The desire to belong is natural. If we’re honest with ourselves, who doesn’t want to be accepted and valued by others? Who doesn’t want to have a confident, unwavering assurance that her life holds some meaningful purpose; that she has something valuable to contribute towards achieving some good in this world where so much evil and suffering prevail?
To satisfy this innate propensity for acceptance, some seek for someone or something to validate them, to make them feel important. Generally, the people or activities that make us feel most valued become our focus and sometimes the driving force(s) in our life. For different people, that can mean different outcomes, ranging from the innocuous to the destructive, and even to the diabolical. But whether we look to people or things to meet our needs, neither are 100% foolproof.
One of the greatest challenges we have in our hectic, noisy, tech-driven lives is being still and silent long enough to listen to ourselves and figure out what we’re lacking most. Making a commitment to shut out the world with its many distractions and make ourselves vulnerable to feelings of pain, fear, grief, anger, loneliness, shame, and/or regret can be quite the sacrifice. However, when we make a conscious, persistent effort to seek out and connect with the One who created us for his service and who himself longs for an opportunity to relate with us on a personal level, we will eventually be rewarded with unparalleled peace, joy, and unconditional acceptance. And within the confines of that supernatural relationship, we can gain a better understanding of who we are and how our God-given talents can be used to the benefit of others and to the delight of our Maker.
Perhaps as we look to improving our quality of life and the lives of others around us this new year, we might consider surrendering a little more of ourselves to God and opening the doors a little wider to allow him entry on a more regular basis, not just when it’s most convenient for us and not merely in times of uncertainty, tragedy or distress. This could prove to be a formidable challenge for some, but I’d be interested in hearing the results from those who dare to take it up!