Today’s guest in the “Words that changed my world” series is Connie Jakab. I got to know Connie through the Redbud Writers Guild, and she instantly earned mega-cool status in my eyes for combining a passionate faith and community outreach with awesome things like hip-hop dancing! Take it away, Connie!
This word has come to have great meaning to me as of late. I mean, I’ve always valued the word and it’s definition. Who doesn’t want to belong? You could say its one of our deepest felt needs as humans. We long for a place to call home, a place where we find connection.
We are in luck because there is no greater dream God has in His heart than for us to belong, not just to someone, but to something wonderful; something mysterious and great. He longs for us to belong in His family and find our deepest connection and roots there.
What’s beautiful about this is that, yes, we have relationship with the Father, which is what evangelicals have emphasized greatly in the past few decades, however in the past few years there seems to be lights going on all around the globe to the fact that we not only belong to Him, but to one another. He is working on His dream, His church.
His is much greater than just a church program where people can feel “welcome”. He wants to build a home where we make up the bricks that build it. How beautiful (and crazy) of God to hand over this beautiful dream to His family, who He knows will make mistakes with it. He’s not shocked or unprepared when we do. God is clearly not controlling and His desire for us to become this home is something He is unbelievably committed to.
When I think of “belonging” I see a circle with people of all ages, demographics, social standing, and race. A circle with people struggling with all sorts of things such as mental illness to addiction, yet all together in one circle loving on one another, bringing out the best in one another. Sharing Christ, sharing food, pouring into one another, praying for one another, sharing what God was doing in their lives. I see children and youth involved in the circle, not pushed aside, but a part of the family. I see the mentally ill accepted for any blurt outs, the defiant softened, the sick cared for and healed. I see people enter the circle broken and come out restored. I see courage acts for the kingdom come out of that circle and identity confirmed as sons and daughters. I long for this. I long for people to belong in the way God intended.
One of my favorite verses is Psalm 68:4, “He puts the lonely in families”. God’s government is family (Ephesians 1) Our very identity comes from our belief in ourselves and is then confirmed by the community around me. This is a powerful concept: If I believe I’m a loser and my community confirms it with either words or actions then I will probably believe this long term. If I believe I have worth and significance, but the community around me calls me a loser – this will eventually wear down my belief, based on my resilience. But if I believe I have worth and my community affirms it, then there’s no stopping the potential inside. Our words are powerful. Community is powerful. God ordained it this way. He longs for everyone to connect to Him and to one another. He desires to impart His identity to us, and then have us affirm it in one another. What a beautiful picture of His church, His body.
You belong. It’s not about being a part of a group, it’s about being a part of a family; a family He has been planning since the beginning of time. “God is building a home.” – Ephesians 2:20 (The Message)
Connie Jakab is the author of the book, Culture Rebel, released fall 2012. Connie is passionate about rebelling against status quo living and encouraging others to branch out. Connie is an active member of poverty reduction in her city, the founder of WILD (women impacting lives daily) as well as Mpact, a dance company that produces shows based on social justice issues, Connie drives her passion outward into the arms of those wanting something more radical and meaningful in life. Connie is an active speaker and lives with her husband and two boys in Calgary, Alberta Canada. She can be found on twitter @ConnieJakab or on her blog at http://culturerebel.com