I've wanted to write for so long but I've been busy living my words. I concluded that I've been away too long though, so here I am, writing about the difference between fit and belong.
They are somewhat similar, but not actually the same thing. To fit into something means that you meet the standard of whatever that something is. To belong to something means to be placed there specifically and most importantly, correctly. I think a lot of us are fitting, but not belonging. As I sit and write this, I look over my own life, and realize all the places I fit but didn't belong, both in the past and right now, and that reflection is sobering. As you read this, you're probably like, but how do you know/can you tell the difference?
1. You feel it.
When you fit, you can maneuver around and do what is required. You can have fun, and even seem to be flourishing, but in the back of your mind and bottom of your gut, you feel unsettled. Something is missing and you can’t quite put your finger on it. You don’t feel completely satisfied.
When you belong, you are constantly reminded both internally and externally that “this” is where you belong. You complete all the things that are required, but then you go beyond that; not because you have to, but because something within you leads you to. Doubts and fears are minimal, if present at all, because you know that you’re in the right place. You feel settled and peaceful.
2. You suppress some part of yourself.
When you fit, you don’t take the all of you. Some part of you has to be hidden and tucked away. You don’t open up all the way, or show the deeper parts of your soul because you realize those around you can’t handle it. You realize although you can laugh with them, although y’all have lots in common, and can be around each other for a length of time without getting annoyed, you can’t totally be yourself with them. There is something you can’t show them.
When you belong, the all of you comes along for the ride. In that correct and specific place, those around you can support you. Let it be noted that I’m not saying when you belong, you bear your soul to everyone. You don’t. Wisdom is knowing who to trust to handle you BUT being in a place where you belong makes that more likely. It makes it easier. When you belong, things around you, including relationships with other people, are multi-dimensional. Your interactions bring several different aspects of you to the table: the good, bad and the ugly.
3. You can’t be in the moment.
When you fit, living in the moment is difficult because something is always nagging you. You live in the past, recalling all the best memories to convince yourself it has to be right; that even if you don’t feel that way right now, history shows some sort of rightness. Or. You live in the future, saying that if things aren’t the greatest presently, they will get better and work out better than you could have imagined. You convince yourself that even if you don’t feel all the way settled now, you will—you just have to.
When you belong, you can acknowledge and appreciate the past, and can draw out plans for the future, but you spend the most time in the present. The only convincing you need that you belong is the right now. Not the past. Not the future. The past and future only support belonging, not create it. You don’t operate based on potential—you accept the reality of what is because you realize that’s all you have.
Am I saying that you won’t feel uncomfortable in the places where you belong? Absolutely not. Am I saying that hard times won’t visit places of belonging? Absolutely not. What I am saying is that those times will only visit, not dwell. When you just can’t shake “that feeling”, it probably means you fit, but don’t belong.
Why does it matter? Because there is somewhere that is waiting for you. A place where you belong, whether that’s a relationship, job, passion, etc. is empty because you’re choosing to stay somewhere that was never designed to be long-term. It matters because you know down on the inside that you’re stunting your growth, settling for the swimming pool when you were created for the ocean. It also matters because if you ever do “get it” and finally leave the place of fit, you’ll be so scarred from it that you won’t be able to truly flourish in the place of belong. You’re worth more than that. Go to where you belong.
It would be remiss of me if I did not point out that we really only have one true place of belonging—in Him. God is the only place where we can feel completely settled, satisfied and secure. He created us with God-shaped holes on purpose. But He also created us with purpose, and it is waiting in the places of “belong”.
So, go. Now. Don’t waste another minute.
Until next time,
**This by no means is intended to be an absolute; I simply speak from my own experience.