Out of Place – Angela’s Story
Most of my life I have felt out of place, as if I did not belong. I just thought everyone felt this way. The psychological and spiritual tool of the Enneagram of Personality helped me see that not everyone has this experience. Many of us outliers that often have this sense of feeling out of place, never fitting in or belonging and are often typed as #4 on the Enneagram: the Individualist, the Original and Intense Creative.
This was the beginning of my willingness to look deeper into why I often felt as if I did not belong. I always knew cognitively that I belonged as I was one of 8 children in a devoutly Catholic and loving family. Yet, it was the tool of the Enneagram and working with my own spiritual director for the last 7 years that I began to realize that genuine belonging always has been God’s ideal for me, and he was awaiting my response to his invitation.
Belonging from birth
Our little tinies feeding at our breast, is there anything more illustrative of the concept of belonging?
Experiencing a sense of belonging is a basic, core, and fundamental human need. We do not grow and thrive without being claimed by another. If you are reading this, then someone chose you from your inception and beginning even without your consent.
As a created being, I must have been in the imagination of someone. I believe I was created by a loving creator desiring to connect and bond with me along with all creation. The writings of antiquity, especially the Greek and Hebrew text of the Bible remind us that God is love (1Jn.4:8) and His love will not diminish towards us (Psalm 59:10). If God is love we can conclude that what He has created is good.
I am currently authoring my first book, Belonging Is A Choice: Our Response to God’s Invitation, and facilitating another online series by zoom on Wednesdays this September titled, Belonging Is A Choice. This week we looked at belonging to God. I asked everyone to bring a picture, icon, or memory that depicts belonging to God. My choice was of a mother and child in the beautiful act of breastfeeding. The interdependence of the mother and child is captivating.
As I shared my reason for choosing a breastfeeding piece of art I found myself tearing up and my voice cracking. I found it strange at the intensity of my emotions and was curious about the meaning behind my tears. Yes, I did breastfeed my four children until nearly their 2nd birthday except my youngest until he was 15 months old. But, why was I hijacked with emotion as I am a grandmother now? I was experiencing deep feelings of connection, joy, peace, and love. There was no greater time in my life that I felt such a centered groundedness and connection with another than when I was nursing my young.
Our loving Creator has handpicked every human being and yearns for each of us to respond to his invitation to belong and experience relational connection in His kingdom, a spiritual kingdom of those who trust God.
God gives us a hint of his longing for our response to be with him by the creation of our natural world. We ontologically fit in his world that he gave to you and me to steward. He then communicates his longing to be with his own through the words of his son Jesus, the Christ, son of the living God. Christ Jesus is the second person of the Trinity, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
You and I have been invited to belong to God, belong to oneself, and belong to one another. Though many today in our current pandemic social restrictions are feeling a sense of disconnection and alienation, we can hope to know that belonging is not a human construct, but God’s ideal for all humanity. We have been invited to belong to the One that will not die and leave us due to Covid-19, not now, not ever, though others will leave and die like all humans before and after us will.
Just as the little children rest in the warm and gentle embrace of their mother, we can know someone chooses and claims us as their own, forever. I can’t help but notice the mother’s gaze upon her nursing young, undeterred from distraction. Even the older child has joined the heavenly embrace. We too can belong to a family, the family of God when we respond to Jesus’ invitation recorded by Matthew’s gospel account:
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:28-30 | The Message
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 these scripture cards and adult coloring pages about belonging in the kingdom of God:
Meet Angela Gage
My name is Angela, I live on a 3-acre hobby farm in rural Central Missouri enjoying the good life of raising chickens, honey bees, and all things gardening and canning with my newlywed husband and master gardener, Ed. We enjoy sharing our produce with our 4 grown children, 5 grand princesses, and 1 grand prince.
As a certified Spiritual Director and Enneagram Practitioner, I create safe spaces for others to get still and listen in the context of their own story to find the discernment to clarify their gifts, calling, and purpose to fulfill their God given destiny. Pandemic restriction caused me to pivot my “how” to include offering group online spiritual companioning series by zoom to meet the need for genuine connections in our ever-shifting social and political landscape. In addition to offering the ministry of presence to individuals and online groups, I facilitate contemplative weekend retreats onsite and online by zoom. I am passionate about fostering a spirituality of disarming hospitality…where all are welcomed as they are, not as others would have them to be.
In addition to companioning others, ion their spiritual journey you will find me outdoors for fresh air either hiking, biking, or strolling the Katy Trail. I listen to lots of podcasts primarily about the mystical contemplative life and writing about the spirituality of belonging. I will be pitching my first book proposal this October, Belonging is a Choice_Our Response to God’s Invitation. You can connect with me on my website, on Facebook, or Instagram!