To belong is a choice. A sense of belonging a can be incredibly powerful. I’ve been pondering variations of the word: part, included, involved, seen, heard, in, cliquish, associated with, known by, and others. But I’ve been thinking about it differently as related to how we love and care for ourselves rather than the “need” to belong. In this day 10 post of #write31daysofaffirmation, I consider separation as an act of belonging.
Imagine the freedom of being wholly yourself without fear of rejection or reprisal. Imagine belonging to yourself – owning your life, your choices, your purpose, and your vision. That kind of belonging cannot be manufactured. It cannot be copied or dictated. There is something about belonging solely to yourself that allows you to fully “be.” I think about all the ways we live fractured lives trying to fit in here, there, or anywhere. We push hard to be accepted and noticed, often to the detriment of our own growth and development.
Aside from the political, polarizing atmosphere, there are several things to which I must choose not to belong to. A separating of myself from the noise is required if I’m to live, love, work, and serve from a healthy place. Enter the need for me to acknowledge my own belonging boundaries – where I end and begin. I’m responsible for taking care of myself and that includes spirit, mind, and body. I’ve gotten really good at the physical aspects of self-care like walking and general exercise, but I realize more than ever the need for spiritual and mental health. Part of it means I need to be intentional about how I engage people, ideas, events, and such. It means not buying into the noisy demands around me.
Tonight I affirm I have the choice not to belong to ideologies, actions, groups, work, people, or things that harm wholeness, hope, life, and peace in myself and others. I could write a longer list, but I’ll spare you. The point is that there are things I simply need to walk away from, leave alone, or cut ties to because I do not need to belong to them nor do they need to belong to me. And maybe that’s just part of living out what it means in Proverbs 4:23 to “guard your heart.” Maybe that’s the harder but worth it part of living free – choosing what is or is not good for us.I have the choice not to belong to ideologies, actions, groups, work, people, or things that… Click To Tweet
I am what I allow. I am what I consume. I am most like who or what I’m most associated. I am what I belong to, and that is rather heavy to think about; however there is grace for the process too. I have the choice to belong or not to belong. My sense of value and personhood are not and should not be hinged upon your acceptance or rejection of me. I must (and choose to) love, accept, and belong to myself first. When I do that, then I am capable of doing the same for others. I’m also able to know when I’ve been trespassed. There is a wellspring of life in each of us, but what happens if we allow negative, unwholesome, putrid, and destructive things into our hearts and minds? What if we are not our own filter? What if we succumb to the lie that we must accept and tolerate things because “that’s just the way it is?” Then belonging is no longer fruitful but rather dangerous unproductive. I don’t know about you, but I want to be a part of those things that affirm good, true, noble, right, and praiseworthy things.
Friends, let’s get choosy about what we let into our lives. Let’s look at what we belong to and consider the impact and fruit of that belonging. Are we leaving from that belonging changed for the better and impact positive change in others, or are we going down a pathway that is unhealthy? These are things I’ve been pondering over the last twelve months. Because I want to grow deeper in my faith and relationships with others, I know I have some work to do, but there is grace for that. There is grace for you too.
Be encouraged, friends. There is a place where we each belong, but maybe that comes once we choose ourselves, love ourselves, and get gut-level honest about what it means to be our own persons among the crowds. To belong is a choice. What will you choose?
This is day 10 of my 31 Days of Affirmation. In this series I’ll affirm hope, faith, truth, and encouragement even when life is troubling. Particularly the series ponders what it means to hold on to those things that are good, right, noble, honorable, true, and lovely even when life isn’t so pretty. This means, at least for me, I need to engage and practice and activate my faith as I believe it bolsters my hope. I do this by affirming truth even in the storm. You can read all the series post here. I hope you’ll be encouraged.