Dear Longing to Belong
BY JESSICA LAWSON
You did it. You made it to church. You’ve been church hopping for a while and the newness of it all has worn off. You look around. You see the hands up high, or the mouths shut closed. The greeter was awkward. Their job is literally to welcome you and you found no comfort there. Announcements are said for things that are on someone else’s to-do list. As the sermon is being spoken, you can’t help but look around and think, “I don’t feel like I belong here.” You love God. You love people. You want a home church. But the keyword in that is, “home”.
One of the initial human responses we have on this side of the womb is a need to belong.
We have such a deep, deep, deep desire to belong to people. This place of certainty, comfort, and care does exist, even though it can be hard to find, even harder to recognize. It is written in our hearts by the Creator of the universe.
When we’re in between home churches, or have never experienced this source of stable fellowship/community, we experience a unique kind of God-given ache.
There are more shallow yearnings we can have for things. We can feel compelled, maybe even entitled to buy the new decor sets from Target. We can feel like a pouty two-year-old when we see that ad on Instagram of the new eco-friendly perfect eyelash hoopla.
But this ache for people comes from God. It’s deeper. There's more weight to it. But the cool thing about this ache is how it shows us that God created us to be in community: God is His own being inside the entity that is the Trinity. He is three in one, a.k.a, He has a relationship with Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
"The cool thing about this ache is how it shows us that God created us to be in community."
Jesus even says that He and the Father are one. Jesus as the Son of Man relied on the Holy Spirit. He pleaded with the Holy Spirit to be near to His earthly friends after He went to be with His Father. God used the Holy Spirit to show the world that Jesus is His Son whom He loves. God asked Jesus to take the punishment for sin away from humanity.
Do you see the give-and-take thing happening here? It’s real, it’s sacrificial, and it is done in a very consistent, steadfast relationship.
It is completely normal to crave home — and a home with believers. These desires glorify God’s character of unity, steadfast love, and faithfulness. So what does that mean for us who long to be at church? I think we invite God to be apart of this process. I think we examine our hearts and look for the inner deeper hurts or pains that might be getting in the way of seeing clearly. I think we set practical goals for ourselves.
If you’re more introverted, please build the courage go to the welcome table. Let that church know you are there. If you’re more extroverted, maybe talk to a leader, a pastor. Tell them about your church-hopping struggles. Why not? And let us know here how it goes!
We’re rooting for you!
PHOTO BY @cynthmag