is a place where God does not want me to be! I recall a story of a teenager who drove up to a bar. Clearly, she heard: (Sally—not her real name), you do not belong here! She did not even have to enter the premises and feel the misplacement. God clearly indicated to her that she was out of place in this kind of environment. I’m not sure that she turned around and went home but she heard the message.
When you are feeling left out, when you don’t sense you belong, what helps you deal with these feelings? What steps do you need to take to feel more comfortable with yourself and others? Finding your answers to those questions, or similar ones, is the work of discernment. Knowing when to move on to a new career, a new residence, a new attitude, a new way of being, a new outlook on life could very easily be preceded by feeling out of place, feeling uncomfortable. You may be sayings things to yourself such as: “I don’t fit in here anymore,” “I don’t belong here,” “I’m in the wrong place,” “The timing is not right,” and so forth. Paying attention to this discomfort and pondering its meaning will lead you to knowing what God is asking of you.
Do you have the courage to enter into the feelings of mis/displacement, the feelings of not belonging?