Those Aren't Your People

“You will be too much for some people. Those aren’t your people.” - Glennon Melton

Why didn’t someone tell me this 30 years ago? It would have saved me a lot of heartache and wasted time spent trying to be “less” for the particular group of people I was trying to belong to. And also a lot of wasted time not moving on in search of who my people actually were.

I assumed it was me. (Don’t we always?) I figured it had to be something I was or wasn’t doing/saying/being. I was either too much or not enough.

Too talkative, too outgoing, too relational, too authentic, too demanding, too, too, too….

Or not enough. Not quiet enough, not pretty enough, not fashionable enough, not rich enough, not safe enough, not, not, not….

My personality lends itself to the too much category more than not enough, but I certainly swung back and forth in my quest to be “just right.” But, unlike Goldilocks, instead of moving on to find the perfect "people porridge" for me, I tried to adjust myself.

Dial it down, tone it down, be less. Change, adjust, fly under the radar. Fit in.

And sometimes it worked. Sometimes I was accepted into the group and seemed to be fitting in just fine. At least that’s how it looked on the outside.

But, inside I was a ball of anxiety. I feared I was one misstep or overreach away from exposing my true self, revealing that I wasn’t “just right” for these people and, in fact, was too much or not enough.

The wearing of masks and maintaining of a persona is exhausting. It wears you out to be constantly “on.”

So, one day I just stopped.

I quit trying to be something or someone I wasn’t and I decided to reacquaint myself with me. I say “reacquaint” because a by-product of becoming someone else is you forget who you really are.

You forget what you like and what you don’t like. You forget how to speak FROM your heart and not TO other people’s. After a while, your “self muscles” are pretty weak and it take time to get them strong again. It takes training.

So, I started by saying no to things I didn’t like and yes to things I did. It felt clunky at first and I’m sure I overdid it, coming out strongly in favor on something I really only mildly enjoyed. But, I was trying.

And as I got better at staying true to my design with my yeses and nos, I started looking around for the people who were saying yes and no to my same things. I was on the hunt for my people.

Because certainly they were out there. After all, God created us to need people and find our truest belonging in His heart through others. It was just a matter of finding them.

As I got to know new groups of people, I used this question as my litmus test:

Do I have to BECOME to BELONG?

Do I have to become someone else in order to fit in? Do I have to be something I’m not to be accepted?

If the answer was yes, these weren’t my people. Moving on.

Don’t get me wrong. I wasn’t walking away from the relationships completely. We would still be co-workers, neighbors, or fellow citizens of the same town. I love people and getting to know them. But, as for belonging to them? That was different.

Like I said last post, belonging is happiness found in secure relationships. Security is what I was seeking and that security only comes when we’ve presented our most authentic self and it’s been accepted and loved. When we’ve risked vulnerably sharing our deepest longings and they’ve been celebrated and affirmed. When we’ve confess our fears and received comfort and protection.

That’s belonging.

If you aren’t currently in those kinds of relationships….

If you feel the pressure to always have the right answer or outfit or the need to tone your hopes down….

Or if you’ve shared your heart and it wasn’t received….

….you haven’t found your people. Yet.

And hear me, dear one, that has nothing to do with you. It doesn’t mean you’re too much or not enough. There’s no adjustments needed on your part.

It just means you’re still looking.

Because you have two responses when you've learned that people aren't your people:

1. Change yourself to become their people.

2. Look for other people. Your people.

You don’t have to become to belong. God created you perfectly and intentionally and he’s created others who long for, need, and celebrate everything you are.

Stop wasting time trying to become. It’s time to belong.

Your people are out there. Go find them.