To belong is to be accepted. To belong is to feel secure. Without belonging, we are alone. As humans, our greatest desire is to know and be known, to love and be loved and to feel confident that those who know and love us will be there for us through joy and trouble.
In this blog series, the Beauty of Belonging, we discuss three aspects of belonging: belonging to ourselves, each other and God. This blog post will focus on what it means to belong to God.
The Desire for Connection
Relationships are the most important part of life. We all desire to be connected to others. The greatest joy a human can feel is the joy of being securely connected or attached to others. The greatest type of pain a human can feel is relational pain, which is experienced through loss, rejection and loneliness.
The human brain is actually more concerned with who our connections are than it is with who we are as an individual. It is not that individual identity is not important, because it definitely is. The point is that belonging to our people is even more important. We all need a place to belong, and the greatest joy in life is to feel the safety and security of this type of connection.
Relationship with God
So what does this mean about our relationship with God? God is not human, but he is a relational being. The Bible says that as humans, we are made in his image. It is evident through scripture and through the experience of countless people that God is very interested to have relationships with us. In the scripture, he often calls those who choose relationship with Him his “people” or his “children”. Take the following verses for examples:
Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are His;
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name;
you are Mine.
Even though we may have known God or walked with God for a long time, we may not feel close to him. Many people know about God, but don’t feel known or know God in a personal and intimate way. Experiencing God with the emotional right brain and not just the logical left brain opens the door to a life-giving and joyful connected and reciprocal relationship. When this type of relationship is formed, it is truly transformational.
The Transforming Power of Connection
In fact, this relationship, more than any other has the power to transform. The reason for this is that God is perfect, and he is always present. This is not true of others. Even the most faithful spouse or the most well intentioned friend, will sometimes fail, disappoint or be unavailable to us. The truth about God is that he is the most secure connection we can possibly have. That does not mean we don’t need human relationship, but human connection without a lifeline to God will cause us to put too much reliance on others. We will expect our family and friends to be something for us that they can never be…because they weren’t meant to fulfill this role. There is truly a void in all of us if we don’t have this spiritual bond.
When we interact with God, we stimulate the cingulate cortex portion of our brains. It is in this experience that we can feel known and understood, and then we can recognize that we are not alone. This is how our joyful bond with God grows, and we become secure in our identity in Him. If we truly understand the character of God, that he is good, always available for connection and truly wants to be with us, we will be comforted in our grieving. We will also be hopeful no matter the circumstance and peaceful in all situations.
So, to belong to God is to feel at home. To belong to God is to feel safe and secure. Trust and connection are felt more deeply in this relationship than any other. It makes sense that our Creator would know what we need and be able to offer it. The joy of knowing you are loved and accepted just as you are, and you are enjoyed just because you exist, is not only restorative but also transformative.
At the Center for Family Transformation, we offer various forms of therapy and psycho-education to help individuals connect spiritually. All of the therapists at CFT have an intentional and authentic relationship with God, yet we see clients from all spiritual perspectives. We are happy to bring a spiritual connection into the therapeutic experience according the each client’s individual preference. This type of therapy is led by the client’s desire and intentionality. Our therapists give space for each client to discover spiritual connection in their own time and their own way.
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. Good News Publishers, 2016.
Wilder, Dr. Jim. Joy Starts Here. Shepherds House, 2013.
Wilder, Dr. Jim. Living from the Heart Jesus Gave You. Shepherds House, 2013.