I have been reading and listening to Brene Brown recently and it’s really good stuff. Check out her Ted talks and her book Daring Greatly. In her book she talks about the difference between belonging and fitting in.
She defines them as:
Belonging – the innate human desire to be part of something larger than us
Fitting in – assessing a situation and becoming who you need to be in order to be accepted
The fundamental difference is that “belonging doesn’t require us to change who we are; it requires us to be who we are.”
This made me think about our churches. Way to often we are asking people to fit in instead of belong. Jesus never tried to make anyone fit in, but he sure worked hard to have them feel like they belonged. What about us? What message do we send to people outside the church, but more importantly what message are they receiving? People often talk about not being good enough, doing the right things, dressing the right way, having the right attitude or beliefs to set foot in a church. That’s all about fitting in and not about belonging.
Belonging is a place where we all come as we are and acknowledge that we are all in process. We have not arrived at heaven yet and so there is work to do – in us! The church should be the place where it is safe to be open about your struggles, your fears, your insecurities and we work through them together.
A place where we know that we have value because we are human and not because of anything we do.
Isn’t that what salvation is all about – Sola Fida; salvation by faith alone, not by the works we do. We belong to the family of God because HE died for us, not because we were good enough or because we fit in.