This summer has been weird to say the least. I’ve been straddled between my senior year of high school and my freshman year of college. The high school chapter has closed, but the college chapter hasn’t quite opened yet. To be honest, I’ve been floundering. I don’t feel like I have a place, I don’t really know where I belong. It feels like nowhere is “home”.
Thinking about all of this the past few days, I started thinking about what belonging really is. What does it mean to belong somewhere? What does it mean to have a place to fit in and call home?
Home is where you’re comfortable being yourself. It’s where you feel safe and loved. Home is more than a place, it’s a group of people, it’s family, it’s love. The word takes on different forms in different ways. When I think of home, I think of family dinners or sitting around the fireplace playing Monopoly with my brothers and sisters. I also think about Christmas at my Nana’s house with all of my cousins and eating chocolate chip muffins for breakfast. And lastly, I think of tear-filled prayer nights with my youth group when we were all drawn closer to God and to each other in a way that I will never be able to describe.
When I think of belonging, I think of hanging out with my closest friends, being able to act like a little kid and make a complete fool of myself, because they love me anyway. I think of walking into a room and seeing a circle of people where you know you will be welcome and escape the awkwardness of having to stand in the corner by yourself.
But what I’ve been realizing recently is that the question really shouldn’t be “where do I belong?” at least not in an earthly sense. Because Jesus told us time and time again to expect not to belong here on earth, and that finding a place to belong here shouldn’t be the goal anyway!
“If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.” — John 15:19
Jesus has chosen us out of this world and called us to something higher. I love the way Carrie Underwood puts it in her song “Temporary Home” saying, “This is my temporary home, it’s not where I belong, windows and rooms that I’m passing through. This is just a stop on the way to where I’m going, I’m not afraid because I know, this is my temporary home.”
That’s a mentality that I need to cling to far more often that I do. I don’t need to be looking for fulfillment or a place to belong on this earth. This isn’t my home. I need to be focused on living for my eternal destination, living like I’m a resident of Heaven and not of Earth. Jesus taught us to store up treasures in Heaven, where they can’t be destroyed or stolen (Matthew 6:19-20).
“For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come.” — Hebrews 13:14
But what does that look like? What does it look like to live for Heaven? To live as if this world isn’t our home? What would tangibly change in my life if I truly believed that? Two things come to my mind immediately about how my life should look if I’m living for Heaven and not for earth.
1. My Priorities Would Change
I have a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach that if I were to live with Heaven constantly at the front of my mind, some things would lose their importance very quickly. Somehow I know that I wouldn’t be mindlessly scrolling through Instagram as often, and that watching TV would seem pointless. If this world is fleeting (which it is) and Heaven is eternal (which is also true) then the only things that should truly matter here and things that will affect what happens there. People and their souls would take on much higher importance, and anything less would fade quickly into the background.
“Aim at Heaven and you will get earth thrown in, aim at earth and you will get neither.” — C.S. Lewis
2. I Would Live with Hope
Let’s be honest, this world looks pretty bleak a lot of the time. But in the grand scheme of things, this life is a blip on the timeline of eternity. Disappointment and despair here, are nothing compared to the joy and victory and freedom we are going to experience in Heaven. God has promised us abundant, life in Heaven where “death will no longer exist, [and] grief, crying, and pain will exist no longer” (Revelation 21:4). And that should give us hope to keep on waiting patiently for the day when the trumpets will sound and we will be called home. There’s a song by Phil Wickham that says,
“I want to run on greener pastures, I want to dance on higher hills. I want to drink from sweeter waters in the misty morning chill. And my soul is getting restless for the place where I belong, I can’t wait to join the angels and sing my Heaven Song.”
That perfectly mimics my heart. I can’t wait for Heaven and the glory that will be revealed to us there. But until that day comes, I am able to live in joyful anticipation of it. Because this is not where I belong, and that’s okay, I’m so glad that I belong somewhere much better.
“All I know is I’m not home yet, this is not where I belong. Take this world and give me Jesus, this is not where I belong.”