“Do I Belong?” (Belonging Part 2)
Last week, we introduced #4 of the TOP10 Dumbest Reasons to Date: Belonging.
Though the desire to belong is natural and necessary, I ended last week’s post with this statement: Belonging is something you only feel when you believe it. This week I want to unpack that.
Logic would tell you that people who are alone feel alone and people who are not alone do not. Those who don’t have friends feel friendless and those who have friends feel… ah… friendful?
Curiously feelings quite often defy logic.
Some folks without a friend in the world seem to dash through life oblivious to their social condition, like the Lone Ranger (but without Johnny Depp). Whether due to a natural introverted personality or a subconscious emotional suppression, they just don’t seem to feel lonely. They aren’t sitting around waiting to be chosen.
In contrast, we can all recall stories where the guy who leads the varsity team, makes straight-As, and dates the head cheerleader –suddenly – takes his own life. Was he not adored (and even envied) by everyone at school – everyone in town? Did he not belong?
Yes he did, but he didn’t believe it and so he didn’t feel it. Even though he was chosen by the team, his teachers and the prettiest girl in school, it wasn’t enough. He still felt alone.
The sad truth is many, many married people feel desperately lonely. At one point, two lonely people choose one another. They say those precious words of abandon: I do. From that day forward, they brush their teeth every morning, share dinner every evening and go to bed every night with the person who chose them. They even make love sometimes. They never have to worry about finding a date for a party or a wedding. And they post photos to Facebook with their own smiling faces eclipsed only by the smiling faces of their adorable children.
But still they feel alone.
If you don’t want this to be you, please don’t date to belong.
In fact, if you want to confidently navigate the uncertain seas of modern dating, you need to KNOW you already do belong. Before you are chosen by some “significant other,” you need to know that you are already significant and secure in healthy familial and friendly relationships where you do belong.
When you can date with that confidence, you can maintain a more sober life balance when love is blooming and weather rejection more smoothly when it’s not.
What if you lack that confidence? How do you get to that place of belonging? I have some ideas I pray will help you get there, but in the meantime you need to know something. You who long to belong – you already do. You who desire to be chosen – you already have been.
Jesus himself said, “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.” – John 15:16
Until you can believe these words of Jesus; until you truly believe you have been chosen by – and therefore belong to – a God who would give His life for you (and did), you likely won’t ever feel like you belong anywhere else.
Why? Because there’s no one else in this universe to whom you could ever expect to belong to more than the one who made you for Himself, and gave Himself for you.
Still not convinced? Tune in next week for some practical suggestions for anchoring your identity securely before dating. In the meantime, here are some questions to help you do a little soul searching.
- Family: Are you secure in your family relationships? Which relationships are strong and which are weak?
- Friends: Are you secure in your important friendships? Do you have any close friends? What is the evidence of the depth of that intimacy? How long have you known them?
- Community: Do you feel at ease at school, work, church and the mall or do you feel self conscious? What about when you enter a new social environment?
- God: Do you truly believe you have been chosen by God? What would it take to change your belief?
DNA: It’s What’s For Dating
The LoveEd study guide series, Beyond Sex & Salvation, will help you grow in the truth that you were chosen by and belong to God. Check out the first two study 8-lesson study guides in our store. Then put together an FMU LoveEd small group study with same-gender friends and grow in community together. That’s a healthy way to belong.
image source: flickr.com/photos/deanaia