My 7 year old daughter was in tears telling me, “I’m not me anymore. I don’t feel like myself. I don’t fit in this body. I don’t know why I feel this way. I just want to die.” She tries to hold her breath to die, but can’t. I hold her on my lap on the back porch; I understanding the feeling but I don’t have any good suggestions other than dinner, a warm bath and a cup of tea. My daughter is really trying to make a choice about where she belongs. Our neighborhood school is filled with rough kids. Is it worth it to give up her sweet nature to fit in with the girls in her class? Does she want to be a in the super speller group if it means a lot of hard work studying? Who is she when she is not at home with our family?
It seems paradoxical, but we most often question our identity when we are in the midst of having to choose which groups/families/teams we belong to. I think this is because our very selves are formed by our daily experiences of belonging and of course, the sacrifices we make to belong. Who and what are worth "dying to self"? To really know oneself one must know the ground of their being, that which they belong to at the most basic level. To really make wise choices and not get lost in all the possibilities, and be willing to give of one's self graciously, confidently, one must know they are a child of God. If you belong to God, to the maker of the Universe, then you can belong anywhere He calls you to be.
So this morning, as she was doing her hair for “Picture Day” I took off my Confirmation Cross necklace and enfolded her hand around it. I read her the inscription, “I have called you by your name and you are mine” and reminded her that if she ever doubts who she is, this is all she needs to know: She belong's to God and He has a special plan for her.