Have you ever felt like you don’t “fit the mold” as a member of the Church of Jesus-Christ of Latter-Day Saints? I have.
Because I am divorced, every other Sunday my son is with his dad. As a result, I have gone to church alone many times. I actually have appreciated that I can enjoy it in an interruption free manner.
For the most part going alone is ok and I’ve accepted it as part of this season of my life. If I’m being honest though, a part of me still feels uncomfortable every time I go alone. I push past it and go anyways.
I do not share that so people will feel bad for me – like I said, sitting alone has been a great luxury many times! Truly. On the flip side, sitting alone is a reality check that hurts.
Sometimes I feel out of place, like I don’t fit the mold because I’m not the same as the other women my age.
Yesterday was the first time my ward met since March. It was funny how familiar it felt. I thought to myself as I sat on the pew, “It feels like no time has passed – it feels like we were never NOT here,” even though it’s been 4 months.
My church building is a place I feel great tenderness – it has shaped me and built me. I have come to know and love the Lord there. It feels like home.
While I sat looking at the organ pipes, I checked in with the discomfort of being alone and the comfort of being where I knew I belonged. I felt both of those feelings. Do you know you can feel two things at once?
Within my field of work, I teach people that THOUGHTS lead to EMOTIONS which lead to ACTIONS. The thoughts and emotions that come from KNOWING the Lord wants me at church has been STRONGER than the feeling of not fitting in – because it is the thought I CHOOSE to NURTURE the MOST.
I know that I belong in the family of God and He wants everyone in His family to be at His house on Sunday’s – even divorced, single moms.
Do you know who else He wants at His house?
- Early returned missionaries
- Adults who never did serve missions
- People who left His church for years and now desire to come back
- The person who just broke the law of chastity
- The person whose child is a drug addict
- The drug addict
- The pornography addict
- The person who is struggling to know what it feels like to Hear Him
- The person who feels they don’t know enough
- The person who served a mission later than others
- The parents whose kids have gone astray
- Children of divorce
- The person who struggles to understand the scriptures
- The person who isn’t sure what they believe
- The person covered in tattoos or that person with one small one they got in secret as a teen
- The couple with marital issues
- The lesbian
- The gay man
- The person with severe depression
- The person who just got out of jail
- The couple who didn’t marry in the temple
- The blended family
- The widow and the widower
- The family with the special needs child
- The couple who can’t have children
- The family with the kids who are loud every Sunday
- The person whose spouse is inactive.
He wants YOU to come.
WE NEED HIM and WE NEED the strength that comes from worshipping in congregations on Sunday. ESPECIALLY IN 2020.
It’s always tempting to harbor feelings against others or blame others for what they are or are not doing. It’s always tempting to be jealous or angry or hurt or to feel self-conscious. And it’s ALWAYS a choice.
I realize it can be a HARD choice but it is VITAL we understand that what we think about fuels how we feel and that what we repeat to ourselves is OUR CHOICE.
One thing the Lord has been lovingly encouraging me to learn is accountability. Accountability for what I CHOOSE TO THINK. Because my thoughts create. I really believe that it’s up to me to CHOOSE TO BELIEVE that I DO belong.
I know that what I focus on grows. I have come to understand that if I feel that I don’t fit in or belong because my life doesn’t “fit the mold” it’s on me. And that is still a battle!
I know that the Adversary knows that if he can get me to repeat to myself enough times thoughts like, “I feel awkward. I hate coming alone. I look so dumb. It’s not fair that my life is like this,” then he is sliding into the driver’s seat and he will be able to steer me away from the source of Living Water which is what I need most!
If you have ever struggled with fitting in or thoughts that you don’t “fit the mold” within The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I want to invite you to be the master of your thoughts.
God is love and when we choose to think the words HE would speak to us, we invite HIS spirit to be with us. The fruits of His spirit are peace, love, light, and hope.
When we choose to think the thoughts and phrases and words the Adversary would have us think, we invite his spirit to also be with us. The fruits of his spirit are despair, doubt, fear, discouragement, and isolation.
If you are feeling discouraged, lonely, or unfit for participating in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, I want to testify to you that no matter what your life looks like, the truth is that you DO fit the mold because you are a child of God. You’re His mold.