Everyone needs a sense of belonging. We want to feel as though we fit in somewhere—that we have a special place in the midst of a particular people. When my oldest granddaughter, Kylie was almost two years old, she came over to “Poppa’s house.” (Poppa—that’s me!) She was standing in front of me with these little red pants on with frilly stuff on the bottom of the legs. I said, “Oh, Kylie, those are so cute.”
She smiled and said, “See my shoes?” She wanted more affirmation. She wanted me to continue to notice HER!
From a very young age we all want to matter and know that we belong. American psychologist, Abraham Maslow defined the need we have to belong. He believed we are social beings with a need to belong to a group, to love others, and to be loved. He further held that if we could not meet our need of belonging, then our need for self-esteem could not be fulfilled.
[bctt tweet=”From a very young age we all want to matter and know that we belong”]
Little children give us a vivid picture of an often-unexpressed need inside of us—even through our adult lives—to belong. Young children unashamedly express this need. They want their parents to give them lots of attention, to watch over their progress toward success and to share their lives.
- “Come see my puzzle—I did it all by myself!”
- “Daddy, look at me. I can ride a bike with no hands.”
- “Mom, look what I made!”
That’s the way God wired us. As we get older we have a tendency to express this desire less and less and eventually—even as believers, sometimes feel as though we don’t have a place where we belong.
You can be assured that you belong because:
- God loves you. Jeremiah 31:3 says, “I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself” (NLT). The Creator of the entire universe loves you. The one who made the oceans, the mountains, the moon and stars loves you! He cares deeply about everything that happens to you in your lifetime. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name (John 1:12 NLT). Anyone who understands this supreme truth will always belong because he knows he has a place reserved in God’s affections.
- You are significant. In a world fascinated with celebrity, power and fortune, it’s sometimes very easy to feel insignificant. Many things deemed “ordinary” by the world’s measure may well be noble in God’s eyes. To understand that we live with purpose gives meaning to each of our lives. We must see our lives as part of a bigger picture. Frankly, outside of God this is very difficult – if not impossible – to achieve, so self-confidence begins with being confident in God.
- Your life has meaning. Figuring out our destiny is hard. Discovering our talents, gifts, abilities and inclinations – all imperative – may be less important than recognizing and operating under the basic assumption that God has a special plan for your life—no matter how young or old you are. Jeremiah 29:11 says: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (NIV1994).
As adults, most of us have found it can be a cold, cruel world that greets us when we step outside our homes. For that reason and countless others, it’s imperative that we find our confidence in our relationship with Christ and in relationships that He directs us to have with others who meet that need to belong – unconditionally.
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Do you believe God loves you and has a plan for your life? We’d love to hear from you. Post your comments below.