I don’t know if you have ever thought about it, but the truth is that everybody wants to be somebody. There are people who will read that last sentence and scoff, but the reality is everybody wants to be somebody. Everybody wants to belong. Everybody wants to feel like they are a part of something. Everybody wants to fit in.
You can see this reality playing out by the way people present themselves. Some people are cowboys, while some are preps. Some people are hipsters while others are goth. Some people are gamers, while others are stoners. Everybody wants to be somebody, and everybody has a desire to fit in, to belong.
If you are the kind of person whose immediate reaction is, “Not me,” “I don’t really care if I fit in,” or “Belonging is overrated,” then just stay with me on this. I understand the impulse to push back because saying you want to be included feels needy. Don’t let your feelings mislead you. Belonging isn’t needy. It’s necessary. You and I were hardwired to fit in and to belong. The problem is that many of us have spent too much time trying to fit in and belong to the wrong groups. We weren’t designed by God to fit into broken, sin-stricken, worldly groups. As a matter of fact, when we enter into a relationship with God through Jesus, he changes the shape of our souls. We suddenly become square pegs trying to fit in a round hole. I think that is why we get so exhausted trying to blend into the culture around us.
So, where do we fit? Where can we find community and connection as followers of Jesus? We find it with other believers. Others who have been called out by God are our people. In this gathering, commonly referred to as the church, we should find people who accept us, love us, encourage us, correct us and welcome us. If you have tried going to a church building to find this type of connection only to be shunned or treated as an outsider, I am sorry. All too often, the tentacles of the institution choke out the true purpose of the church, and people get wounded deeply.
The church, as Jesus established it, is a gathering where the uniqueness of the individual is an asset to the ministry. Each person brings a different gift, talent, and energy. Each person contributes to the propagation of the gospel in his or her own way. The thing that binds us together is Jesus, and the thing that makes his church beautiful is her diversity.
There is one body, but it has many parts. But all its many parts make up one body. It is the same with Christ. We were all baptized by one Holy Spirit. And so we are formed into one body. It didn’t matter whether we were Jews or Gentiles, slaves or free people. We were all given the same Spirit to drink. So the body is not made up of just one part. It has many parts.
— 1 Corinthians 12:12–14
So, stop resisting your God-given desire to belong. Jump in. Reach out. Serve passionately. Give generously. Applaud the contributions of others.