I recently read Brene Brown’s book, Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone after a multitude of my peers recommended me to do so. Her book addresses the struggle for us to find a place to belong in our American culture that is becoming increasingly polarized. She uses experiences of her own life and years of research to discuss ways we can work through belonging to ourselves and ultimately finding ways to belong.
The entire time I read the book, I felt a rub. There was something about what she was saying that was incongruent with an understanding within me. She offered many practical tips and ways for us to learn to belong to ourselves, to overcome dehumanization, and to invite others into a community. For weeks after reading her book, I wrestled with what was bugging me. It finally hit me one day after listening to multiple people in spiritual direction speak of the gift of their relationship with God. It was then that I realized that her premise that we belong nowhere was in stark contrast to what our faith teaches us. We always belong to someone. We belong to God!
Like much of the good news of our faith, I think this is a promise of God that we often forget as our society becomes more and more isolated.
The promise of this good news can be found in scriptures such as:
- Jeremiah 32:38:“They shall be my people, and I will be their God.”
- Isaiah 43:1:“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name: you are mine.”
- Ezekiel 16:60:“But I will remember the covenant I made with you when you were young; I will set up an everlasting covenant with you.”
Each of these scriptures echo the promise that we belong to God who has called us by name and made an everlasting covenant with us.
In Matthew’s Gospel (Mt 12:46-50) we see Jesus affirming this promise when he is speaking and told his mother and brothers wish to speak to him. Jesus’ reply is:
But he said in reply to the one who told him, “Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?” And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my heavenly Father is my brother, and sister, and mother.”
As a follower of Jesus, we are promised a place to belong and a relationship that secures this gift of never being alone and always belonging somewhere. As it says in Corinthians, “All belong to you,and you to Christ, and Christ to God.” ( 1 Corinthians 3: 23)
As we talked about in the last few weeks in our series, the gift of a relationship with God is that we are never alone, we are unconditionally loved, and we are intimately seen. We are given rest by one who knows us and understands us deeply.
How would your life change if you accepted the promise of God that you always belong to God?