Friends, we all have a longing to belong; belong in a family, a group of friends, fit in in our workplace, But the biggest desire we have to belong can only be filled by God. Having a bunch of friends on Instagram or Facebook only gives us a false sense of belonging. Now let’s get real. How many of you have noticed that someone else’s post got so many likes and yours didn’t? Or how many of you have noticed that someone has so many friends on social media and you only have a few? We long for a sense of belonging. It’s like having a bowl of ice cream with warm chocolate sauce on it. It is comforting and satisfying. But once it is gone, the sensation of comfort and taste is gone. Sure it’s super important to know that you belong to a family and a have a group of friends (by the way I call my family the “tribe”) but ultimately just as they fill you up, they can also be a source of rejection.
I remember when I was a child, I longed to be like my friends. I tried fitting in by buying the popular clothes, and even tried to mimic them if they were popular. We all have experienced ways of negotiating our lives to give us that warm cozy belonging feeling. Enough said. You get my point. So what do we do to attain a sense of contentment and wellness within? The answer is connect to the VINE.
I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you are joined with me and I with you, the relation is intimate and organic; the harvest is sure to be abundant (John 15:58 MSG)
Jesus doesn’t beat around the bush with this one. He is clearly saying when we connect intimately with Him our lives will be fruitful and part of the package deal is we will have a sense of belonging that we all crave.
Kids can be so cruel. They don’t mean to be, but they fight their way to the top. And what is the top? It’s believing that if you are on top, you won’t experience deep loss of rejection. The need to belong becomes a non issue because everyone will follow you. We see this today in our schools with bullying. The bully wants to belong and his way of getting this deep need filled is to create a world where he is on top. The only problem is that he ends up on bottom- rejected and lonely.
We must teach our children that they can only have the hole in their heart filled with God’s love.
We must help our children in their quest for belonging by leading them to Christ and reinforcing their spiritual journey with Him. And these filled-with-God kids then will become filled-with-God adults who are content, balanced, lovely to be with. You know the types. We all migrate towards these kinds of people.
So today as we ponder what it means to make space for God, let’s dig a little deeper and learn what it takes to cling to the VINE Jesus. We are the branch to the vine and this intimate connection is what ultimately will give us a sense of self worth and belonging.