We were created to live in community; to be in deep, significant relationships with others. There is a longing inside all of us to be accepted; to be at home with the people that matter most to us, our family and friends and ultimately at home with the One who created this yearning within us.
There is within all of us a desire to be valued and accepted; to know and be known, to celebrate and be celebrated, to serve and be served and to love and be loved. The Bible says, We love because he first loved us. (1 John 4:19) We are able to enter into meaningful relationships because we all have within in us the capacity for love; this ability to share in loving relationship is for each of us a gift beyond expression.
I grew up in the 70’s; a time when a whole generation was searching for meaning and acceptance. When I was younger I wanted what every kid wants and needs; a sense of being loved and a sense of belonging, from my parents, my family and friends. I wanted to be accepted a school; to belong to a circle of friends. I wanted to be received by my teammates each time a new season began. In every work situation, I wanted the same kind of approval.
For reasons I cannot fully explain, I have spent a good part of my life, searching; struggling at times with my self-esteem, often wondering, why anyone would want to ‘hang out’ with me. It’s something I’m still trying to figure out but I have come to realize just how wonderful life can be when that circle of family and friends is in place.
I have a wife that loves me, three wonderful kids that we have had the joy of watching grow up in a way that fills us with pride and joy. I don’t need to impress them or win them over; home is a place of acceptance and belonging because we’re family.
I have a leadership team around me at Valley; they are part of my circle. They are friends in the Lord who care about me and support and encourage me not just because of what I do as the Pastor at Valley but because we are in that circle together. My Small Group is part of my circle, as well as friends at Valley with whom I worship and serve.
A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity. (Proverbs 17:7)
Life is a wonderful gift; a gift we were meant to share with one another. When the path gets hard, when disappointment threatens to overwhelm us, when we feel let down, rejected and alone, having that circle of friends gives us encouragement, strength and hope. It is a wonderful gift.
But sometimes even those closest to us are not able to provide for the deep longings of our heart; ultimately it is God alone who can satisfy that longing. When we are in a right relationship with Him and have that circle of friends around us, we are indeed richly blessed! Then we can truly say “I feel at home”!
Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. (Psalm 34:7)