Have you ever heard someone utter the words “I don’t belong?" Maybe that’s even a thought that has even crossed your mind from time to time. We all have various and numerous circles of community, I like to think of them as concentric circles. Larger circles of belonging like our country, state, or city; medium circles like our workplace and social relationships; smaller circles like our immediate friends and family. Belonging is a natural part of our everyday life, but it typically goes unnoticed unless we have contrary feelings. As a teenager I moved three times and ended up going to three different high schools. By the time I reached my senior year and was starting a new school, I felt like I had become an expert at making friends in a new social setting. Looking back at it now this really helped me establish a method for belonging that has shaped me into adulthood. [you could call them the ABC’s of belonging]
Assemble a strong foundation for belonging. The starting point and foundation of belonging for us as Christ followers has to start with a confidence in our belonging as sons and daughters in the in the Kingdom of our Heavenly Father. Galatians 3:26 says "So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith,”. A simple reminder with big meaning when it comes to our confidence, security, and sense of belonging
Be intentional and seek out opportunities for belonging. A big key to developing lasting relationships, community, and a sense of belonging is to put yourself our there and to take a risk. Don’t sit back and put the responsibility on others, don’t expect others to initiate, don’t wait for others to ask, own it. Finding your place is as much about creating your place as it is determining where you fit in.
Cultivate the seeds of belonging. No matter what the circles is you’re pursuing more connection in, you have to cultivate the seeds of belonging that you sense and feel. I know there have been times when I’ve struggled to find that sense of belonging in various settings, but I always look for the moment(s) that I did feel a sense of community or purpose, and I put my energies back into those things. It’s like caring for a sprouting seed, you have to keep an eye on it because it needs some level of care if it’s going to grow and take root.
We are passionate about everyone being connected in community at River Valley. That’s why we talk about Lifegroups and Lifeteams so frequently, they’re they way you really develop a strong sense of belonging.
Do you have a strong foundation for belonging through your relationship with Christ? Are you pursuing community? Are you nurturing the seeds of belonging and community that you already feel?