Do you ever feel like you’re standing outside of someone else’s ‘club’, looking in? Like you don’t really belong, no matter how hard you try?
I think we’ve all felt this way at some point in our lives, whether it’s a sporting team we haven’t made the cut for, a family where we’re the ‘black sheep’, a workplace in which everyone seems to ‘get’ the status quo but you… or a party where we don’t know anyone.
The feeling of belonging, acceptance, and security in the context of a loving community is something we all crave. But it can seem elusive sometimes.
Our family should be the most secure social connection, yet so often there is heartache and brokenness within it.
More people feel disconnected within their existing social circles than we’d care to realise.
The problem with any group of people is the people themselves. Inevitably there will be some who wield more ‘power’ than others in any group context. There’s usually at least one prominent leader or decision-maker the majority look to for acceptance and guidance. If this leader doesn’t exercise their authority well, it can lead to resentment and splintering.
The church can be a minefield of political manoeuvres and corruption too. After all, it’s run by flawed human beings. But shouldn’t this be a place of true ‘family’ – a haven people come to for acceptance and forgiveness, grace and freedom? It sometimes is. But even then, the cracks of humanity will start to show somehow. We have our own share of cracks don’t we?
Wider than the church, however, is a heavenly family we’re born into when we become Christians. We’re welcomed into the family of God. Our status changes because of what Jesus did on the cross for us.
John 1:12 says you are now God’s child. John 15:15 says you are Christ’s friend. 1 Corinthians 6:17 says you are united with the Lord, and one with Him in spirit. 1 Corinthians 12:27 says you are a member of Christ’s body. Ephesians 1:3-8 says you are chosen by God and adopted as His child. Philippians 3:20 says you are a citizen of heaven. 1 John 5:18 says you are born of God and the evil one cannot touch you. John 15:5 says you are a branch of Jesus Christ, and a channel of His life.
As Christians we are actually taking on a new identity as Christ works in us and on us. And we’re accepted into a family that will last into eternity. Even if our church group or biological family mistreats us, we’re adopted by a God who’ll never let us down and will always look after our needs. God won’t play power games or reject us for any reason once we’re his. He is our always-loving, gracious Lord and Saviour who protects us and guides us through life’s ups and downs.
We will no doubt engage in many teams/ groups/ villages/ communities in the space of our life. But ultimately we’re on the journey ‘home’, where God is preparing a place for us. Let’s keep our eyes fixed on that promise, no matter how good – or bad – our life circumstances are. And don’t give up on your church if you are having problems. Either be part of the process of change – or find somewhere God can really use you to love and welcome others in.
“My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? (John 14:2)
Amen – That’s where we belong – seated in heavenly places in Christ Jesus – Love your sketch of our identity in Christ. So encouraging!
Yes! So thankful for our true home that awaits 🙂 Thanks Ben! I’m glad 🙂
Thank you for this, Ali. I’ve struggled a lot in the past with feeling like an “outsider”. I’ve come to realize that, ultimately, it doesn’t matter what other people might say or do. What matters is who God tells us we are, and He tells us we are His children, His friends, treasured in His eyes. ❤ God bless!
That’s a really great realisation Christy, and well said. We can spend our whole lives striving to satisfy others’ expectations and ‘fit in’, but our identity is so much bigger than the social group we’re part of. So great that God gives us our true identity, and everything else flows from that 🙂
You really have a way of bringing us His message, Ali–this rocks! I’m grateful God knows that we are ALL broken in some way, and He makes a place for us–both to receive, and to shine for Him. I’m glad for the blogs–it serves as both family and church for me. God bless you BIG–love Caddo
Aww thank you Caddo, I’m glad it was thought-provoking – and that’s so true. So thankful he makes a place for all us broken pieces, and will one day put us all back together completely. Yes, we do have a wonderful community here 🙂
This is a wonderful message. I often feel like an outsider, mostly because I’m more of an introvert and it takes me a long time to talk to people and feel like I sort of fit in. It’s good to remember that even when the church is flawed, God’s promise is not.
Thanks Janna. Yes, it can take time can’t it, when you’re less forward in initiating friendship. I’ve always veered towards more bubbly people than I, who draw me into conversation. So true – God will come through when people don’t.
Saw you over on ColorStorms blog. This was great what you said about being accepted as part of God’s family even if all the other “families” let you down. Very encouraging, thank you for it.
Thanks Wally. I’m glad it was encouraging.
God’s family is truly like no other. Full of flawed people, but fathered by someone truly flawless…
God bless and thanks for saying hi.