You are only free when you realize you belong no place – you belong every place – no place at all. The price is high. The reward is great. ~ Maya Angelou

Just finished reading the book, Braving The Wilderness which I could not set down. It seriously may have been the fastest I have finished a book ever! The book in summary is an invitation for all of us to not just brave the wilderness but to become the wilderness.

Aside from Maya Angelou's quote a few pieces completely resonated with me. First is the discovery that true belonging occurs from the courage to brave the wilderness and only a few are willing to make it out there. A few but many to be found once we get there. Second, true belonging is not to be confused with fitting in. At its basic contrast:

  • If I get to be me, I belong. I'm accepted for me.
  • If I have to be like you, I fit in. I'm accepted for being like everyone else.

Fear, doubt, ourselves, others can keep us from seeing the difference. But honestly, there are so many voices of the "fitting in" flavor that bombard daily and so frequently it becomes entirely too easy to lose sight of the forest from the trees.

I see it daily at school so trust me when I say it all starts for us at a young age. I also see why I've become somewhat of a wilderness guide if you will when I see brave littles resisting the fitting in flavor.

Intuitively I've known the wilderness to be the only authentic place of belonging. Almost always a lonely voyage out, it always becomes the place where God blesses us most.

The book as such gives us all insight on how to get to the wilderness.

Spirituality is a listed ingredient and a critical one indeed. Which I honestly can't say I'm surprised by in the slightest because some of the bravest, truest, most authentic wilderness goers I know have an incredible amount of faith.

Why? Because when we know we have Jesus by our side, we make the lonely the voyage out there. We make it because we are not really alone at all.

Fitting in is never going to supply us with the resources for that kind of voyage. It might supply us with momentary shelter but a self or a variation of selves finding shelter in the trees is only a temporary illusion. It's not true belonging. The book and its research demonstrates it does not sustain long.

I truly believe a higher level of spirituality is what comes along side us and wrestles us out in to the real forest. It's not always a pretty trip, another deterrent to sheltering the trees.

But as Maya Angelou says…the price is high, the reward is great.

I've certainly participated in my fair share of fitting in but I'm realizing how faith has always encouraged me toward the wilderness. Sure, there are moments we all run for shelter but the more we listen to spirit, the deeper into the wilderness we will arrive.

Love, love, loved this biblical reference at the end of the book.

God is going to continue to call out to us even as we hang on so tightly to the trees. But we can only truly wrestle with Him in the forest. It's where we think He does not go and right in that space is exactly where we find Him most.

Wrestled, limping and blessed.

If the son sets you free, you will be free indeed. ~ John 8:36

Loved By Grace,