Matters of acceptance and rejection are stark in their extremes. To these two concepts belong the pivot points for life itself, for where we feel we belong we feel accepted and life runs well. But when we feel we don’t belong we feel, even unconsciously, rejected—and for such a time life does not run well.
Belonging is our great need of life.
We could go further and say that belonging to a vibrant caring community (I’m thinking ‘church’) is God’s chief aim for us. There is a lack of fulfilment within us when we feel we don’t belong. But when we do belong somewhere—where we have our home, even possibly beyond home—life takes on an abundance of blessedness.
In belonging all things of love connect.
Where Life Satisfaction Isn’t
I used to connect satisfaction in life with time to myself; principally to write. I was at my ‘happiest’ alone, but certainly with my wife around—she and I, alone. I could think and pray and write. I was with God in my mind without barrier or interruption. I loved moments like this, and particularly full days without anything to attend to other than being at God’s disposal to write.
But there is something very insidious about desiring time alone and shunning the great need to belong. I can only see this having traversed the journey—now, knowing I belong in a church fellowship, I see the unparalleled value of truly belonging.
We can be easily duped by taking from life without giving, and where we cannot give we cannot get—and by contributing in others’ lives, because we want to, God enriches our lives with an abundance beyond anything we could ever take.
Still, the many travel the life path that I’m certainly familiar with. The selfish life of purposeful isolation promises much in the way of independence and the fulfilment of desires, but it delivers little in comparison with the promises of belonging.
Why Belonging Works
There are possibly many reasons why belonging works. But, first of all, belonging requires faith from us. We must risk ourselves to become known in the lives of others.
Certainly we risk rejection.
And this might be the hidden and unconscious key. How many of the isolated fear rejection? How many of the isolated have already been rejected?
But any church worth its salt in Christ is a welcoming place where people will feel connected and blessed nevermore by God. There should be no better place for belonging than church, for there we find unity without the pressure for uniformity. There we are accepted for who we are, first and foremost. Then we know we belong. There our needs may be known, and in surrendering knowledge of our needs, our needs may be serviced and satisfied. This is a great blessing to others, that they may serve us, as we may also serve them in servicing and satisfying their needs.
Belonging works, connecting all of life, by making life—a social construct—make sense.
We all seek to belong and belonging is our greatest need. When we feel we belong life has abundance, but when we don’t belong hateful feelings begin to spring up because we have felt rejected. God wants us to feel that we belong (accepted), because we do belong to life. We will never be truly happy unless we feel we belong.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.