December 22, 2014

CHRISTLife — Thirty: Belonging

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Picture this scene:

Years ago while walking down the hallway of the school where I was teaching, I came face-to-face with an eighth grade student who had transferred out of my class the previous quarter.  Curious about her transfer, I stopped her and the conversation went like this:
“Why did you transfer out of my class?”  She replied: “I don’t like you!
After years of teaching, I wasn’t naïve enough to think that every teenager in my class was madly in love with me.  However, no one had ever point-blank told me so to my face.  A glutton for punishment, I pressed her for more information. “What is it that you don’t like about me?”
Placing her hands on her hips, swerving them from side to side and rolling her big eyes at me, she bluntly said, “Lady, there ain’t nothing about you that I do like!
Whoa! It wouldn’t do for me to repeat what I wanted to say and do to this fourteen-year-old.  Let’s just say, if I had carried through, I would have been put behind prison bars for assaulting a child.  So, I just mustered up a fake smile to her, and continued on my way.  As I walked on down the hall to my next class, my thoughts flashed back to an encounter I had with myself a few years earlier.  Alone in my bedroom one cold and rainy night, I had gazed into the mirror on the wall and uttered the exact same words that this fourteen-year-old had so bluntly spoken to me: “I don’t like you,” and I also admitted for the first time in my life: “I have no idea who I am.”

After my encounter with myself in the mirror, and what was fast becoming my bottomless pit of despair, it was as though the Holy Spirit took me by the hand and we began to travel down a muddy road that I had traveled for years.  As I retraced my tracks along that road, I viewed people whom I had allowed to mold and shape me into their image.

Being a “don’t rock the boat” kind of person with a low-key personality, I had avoided conflict at all extremes.  In doing so, I became a yo-yo on a string, bobbling up and down, trying to keep peace and harmony, albeit a false harmony. People Pleaser—that was my addiction.

Talk about having no sense of belonging, that was me.  How well I can relate to what Mrs. Myers says we do on the human level to achieve a sense of belonging:

“…we base our feelings of belongingness on our ability to attract love and approval and inclusion. Since both we and other people are imperfect and changeable, human relationships fail to fully meet our need for inner support.” (page 127)

New Sense of Belonging:  I believe the Holy Spirit took me down that muddy road to view ways I had gotten off the right path and then He gave me a new direction.  I began to travel on a new ‘Road of Identity’—one that gave me purpose in life.  In our chapter today, Mrs. Myers describes it so well.

  • “In God we have a belongingness based on eternal, unconditional love that accepts us without regard for our merits or demerits.”
  • “…In Christ we never have to view ourselves as deficient or as outsiders, or as inferior to those who see themselves as exclusive or elite.”
  • Christ is in us. (Colossians 1:27)
  • We are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s. (1 Corinthians 3:23)
  • ‘Through the blood of Christ,’ we are now ‘inside the circle of God’s love.’ (Ephesians 2:13)
  • We ‘belong in God’s household with every other Christian.’ (Ephesians 2:19)
  • Each of us is a full member of ‘the Church of the Firstborn, whose names are written in heaven.’ (Hebrews 12:23)

It reminds me of an old hymn of the church…
Now I belong to Jesus,
Jesus belongs to me.
Not for the years of time alone,
But for eternity.

Let’s pray:  Father God, Your Word says: “You are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light” (I Peter 2:9 NIV).  Thank You, Lord, for choosing us as Your own.  Help us to look only to You for belonging…not anyone else.  In Jesus’ name, we pray.  Amen.

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About Martha Bush

Martha Bush — Blog Contributor
Martha has been married to her amazing husband for 46 years. Together they have two grown daughters, and three grandchildren, of whom she is very proud of! She lives in Orange, Texas. Martha has been involved in ministry with her church for 20 years. Some of her favorite hobbies include reading, walking, and playing with her grandchildren.

Comments

  1. martha, thank you for sharing your heart and this story of the ‘muddy road’ you traveled AND the new ‘Road of Identity’ that God put you on! it is so true that God’s path is one that gives us purpose in life! <3

  2. Martha, what a beautiful testimony. Thank you for sharing and encouraging us with that example today. So much truth in the Scriptures to hang on to!

  3. He is enough. He is all. Whether self doubt or too much pride, we need to remember we depend on Him and count on Him.

  4. Martha Bush says:

    So true, Teresa. Different things cause us to look the other way instead of counting on Him. I always appreciate your comments.

  5. I still wanna slap that little brat that said that to you! No doubt she had her own inner struggles to deal with. Thankful that God shows us how to be God-pleasers rather than man-pleasers.

    • You know, I have often thought of that young 14 year old girl. As a matter of fact, she had been in a Christian school, and was asked to leave because of her behavior, so that is why she was in public school. But, I have thought of her over the years and wondered whatever happened to her since she is not an adult herself. Perhaps, I was so stunned that I failed to witness the love of Jesus to her. I pray someone has over the years, because, as you said, obviously she had inner struggles to deal with. I am glad you mentioned her.

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