How the courage to let go helps us belong

Out of Place Series – Jodi’s Story

I tried, but I just couldn’t keep up. 

Running the roads, going to play dates, being in bible studies, mom groups, field trips, enrichment activities, hostess opportunities, outreach, life. When my now teenage daughter was much younger, I had seasons of running myself ragged trying to keep up with other moms and what I thought was expected of me. It’s not like I read a list in a magazine or anything. It was just a feeling, just an observance, just the rumblings of a busy society where “we can do all the things.” 

Can you relate? 

My body and mind didn’t agree with my actions and I was left wondering why I didn’t belong in the pretty hustle of what looked like gifts and opportunities for the taking. It’s a weird realization to understand that you are out of place when you feel different than the people surrounding you. 

Four out of five Autumns in a row I got pneumonia, almost landing in the hospital one of those years. Many Halloween nights I would have to sit in my driveway in a lawn chair, too sick to walk the neighborhoods with everyone else following the orange and black hued tradition. It didn’t occur to me until several years later that maybe I wasn’t built for the hustle. And maybe there wasn’t anything wrong with me for not being able to keep up. And maybe there isn’t anything wrong with my friends who can. 

I have joked with my husband that living on an island in the Caribbean for 16 of my formative years, made me a slow living momma and friend. It must run in my blood and in my soul. I crave community, deep conversation, the beauty of nature, long coffee talks with a small handful of friends, and quieter one-on-one time as I step back from the big picture. I finally understood that if I couldn’t find slower, quieter more meaningful life situations out there, that I would need to come up with my own, and even invite others seeking the same to the table. 

You too, maybe? 

how the courage to let go helps us belong

It takes some reaching out, some holding back, some saying no and even sometimes saying yes. Knowing we have the freedom to be who we are gives way to a new sort of belonging which then branches out to others. Everyone wants to be seen. To be heard. To belong. 

Although my doctor had told me that I would need to cut various forms of stress out of my life, something inside of me knew that if I could just trust the process, the letting go, the over-committing in order to ultimately fit in and not feel left out, that I would be okay. 

With encouragement from my own mom and finally getting to the point where I let God pick my friends, I started fitting in to the place I was called to be in life. In this skin. In this mind. The shifting and slowing back down, mirroring my own former island way of living, gave way to a whole new world. Not overnight. But season by season. 

I simply adore this quote by Doug Cooper:

“Identity cannot be found or fabricated but emerges from within when one has the courage to let go.” 

I’m thankful that one of my mentors has helped me understand that “my pace is my pace” which has helped so much with my human need for fitting in and belonging. When we give ourselves time, grace and space to grow, we start fitting in where we are supposed to and find ourselves giving others the same space to “be” in the world. Being familiar with the over-scheduled and stressful lifestyle in a society where my health, work and relationships suffered has helped me be a more empathetic friend to both peers and strangers. 

When we give ourselves time, grace and space to grow, we start fitting in where we are supposed to and find ourselves giving others the same space to “be” in the world.

As the years have gone by, this last decade has thrown in some of its own methods of slowing down, many chosen for me. But the gifts and opportunities I’m stumbling upon are more than my heart could have dreamed of. Deeper relationships, more time learning about being accepted as I am by God and more time to pour into lifelong passions are a few of my (newer) favorite things. Which has replaced doing all the things. 

Let go with me, friend! It’s a sweet place of belonging. 

If you’ve ever felt like you don’t belong, this series is for you! Every Monday, we’ll hear from someone who has also struggled to belong. Be sure to subscribe below to get The Scoop so you never miss a post! As a thank you, you’ll receive access to belonging-themed scripture cards and adult coloring pages in the free for you library!

Thanks! I can't wait to connect with you!

Meet Jodi

Jodi Grubbs lives outside of Raleigh, NC and shares a 1952 bungalow with her husband and teen daughter. As former island girl, she is passionate about helping women slow down, gather and find authentic community in the middle of their soulful, beautiful and sometimes hard lives. Jodi is the host of Our Island in the City Podcast where she and her guests have deep conversations about faith, friendship and everyday life. You can connect with her on Instagram and Facebook.

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Sarah K. Butterfield is an author, speaker, and ministry leader who has a heart for empowering women to grow in their faith and be intentional with their time. She and her husband and two boys live in San Diego, where she writes about pursuing a deeper relationship with God in the midst of motherhood.

4 thoughts on “How the courage to let go helps us belong

  1. I’m playing catch up- and man, am I glad this was waiting in the cue.

    Jodi writes so honestly here and her words were a balm to my soul. I began down a similar road of letting go 5 years ago. During that early day’s I wrote these words into song:
    We were made to be free
    We were made for each other
    Let’s rewrite a new story
    You be you, I’ll be me.

    It takes courage and so much trust to accept + walk in the unique ways God has made us.

    Sarah, thanks for this series…. Jodi, thanks for sharing a piece of your heart.

    Liked by 1 person

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