From Belonging to Becoming

This year in Alliance Women we have chosen to reflect on the concept of belonging. The deep-seated human need to belong is universal, poignantly illustrated in this passage from Other Words for Home by Jasmine Warga.

Sarah is never by herself at school. Whenever I see her, she is surrounded by friends who follow her around like the sea hugs the shore, drifting in and out, but always coming back. We have the same lunch break, but she never invites me to sit at her table, which is in the back of the cafeteria, by the windows. I tell myself that she doesn’t invite me because there isn’t any space, but then one day, I notice there is an empty seat at the very end of the table. I hold my breath when I see Sarah walking in my direction . . . My whole body rings with anticipation as I wait for Sarah’s invitation. But it doesn’t come. She and her friends walk right past me up to the counter where they each purchase a cookie . . . I get up from the table where I have been sitting by myself and run to the bathroom, where I hide in a stall, and sob and wonder if this lonely ache inside of me will ever go away.

Jasmine’s painful feelings of rejection lie in stark contrast to the good news I discover in reading the New Testament—I have been chosen, adopted, invited into God’s family. I belong! I have a seat at His table. And it feels good.

But I soon discover that belonging isn’t the end goal in His Kingdom. I find myself agreeing with my brothers and sisters at the table, who are accepting the Father’s invitation to extricate ourselves from strongly identifying with our earthly cultures of origin to adopting the mores of His Kingdom culture. We are on the messy journey of attaining a new identity in Him. Our mindset has shifted from belonging to becoming more Christlike.

The process of becoming like Christ can be confounding because it is unfamiliar. The pace can be frustrating because it is slow and incremental. But we are reminded that we are on a beautiful, transformative journey initiated and empowered by His perfect love and grace.

Have you accepted the beautiful invitation to belong? Jesus, our host, has chosen you for His table. Come, take your seat. You don’t have to fight to win a spot. He is our Beautiful Savior whose own messy, painful journey fulfilled the Father’s perfect will—earning Him an honored seat at the right hand of the Father.

Are you willing to embrace the beautiful mess of less-than-perfect people on the extra-grace-required process of transformation? Let’s see what God has for us on our “belonging and becoming” journey.