Hello readers! This is my first post on YOB and I hope all of you enjoy it.

My name is John, and I want to belong.

But wait. Doesn’t everyone?

It seems that with the rise of social media “news groups” (i.e. BuzzFeed), there is a repetitive theme of aiming to relate to all people using different categories or social groups.

Examples may include: “Signs You Grew Up Christian,” “Things Only Tall People Understand,” “14 Things Every College Student Feels During Finals,” “Things Only Southerners Say,” and the list goes on for what seems like forever.

On YouTube and Vine, hashtags like #relatable show up constantly as people search to find commonalities between those like them.

People want to be recognized; they want to BELONG.

I see nothing wrong with this. In fact, I think it’s a normal, healthy expression. You can take a look at almost any psychologist or sociologist and recognize that belonging to someone or some group is essential to an individual’s development.

But what makes me want to belong so badly?

Because most of my life, I’ve felt lost.

I grew up in a wonderful, Christian family of six kids in the rural South; however, I’ve always felt different. Every time I tried to articulate what that felt like to my family or friends as a child, they never understood.

Some of you may think this sounds similar to a coming out story; it does, but it’s not the same thing.

I knew I was different, but not “gay.”

I felt isolated from my own gender. I wasn’t playing with action figures or going hunting with male relatives; in fact, I hated those things. I don’t even remember why, but I guess I felt they were pointless or boring activities.

Let me make this crystal clear though: I did not play with (or want to play with) dolls or do anything remotely related to what typical little girls do. I felt like an anomaly.

I also felt further alone from my peers due to a particular organization my parents decided I should be involved in — the Boy Scouts of America.

Don’t get me wrong, this organization has done a lot for boys and men in this country, but it was a huge boulder in my life.

I was bullied, called gay, excluded, and alone.

I thought something was wrong with me.

I thought God had messed up.

I thought I would forever be lost. But those were lies that I was believing.

And some days I still believe these lies — lies straight from the devil. But they are not true.

I know I am unique.

I know God designed me and my struggles ultimately for His glory and my good.

I am never lost when I allow God to guide me.

I have to continually surround myself with truth throughout my struggle with homosexuality. It’s the only way I know to make it through life. However, that doesn’t mean I don’t feel lost at times or unworthy of belonging.

My good friend and other brother Tom has said to me: “Life is split into seasons, and this is just a season that you will get through.”

Have you experienced a season of feeling alone or wanting to belong?

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