Chosen to Belong

Out of all the peoples on the face of the earth, the LORD has chosen you to be his treasured possession. Deuteronomy 14:2

As a teen, I remember frequently walking the halls of high school with my eyes glued to the floor. I guess I felt that if I didn’t make eye contact I could slip into obscurity. If I didn’t see them, they couldn’t see me. Irrational, I know, but you do what you can to protect yourself.

Most of the time, I felt very much alone. I became quite good at hiding my pain, but emptiness followed me. Plagued by the notion that I was somehow not “good enough,” I did the only thing I knew to do:  I strove to be.

But my actions rarely brought about the results I had planned. The people in my life didn’t cooperate with the expectations in my mind, and my heart translated each disappointment and hurt as rejection. Each new wound reinforced these two inner truths that I came to know and recognize with resounding clarity:

  • I must not be worthy of love.
  • I must do my best to earn it.

In an attempt to earn the love and acceptance of those around me, I pursued perfection. I wouldn’t do anything unless I could do it well, and that often left me sitting on the sidelines. Security continued to elude me, and I rarely felt safe in relationships. I often felt as though I would never belong anywhere.

Have you ever struggled over your own sense of belonging? I imagine you have. A common thread appears to weave itself through many tattered lives: the aching wound left by the sting of love withheld.

What’s your story? Perhaps a parent or spouse that doesn’t know how to show love, peers that only offer their friendship when it suits them, or the lingering pain of offering your heart to someone who took it and ran. Regardless of the manner, we’ve all faced the sting of rejection.

Praise God for Romans 1:6, “And you also are among those who are called to belong to Jesus Christ.”

We have been called to belong to the King of Kings!  Jesus desires you. He chooses you. And He will never forsake you. We don’t have to convince Him to love us; He already does.

I discovered later that during those years of loneliness when I was convinced that nobody wanted me, Jesus had been pursuing me. He wanted me. He loved me . . . enough to die for me . . . and for you.

Zephaniah 3:17 offers this wonderful promise, “The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.”

I am so grateful for the day my striving for acceptance came to an end and Jesus quieted me with his love. Nothing particularly significant marked the day. It was simply the day I turned toward Jesus in answer to His call. He asked me to love Him, and I responded with the life-altering realization that I wanted to trust Him with my heart.

From the moment I opened my heart to Him, He began to fill the void cut deep in my core by all those years of rejection. As I sought His Word to discover who He really was, I found a Savior who chose me, loved me, took great delight in me, and accepted me just as I was. I didn’t need to become something I wasn’t to earn His love. He just loved me, in spite of me.

A miraculous thing took place in my life as the striving ceased. The acceptance and love I had sought after for so long was suddenly offered to me without my seeking it! I found myself surrounded by a circle of friends who loved and accepted me, flaws and all.

It wasn’t until later that I even realized what had happened. Jesus’ love had healed the crippled and broken pieces of my heart, making me finally able to receive love. And then, the Giver of all good gifts lavishly gave.

Jesus delights in you. He asks you to delight in Him, and His petition comes with a promise.

Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4

He chooses you to be His. Accept His invitation to belong and discover a love beyond measure. Jesus, dear one, is worth the risk.

 

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