In honor of the first day of classes in 2015, here is an article that I wrote a few years ago and then revised for a class last semester.
I walked into the room that first day and looked around. So many new faces. It was overwhelming. I found a little corner and just sat. Observing. Wondering what on earth I was doing there.
I wanted to belong.
I wanted to be part of the inside joke that the group two rows in front of me were laughing about. I wanted to know who the person was that the girls to my left were discussing. I wanted someone to walk into the room and yell out my name.
But no one knew me.
No one rushed over to sit by me. As I opened my book, and then proceeded to half-fake my way through the day, I kept thinking about belonging. It was something I was desperate for. Something that I had never really given much thought to up until then. At least, not at school.
Because my school consisted of me, my two brothers, and my sister. And when I left the desk in my room that I had done my school on for 12 years and walked into another room filled with desks and strange faces and new-ness, I experienced culture shock. I spent the next few months adjusting to the new culture. The one where your school desk wasn't 3 feet away from your bed. The one where your mom wasn't the Principal.
And the thought of belonging kept coming back to me. Over, and over. And slowly I started to notice something. All of the people in that room were just like me. They wanted to belong.
That girl sitting in the front row? She was picked on in high school for having braces, while all the other girls had straight, white teeth. The guy sitting over by the window? He doesn’t have a coordinated bone in his body, and so never fit in with the athletes at school. The girl who slips in right as class is starting and slips out just as it finishes? She’s a missionary’s kid from Uganda who has no idea how to relate to these people who are complaining because their wifi is slow.
The thing is, we all belong. We may not belong to a clique, or to a certain athletic team, and we may feel like we really don’t belong to any certain country. But we belong to something bigger and better than all the sororities and baseball teams in the world. We belong to the Body of Christ.
The One who created the universe has got your back, and you belong to Him. 1 John 4:4 says, “But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.”
Not only does Jesus have our back, but He chose us. 1 Peter 2:9 “But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.”
He chose you. He wants you. You belong to Him. And that, my friends, is worth more than belonging to all the groups in all the world.