I love having a sense of belonging.
Belonging to someone and/or something that is bigger than I am, separate from who I am is something without which I cannot live. And I mean LIVE.
I need to belong, to possess and maintain this profound feeling that I have worth and that I am genuinely connected to people, places, and things apart from myself. Having that sense has given me a sufficient portion of security, peace, and purpose.
Lately, this sense of belonging has been crucial for my young adulthood, a developmental time where there is definite pressure to be doing all kinds of things that I have not done. I could easily get lost in the “shoulds” of the life of a 20-something.
As a 20-something, I should be living the dream and doing it extra big because I’m young and educated and with few responsibilities. I should be making money and creating some cool and sexy project that everyone will love. I should be in a romantic relationship so I can get the wife and the kids, all of that. I should be traveling here and there, visiting all kinds of amazing places and recording it so that everyone else can see it on my Facebook and Twitter. I should be achieving all kinds of success and moving forward in my life.
I should. I should. I should.
When I feel myself leaning towards this pattern of thinking, I stop myself and remind myself what really matters. What really matters are the people, places, and things to which I belong, to which I have committed myself. What really matters is my capacity to give and receive to these people, places, and things with sincerity, integrity, and faithfulness.
I have found that the more I keep up with my belonging, the more secure in my skin I am, the more at peace I am with my place in the world, and the more purposeful I am with my time, energy, and resources. Authentically, I do what I can and I let God do the rest, and somehow I am content.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not settling or lowering my standards. I’m just determined to not get pressed about the uncertainty of my life, and I refuse to worry about the future. Why? How? Because I belong.
I belong to God, to my family and friends, to my church, school, job, and community.
I belong here, and no one could tell me differently.
Even more, it’s not just me belonging to all of this stuff. They belong to me just the same. This sense of belonging is not uni-directional, manipulative, or deficient, leaving me empty and alone. This is mutually beneficial, deeply genuine, and so much more than I ever imagined. It means more than I can ever say.
Recently, I have had multiple chances to see people giving to the people, places, and things that matter to them, and I see them receiving too. I witness them belonging, and it is such a gift. I watch them feel loved, valued, and included, feel a part of something that matters. I watch them get full of that sense of belonging, and they realize that they must matter too. And that is such a beautiful thing.
It reminds me of the things to which I belong and the people to whom I matter, and I appropriately remember how important and valuable I am.
I belong. I matter. You belong. You matter.
Love Love Love,