we all wanna know how it ends

I’ve always felt a little like an outsider.
I grew up in a small town on the east coast where I was the only kid in my class with two working parents.  I was also the only kid in my class from a biracial family.
Then we moved back to CO to be near family, but we had been gone for most of my life so even with family I was the outsider.
After I became a Christian, I was different than my friends.  I lived at home through college straddling life at home and life in college while everyone else ate dorm food and had late night study sessions.
I started working at churches where I was always one of the only women on staff and the only person not raised in a Christian home.  References would be made to things “we all grew up with” and I would stare back blankly or fake nod like I understood.
I attended our denomination’s seminary and came face to face with the reality that while my denomination values multiculturalism and women in ministry both are still a minority in a white male dominated profession.
I’ve never really felt like I fit.  When I was younger, it was an insecurity.  I saw myself as so different from my peers that I would just mold myself to fit in with them.  I played up my white side in order to fit with the other girls at the lunch table.  I wouldn’t talk about how my nanny helped me with my homework because my parents were working.  I would force myself to try and fit in with my cousins, even though all the stories were of times and places I wasn’t a part of.  I taught myself to be quiet because even though my opinion was different, theirs were louder.
But as I’ve grown up, I realize that my outsider nature is actually an asset.  Everyone strives to fit in, everyone struggles with being just like everyone else.  But I was given a story for a specific purpose – and I’m working on finding mine.
I was listening to a podcast this morning with author Sally Lloyd Jones.  She said that someone once told her that all writers need two things to be good – to have been transplanted from one place to another in their childhood and to have a deep wound in their childhood.  I’m not sure how true that is, although neither was Sally – but it got me thinking…
All these experiences have convinced me that my voice isn’t good enough.  I’ve been on the outside for so long, I’ve felt wounded by the exclusion of not fitting into the box that everyone else fit into.  And while there is portion of that burden on their shoulders, there is also a portion of it on my shoulders.
I’ve allowed it to happen.  I’ve faded into the background instead of working through the pain.  I’ve said that it’s easier not to rock the boat than to speak my truth.  I’ve allowed it to happen because it’s too hard, in my eyes, to try and speak up.
But Sally’s words spoke to something deep inside of me.  That my story needed to get out.  That my voice matters and that while others have told me that repeatedly, I need to give myself permission to speak.
God’s been moving, stirring in my heart for a few months now.  He’s working me up into a tizzy that can no longer be silent.  Now it’s up to me – to have the courage to share, courage to speak up, courage to use my experiences to help others see what life looks like on the outside.  To pour into others on the outside and give them the mic to speak.
We all have stories that need to be heard.  We all need to self-edit to keep the message relevant, but maybe it’s time for me to self edit just a little less.

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