Belonging – it’s not something you really think about and yet it is the one issue the human heart wrestles with daily. My whole life, I was always trying to belong to something or to someone. To belong somewhere is a very powerful thing. It gives you purpose and identity, it drives you forward and gives you a sense of being part of something bigger than you are.
Positioned for purpose
Before I met Jesus, I had lived through consecutive traumas and had been in counselling for years and years and was really messed up. The urgency that resulted from that was to find somewhere that I belonged, somewhere where people accepted and loved me for who I was. So I searched for that place, a place to call home far away from the place that I experienced the traumas. While on a holiday in 2009, I found ‘my place’ in Greece on a turtle conservation project. Suddenly I belonged somewhere, I fitted in, I was loved, accepted, welcomed, wanted. So I put everything into being where I was, I threw my heart and soul into ‘saving the sea turtles.’ Being part of this amazing place and people fuelled and fulfilled that inner longing to belong. But it wasn’t enough and it never would be.
Four years later, in 2012 during one of the interim periods between nesting seasons, I was walking down the road to Carrick when that old familiar longing ached in my heart.
“There’s got to be more to life than this! I was born for more than this!”
A place to call home
That inner longing for eternity gripped me. It immobilised me. I couldn’t move forward but I couldn’t look back. I longed for a place to call home, I just didn’t know what home was. I drank a lot, smoked a lot, leaned too heavily on drugs and narcotics, I needed the approval of others and the acceptance and validation of the people around me. I was addicted to many things that were choking me in shame, condemnation and guilt. I had weaved a web of deceit around my life and was held captive to the consequences of my own choices. I didn’t realise at the time that entrapment was called ‘sin.’ I didn’t even acknowledge that sin was a real thing. I just thought it was a ‘theory’ that gave religious people some sort or moral high ground over people who walked in what I termed as ‘freedom.’ Inside I was screaming, completely tormented, torn between two lives. Over-shadowed by the desires of the world, my spirit craved for something that I couldn’t put my finger on. Like a malnourished child I cried out for nutrition beyond what I could understand, my inward disease was externally manifesting and affecting every area of my life.
The upward call of Eternity
I responded to the call of eternity on the 12th of April 2012 at 11am. Suddenly the war raging inside my heart was stopped with a still small voice from Heaven. I remember the first time I read this scripture, “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart” (Ecclesiastes 3:11), it was like the words jumped off the page and rocked me to my core! Suddenly I saw that my pain had a purpose, my suffering and trauma had a message! God reached down from Heaven and made my mess of a life so utterly beautiful just by breathing eternity into my heart. Thats why I could never stay where I was, thats why I was never satisfied and always longed for something more than what I’d settled for! Inside each and every human heart God has set a deep and unquenchable longing for eternal life.
Someone has to foot the bill
Sin is like going into a five star restaurant and indulging in every single item on the menu until you are sick. The only issue is, you are bankrupt, you cant foot the bill.
I was completely blinded to the reality of sin. Not only could I not acknowledge it as a real thing but I completely indulged in it, purposely going beyond the boundaries of my own curiosity, I always strived for more. The further I went the darker I became. I encouraged my friends to do things, take part in things that they never should have done. I thought what I was doing was fun, you only live once, live it to the full! But what seemed fun was fatal. The impact of sin was corroding my soul like a disease that was completely out of control. There seemed to be no escape, I just kept going deeper and deeper into the darkness, unaware that I was even lost, unaware that there was a name for my disease let alone a cure. And then I met Jesus.
Finding the heartbeat of Heaven
Imagine the world as one big orphanage.A whole generation of people with no connection to their true family. They are without an identity, an inheritance or place to call home. They have no sense of belonging to anyone, no validation or acceptance from the people who have lived before them, nothing. They are wandering through life striving to meet these needs through whatever crosses their path that feels good.
“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” (John 14:8). Jesus came to earth with one purpose: to gather the orphaned sons and daughters of God. When you are living your life without the redemption of grace, you are eternally separated from your Father in Heaven. God is holy, He cannot look upon sin. So, unable to bear the thought of being eternally separated from you, He gave His only Son to pay the price for you. “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ” (Romans 6:23). When you accept the gift of salvation through the atonement of Jesus, you are born again into the family of Heaven.
“Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone. It’s in Christ that you, once you heard the truth and believed it (this Message of your salvation), found yourselves home free—signed, sealed, and delivered by the Holy Spirit.”Ephesians 1:4-6, 11-14 MSG
You are called to belong to Jesus
In June 2015, I went on a solo road trip around Ireland. I met so many incredible people and seen some of the most beautiful places i’d ever been too. But the most significant moment of the trip was one morning when I woke up in my tent to the sounds of birds singing outside, I was so happy, so free! I picked up my Bible, grabbed an apple and wiggled my way through the door in my sleeping bag to lie on the grass. I decided to read the book of Romans which I had read countless times before, but I missed it… There hidden in Romans 1:6 were nine little words that changed my life and walk with God forever…
“Including you who are called to belong to Jesus”Romans 1:6 ESV
I thought my heart was going to burst. You see, HEAVEN WOULDN’T BE COMPLETE WITHOUT YOU!
Jesus humbled Himself into the form of His own creation so that through Him you can be welcomed into the family of God and into the arms of your Father. “You received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” (Ephesians 8:15)
You are INCLUDED. You are called to BELONG to Jesus. You are IMPORTANT, you are WANTED, you are LOVED, you are counted into the biggest family of all time. YOU ARE NOT CALLED TO BE AN ORPHAN, YOU ARE CALLED TO BE A CHILD OF GOD.
Responding to the call
Jesus is the answer to every over indulgence that the world can ever give you.
He can break the bondage that sin has kept you in, He can liberate you from your past, transform your present and revolutionise the path and purpose for your future. There is no sin that He can’t forgive, no wound He can’t heal, no trauma He can’t release you from.
‘Jesus is the way, and the truth and the life, no man comes to the Father except through Him.’(Paraphrased from John 14:6) There is only one way into the family of God and His name is Jesus.
“If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10:9.