Do I Belong ?
"Don't be afraid, I've redeemed you, I've called you by name. You are mine." - Isaiah 43:1-7
Have you ever asked yourself the question, “do I belong?” Many times I have asked myself this. Even without voicing out the exact words, I have often asked others to approve my belonging. I spent most of my childhood and teenage years asking to be loved, and I changed myself more than once to fit in. I asked this same question when my son died, and I also asked this question when I suffered from severe anxiety. Belonging isn't a religious question, just a natural fact of life. We all want to be heard, seen and known. It's a natural instinct built within us. I love how the verse above says to us, not to be afraid because I feel naturally we can be afraid of not being known or loved, but we don't have to be...we are known by God.
Belonging is recognized and understood when we decide to lay our lives down for something more. We spend most of our life thinking we can belong through getting rich or meeting the right man. I believe when "our ideal" doesn't happen, we break. For some your heart breaks, and I can admit this was my story. My heart was broken and Jesus found me. He showed me what it was like to be known, to be seen for real and with unconditional love added. Before I met Jesus, I felt I was someone's possession rather than a human being with a purpose. I used to tell myself that being wanted was enough, and I didn't need to be loved unconditionally. Being loved partially was all I felt my worth was, and then I was met by true love. I can't say how I understood this, it was a moment of just knowing that Jesus was real and I was hugged by pure love. I couldn't see it, I definitely didn't understand what was happening but something changed within me. My heart started to feel true love, my eyes started to open and I just knew I needed something more. It's like I never knew I was broken, I never thought I could be fixed until I became fully broken. When I knew faith it was like everything that was before was shattered, and my heart was now being rebuilt.
When we find ourselves fully broken, we can be fully rebuilt. But if we just stay as we are, then there's no chance of being put back together. I know you most probably feel you don't need fixing, but the truth is we have all fallen short in our lives and through realizing this then we break into tiny pieces in knowing we are not worthy. Jesus chose everyone of us to be called 'sons' and 'daughters'. This is how I picture the rebuilding of our heart. Rebuilt with Jesus being at the center.
Let's be honest, choosing to be loved is a risk. There's a risk to choose to see beyond what our eyes want to see. But it's the kind of risk where can't lose, it doesn't cost you anything! We all going to face disappointment in life and that's a fact. Yet I strongly believe that what has been destroyed, can also be fixed, and whatever is taken can be returned. The lie would be to believe you have no belonging or purpose in life. The truth would be to believe that you are seen by your Father who created you.
I had a heartbreaking moment after we arrived back from our family holiday. We were on our way back from our time away, and although it was a breathing space for me and my family, sadly when I got home I realized my laptop was missing. The worst part is that on my laptop was my first ever book that I had been writing. Each day after arriving home, I would endlessly look through our things that were being packed away as we had just also moved house. To my absolute shock, I couldn't find it. The more I looked, the more it became real to me that it was not going to be found. I started to believe there was no purpose for me writing it anyway, and that maybe I wouldn't write it again.
"The result of something being taken from you, doesn't have to be a loss to you, but it could be a gain."
The word "gain" is described as something wanted or desired. Therefore isn't it our choice to "gain" out of our loss, rather than a circumstance taking our peace from us? The control is ours my friend.
You may feel like you have lost yourself through hard circumstances, but it doesn't mean you don't belong. This doesn't mean something doesn't exist, just because you can not see it. We regularly speak of Jesus to our four year old. He says, "Mummy where is Jesus? I can't see Him." I then point to my boy's heart, and say "Jesus lives in here, but also He is everywhere."
You can not stop something belonging, just because of what you see is not how you thought it would look.
In Isaiah 43-1, it tells us that we are called by name and we belong to God. So when others choose not to see you or love you in the way you deserve. Yes it will hurt for a moment, but know you belong and you are seen for a lifetime.
What matters most is that God sees you.
To be seen by the world is cheap in comparison to being known by God. I am worth much more than fame and status. So I teach my heart not to seek such things, because it only distracts me from the treasure that is within the secret place. I have grown to learn to seek deeper within the rich fountain of love and mercy, because that's where I find purpose and where I am truly seen.
"You are the God who sees me." - Genesis 16:13
So I truly believe in the process of knowing we belong, as we are being rebuilt.
"I have loved you with an everlasting love, I have drawn you with unfailing kindness, I will build you up again and you will be rebuilt." - Jeremiah 31 :3-4
The image I imagine of being rebuilt is like how a plant is cut back to the root, because what was on the surface was withered away and there was no opportunity to grow further. All that remained are the dead pieces. We have to go back to the secret place, where we are no longer seen by man, but that's where we gather roots and build foundation. If we are inviting God into those places of growth, we then become stronger and what is seen is strong and fruitful. We can share what has been given to us, when God has built it from the start. But if we expose ourselves too soon, our roots won't last and won't serve people well.
Notice how we are affirmed with love and kindness, even before God expresses how He will rebuild us! Trying to rebuild on shame and guilt won't be healthy, but we are to accept the love and kindness. God rebuilds us in truth, and not lies.
One day when my family and I were laid on the bed ready for story time, and we was saying our prayers before bed. I frequently ask my son, what Jesus has said to my son that day. This one particular night, he quietly said that Jesus was knocking on our door. I love this! It reminded me of how sometimes we don't see, but it doesn't stop Jesus knocking at the door of our lives. Sometimes we don't believe because we don't see, but then we hear Jesus knocking at our door, and yet how quickly we can forget about the knock and we carry on turning a blind eye. When actually Jesus is always knocking on our door, no matter what season we are going through.
The truth is Jesus is knocking on the door of your heart right now. He never takes His eyes off you, and tells you that you belong to Him. Don't let what you can not see, determine the path of your life.
"Here I am ! I stand at the door and knock, if anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in." - Revelation 3-20
"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." - Hebrews 11-1