I’m nine years old when I start having this sinking feeling. Everyone in the room is on the guest list except me.
My last name is different than everyone else’s. My blonde straight hair is a stark contrast to the dark curly locks everyone else wears. In my mind, the new baby is shifting everyone’s affections. My family is moving on without me.
Step families can feel like that
Remember the movie Back to the Future? Marty (Michael J. Fox) witnesses his past beginning to change. His mom falls for a different guy, not his dad. He holds up his hand, and it starts to flicker and disappear.
I felt my existence flickering, too, back then. I felt deleted from the future of our family.
Like Marty’s reaction to seeing his hand disappear, my eyes bulge and my mouth gapes open.
“Wait! This can’t be happening. I belong here too,” I scream. But no sound escapes.
From now on, an alien becomes my companion. It links arms with me wherever I go. It whispers “What are you doing here. No one cares. You are just taking up space. You are tolerated. You should leave.”
Have you ever felt like that? Unseen and unheard.
In many cases families don’t intend for us to feel left out. As an adult now, looking back, I know they weren’t trying to make me feel that way. But our perceptions trump others’ intentions.
The Alien is Exposed
At 20 years old, I step off the streets and into a church.
That first morning I carefully get ready. Scrambling through my suitcase of clothes and carboard box of shoes, I strive to look my conservative best. I don’t intend to welcome any looks of scorn, if I can prevent it.
Still, I’m convinced the lady at the door will glare at me. Eyes disgusted, she’ll trace me up and down. She’ll scowl down to me through her glasses, and shoo me past.
An hour later my hand grasps the warm metal handle. The entryway is bright, warmed by the natural morning sunlight cascading in.
Instead of curled grey lips, a toothy grin causes her laugh lines to deepen and her eyes to dance. Her genuine smile warms my crumbled heart. She hands me a church paper thing. But before my hand retreats with it, she reaches out and hugs me. Her embrace scoops up those crumbled pieces of my heart.
The alien retreats that day.
But not forever.
Even as a Christian
Although I keep returning to church, he lingers. He is more subtle now. He lets some love trickle in to cover his position. His influence decreased, yet, he remains a faithful and unwanted companion. He quietly hisses his ancient script to me.
“What are you doing here. No one cares. You are taking up space. You are tolerated. You should leave.”
Healthy new friendships and clearer thinking chisel away at the grip the alien has on me. However, at gatherings with family and friends my heart still instinctively finds an outside seat-like that extra dining room chair pushed in the corner against the wall.
My insecurities play in that corner like a child out of view. The script, constantly hissing in my ear.
I Need a Change
Several years ago, I asked myself, how long can I go on hosting this relationship hijacker?
Christianity is my home. I’m not a visitor here. My thoughts and opinions matter. It is the place where God captivates me and tells me He loves me. He is Love, and Love is here. So, why do barriers to belonging still exist?
I scour the internet for something to combat this ancient intruder. Several sites have lists with “scriptures to confess over your life”. I’ve read these lists before. I believe them with my whole heart. They give me hope.
I need a plan. Something pointed and precise. I am ready for more freedom.
I keep it simple.
Throw darts at the intruder. Watch him shrivel.
My Dart: I am accepted in the beloved.( Ephesians 1:6)
The Strategy: Every time I was preparing to go to a gathering, I said these two words out loud.
I said it as I was getting ready. As I was driving to the dinner party or bible study, “I belong.”
The repeated jabs of truth eventually brought down that intruder and his paralyzing words.
It was only a short period of time before I noticed a huge difference in how I felt. This simple strategy finally cut this guy off.
I am here. I am me. I am lovable. Always. That’s the new script.
What lies is the enemy hissing at you?
You don’t belong.
You’re not made for this.
You’re the last one.
The truth is:
You ARE accepted. (Ephesians 1:5-6)
You ARE beautiful. (Song of Solomon 4:7)
You have Christ’s thoughts and His wisdom and understanding. (1 Cor. 2:16; Colossians 1:9)
You were born for this exact moment. (Jeremiah 29:11; Esther 4:14)
God positions you out front. (Deuteronomy 28:13
- Scan the list of lies from the Free printable. Check a few that are familiar to you.
- Pick one.
- Identify when and where you hear this lie the loudest or the most frequently. Is it when you are looking in the mirror? When you are with smart or beautiful people. Is it when you are with family or at work? When you are alone on a Sunday afternoon?
- Take the offensive. Before you enter the situation where the lies are loudest, say the confession. Say it as loud and as often as you want.
- Repeat this every time you enter this situation for one week.
- Bonus step: journal your results.
View or download this Free printable. Let’s take him out one truth at a time.
Many of the lies we believe about ourselves were conceived during the abuse and trauma of childhood. These posts are not a substitute for professional counseling. Please seek professional help if needed and use this post as a supplement. You are worth the work and you are worth the time and money it takes to heal.