Where do you belong?
What do you have to do to belong?
Who do you belong to?
Have you ever asked yourself these questions?
And did you know that your life is driven by these questions?
belong /bəˈlôNG/ verb 1. be the property of.
As a human being you have a strong need to belong, or to have a place where your heart feels like it belongs. A place where you can be loved, valued, honored and accepted. When we find these things, we feel a sense of belonging and acceptance and it makes us feel like we are home. In a healthy home, mom and dad should create a place where you as a child know that you have a bed, food, protection when you get hurt, and other things that guarantee you feel safe, loved, valued and purposeful. You know you belong to them because they provide you with all these basic needs and even more. When your home environment is like this, someone can ask, “Where is your home?” and you can know what the answer is.
A home is a place where your heart finds warmth, protection, security, identity, purpose, destiny, affirmation, encouragement, and comfort.
Our hearts are constantly searching for a home. This happens especially if we never felt a sense of belonging in our childhood homes. If we didn’t feel unconditionally loved, accepted, valued or purposeful, we will be searching for home at work, in our friends, co-workers, and relationships. We will believe the lies we were told at home: if we do things perfectly or if we get along with everyone, we will belong. But that’s not the case. Belonging has nothing to do with a physical house, but has everything to do with the condition of the heart.
In the natural, we were born into families. We have parents, some have siblings and others don’t. Some people were not raised in a home with both parents or even biological parents. Some people felt that sense of belonging at their homes and others never felt that sense of belonging at all.
So, what happens when you didn’t grow up feeling like you were at home? You might feel…
Like you were an inconvenience – the black sheep of the family.
Rejected, abandoned, neglected, and home felt like prison.
You had to play by the ‘family rule book’ in order to belong.
You had to do all things to perfection in order to feel the love and acceptance among others.
You had to agree with mom and dad at all costs in order to win their approval and the opposite is true in that family.
This need for belonging then carries over into all areas of life and you may come to believe that you have to do these things to belong outside of the home.
At work: You want to be perfect (I’m not saying it’s wrong to pursue perfection) but the perfectionism driven by a need to belong means that if you make a mistake, you will suffer the consequence of being on the outside looking in (this could be interpreted as getting fired or getting demoted).
In marriage: These lies can make you feel like you can’t disagree with your spouse because that may mean you may get a divorce.
With God: You feel that if you don’t pray, read the Bible, or go to church that God wants nothing to do with you.
As a result, we search for the ‘rule book’ that we need to follow in order to belong. This leads us to conform to what others want us to be and in the end, we don’t belong anywhere and lose our sense of self.
So take a moment and ask yourself – what are some of the things I’m doing to make me feel like I belong?
Until your heart finds God, this search for a home will be a never ending one. And until you understand God’s protection, acceptance, purpose, love, security, and value of you, your heart will be searching in all the wrong places and you will lose yourself in the process. God doesn’t change the rules. His truth remains constant through all ages. There are no conditions to His love and He has adopted you into His family.
YOU BELONG TO GOD.
Romans 8:15 For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.”
How can you change your course?
1. Understand where your heart is currently finding home.
2. Become aware of pressures you feel in order to belong.
3. Ask yourself, “Do I want to keep doing this?”
This is a journey and you will take steps to get there. You are going to face your choice. Your choice will be determined by what you want and this can be easy or hard depending on each individual and need. Change is not always easy, but it’s always necessary for things to be different.