Two girls holding hands

@JeanneTakenaka

For much of my life, I’ve tried to belong . . . somewhere. There was this deeper fear, that when it came down to it, I wouldn’t belong anywhere. So, I attempted to fit in everywhere . . . the popular group in high school, the swim team, various clubs, the “little sisters” of a fraternity in college, the choir for Sunday services. The singer-types on the worship team as a new wife.

But I couldn’t find my fit. I would reach out, but others wouldn’t reach back. And it only stepped on my childhood rejection wound.

Three ducks—two standing together and one looking like it's left out

In my mid-thirties, as I hit yet another blockade in the friendship-building/belonging department, I finally heard the words God was trying to speak through my thick skull.

“Be still and know that I am God. 

Be still and seek Me to know your identity, for belonging.

Let Me be enough for you.”

A bench sitting near a paving stone walkway with fall colors in the background

Those were some of the hardest words He’s spoken to me. I had allowed the fear of rejection—and the fear that I couldn’t connect with anyone—to drive me to try so hard to connect with everyone that I left no room to authentically connect with my Father.

I look back now and see that those places were not where I belonged. God had a perfect-for-me place, but I had to stop trying to make belonging happen on my own and start being still, trusting Him.

In time, as I learned to yield this craving to the Lord, He ministered to the broken places in my heart. He began healing a decades-old wound that still festered. 

Two giraffes standing close together

And, in time, He brought me deep friendships. Not lots, but a few women who are safe places for my heart. They accept me as I am, even with my insecurities. They love me and laugh with me and shared of themselves with me. 

God brought me to a place where I belonged.

One thing Kristen Strong said in a blog post I read recently was that, as much as we need to know where we belong, we also need to know where we don’t belong. 

Meme that says: "Our Father has created places where we can unload the pretenses and be genuine." with a backdrop of mosaic steps leading up to an arched entryway

Let’s face it…we can’t belong everywhere. We’re not God. But, He crafts unique relationships for each of his children. Our Father has created places where we can unload the pretenses and be genuine.

He has people in whom we can confide our deepest hurts, our fears, our secret dreams, and know that these things are safe with them. 

And, when my insecurities try to rise up and call me not enough, I need to evaluate from where they’re feeding. Sometimes, I begin to feel envious that I don’t belong in a group where a friend fits. 

Two cups of coffee with two different hands holding the handles

Belonging begins with understanding that we are God’s kids. We belong to Him as children to their parents. When we ignore this foundational relationship, no other relationship can contain the depth and the trust of genuine authenticity.

When we believe our Father’s words—that He loves and accepts us—a foundation is laid that enables us to connect with others with more peace. We stop striving and trying to force relationships, and we allow Him to guide us to the people He’s prepared for us.

Fall-colored flowers on a bush where there are flowers in all phases of growing, from bud to dead

God is showing me that when my insecurities crop up, it’s probably because I’m striving to belong somewhere He hasn’t prepared for me. I have to confess my striving—even my envy—to Him, and yield my heart to His good plans. It’s not always easy, but it’s always the better way.

God knows where each of our belonging places are. When we trust Him to lead us to those people, and to fully enter into relationship, we will find contentment where He places us. 

What about you? How have you navigated the struggle of wanting to belong? What has God taught you about this tender topic?

Click to Tweet: I had to stop trying to make belonging happen on my own and start being still, trusting Him

I’m linking up with #TellHisStory and #RaRaLinkup

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