Belonging. I think if we could break through the rough exteriors and the walls that so many of us put up, we would find that we all desire to belong. Belong to a family. Belong to a club. Belong to a friend group. Belong to a community. Any kind of belonging that keeps us from feeling alone. Feeling like we belong and are allowed to occupy space is critical for good mental health.
I’ve been on this planet for 5 decades and in that time, I’ve lived in 5 states and lots of cities. Moving around and trying to find where I fit in took up a lot of my time and that meant that I didn’t often feel like I belonged. Last weekend, sitting on a wall with my feet dangling into Lake Washington, I felt a deep sense of belonging in my community. Not because I know a lot of people or because I’m known by a lot of people, but because I’ve spent 14 years of my life in this city and it is truly my home town. I’ve never really felt that before and I was definitely overwhelmed by the warmth of belonging. It was a gift from heaven.
Another space I feel belonging is in Jesus. I believe fully that all are welcomed and all loved by Jesus. I don’t believe He makes distinctions about people or cherry picks who is “acceptable” or “unacceptable”. In Jesus I find community and unconditional love and acceptance and that is deep belonging. I know that not all people feel that and I’m always heartbroken when I hear of people turned away in a church. That isn’t the Jesus I follow, the Jesus I follow loves you and wants you to know you belong.
Where do you feel like you belong?
Where do you feel like you don’t belong?
Really looking at questions like this can help us determine areas where we may need to work and also, areas where we may need to leave. Belonging takes some effort because people aren’t perfect but I believe that the more authentic we live, the more we increase our opportunities to feel like we belong. And the more we feel like we belong, the more we actually belong.
You are valuable.
You are remarkable.