It's funny how you can be raised by the same parents, in the same home, with the same rules and be totally different than your siblings. Even though you learned the same lessons, were taught the same values, attended the same churches, something about the way you think, act and navigate in the world bears no resemblance to those who share your DNA. You don't really understand how it happened or when it happened, but you are different than your loved ones, as different as night and day. Even when you talk to your siblings, you realize that something is out of sync, off-kilter, or just plain weird. How did your family become so divergent, disparate, diverse, and disconnected from you? What happened? Did your parents just pick up a few spare kids at the mall and give them the title of "brother" or "sister" and raise all of you under the same roof?
For years I thought that I was the only person who felt like a stranger in their own family. When I looked at the faces of the people I shared a home with, I saw similarities. We had similar noses, the same shaped heads, and similar eyes. It was obvious that we were physically related, that we shared a genetic pool, but that's it. Nothing else was consistent. There wasn't a theme, a pattern, or a thread of consciousness that wove us together. We were all sojourners trying to find our own way amid constant relocations, poverty, struggle, and young parents trying to parent us while parenting themselves. But, I digress.
What I know now for sure is that being raised in the same house does not guarantee that you are of the same spirit. Even though you are genetically related, you may be wired, shaped, and gifted differently because you have a distinct call on your life. No, you are not better; you are not greater, and you are not superior. But you are unique, maybe even peculiar. You discern that something is different about you because you think and behave in ways that appear strange, unorthodox, eccentric, or just plain odd compared to your relatives.
Sometimes you are accused of being an attention grabber or a drama queen or king. But you are not trying to grab attention or stand out; you are trying to figure yourself out. You can't put your finger on it, but you feel an indescribable urge and an unexplained yearning pulling you in a direction that feels familiar but unknown at the same time. You know that something inside your soul is calling you, claiming you and compelling you to do things that you have never done before. Yet, you don't fully understand yourself or comprehend the magnitude of what you are feeling. How could you? Nobody explains what a calling, a purpose, or dharma is, or what it means for your life. Nobody clarifies or affirms the impulses that are guiding you to new opportunities or awaking you to new realities. So, you are just left alone to deal with dreams you can't explain, visions you can't describe, wisdom that you have never learned, and feelings you can't define. Have you been there?
Since your loved ones don't understand your oddness or your inclination for going against the grain, they judge it, even though nobody really knows what "it" is. That's why people with world-changing, life-defining, and society-shifting missions become outcasts, pariahs, and "black sheep" in their families. People who don't play by family rules or comply with the culturally-accepted norms get socially ousted and rejected by the ones they need the most, their families. Families usually don't understand or like what they see or sense in their "deviant" kin. However, the family rarely realizes that what they are sensing is greatness - greatness that is budding, blooming, and maturing right before their very eyes.
When I think about how siblings sometimes feel about their gifted, attention-getting sibling, I am reminded of Joseph from the Bible. As a child, God gave him visions of greatness, grandeur, and power. Regrettably, Joseph was too young and too immature to know that some visions can't be shared with loved ones. So, he shared his vision, and his brothers were so threatened and jealous of his vision that they threw him into a dark, dangerous pit. Eventually, Joseph was sold into slavery and experienced more hardships. He spent time in prison and was wrongfully accused of flirting with his master's wife. At times, Joseph felt forgotten and tossed aside. But just in case you don't know how the story ends, what Joseph dreamt as a child ultimately comes true. He becomes a leader in a strange land, and through his leadership, a country survived a great famine.
So, purpose seeker, know that your vision, your calling, and your dreams will sometimes make you feel like a foreigner in your own family. And, your dreams may feel so threatening and baffling that your brothers and sisters may retaliate in hurtful ways. You may feel displaced, discounted, and attacked. You may be lonely and misunderstood. Be ready. When God plucks you out of obscurity, you may have a "Joseph" experience and feel alienated from the ones you love most.
My friend, you must accept this uncomfortable, but irrefutable truth: Even though you were raised in the same home with your siblings, it does not mean they will experience the same height. You may experience greater success, more notoriety, and earn more money than the people you ate with, celebrated with, struggled with, and grew up with. Again, it does not mean that you are better. It just means that you are on a different path and that you made different choices. It means that you have surrendered to your true nature and that you have tapped into your gifts, which propelled you forward and further in the world.
As you are pursuing what you were created to do, be aware. Your family may call you selfish because you invest your time, money, and energy in developing your gifts and following your destiny. Your family may use guilt and societal pressure to influence you to stay in places that you have already outgrown. They may even use obligation to make you feel tethered to relationships that are no longer beneficial and healthy for what you feel divinely compelled to do. And as a last resort, they may call you foolish in attempts to discourage because your dreams are beyond anything that they have ever seen or imagined in their own lives. But don't get distracted and don't abandon your mission. Be courageous and stay committed. Know that the Inner Guidance, God, will lead you to your highest good.
Yes, you are different, not better or superior, but different. You are anointed to do great things in the world, and your loved ones are anointed, too, even if they don't realize it yet. But you can't wait for them to understand their greatness or recognize their calling before you pursue yours. You can't wait for them to encourage and embrace you and your purpose, either. You don't have time to waste. You don't know when your time on earth will end, so you must seize the moment and activate your gifts. You must do what God has consecrated you to do NOW with faith, focus, and fortitude.
I know it may feel like you are leaving people behind, but you are not. Remember…just because people are raised with you does not mean that they will rise with you. And, you can't let their resistance or their failure to rise, clip your wings, or delay your destiny.
It's your time to SOAR so RISE! Take flight! SOAR High! And when you get to a certain altitude, don't forget to swoop back down and bring a few others up so that they can experience a new dimension of God too.
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