A week ago I wrote that we’re wisest when inviting God to meet our five core needs of security, identity, belonging, purpose, and, competence. I believe this affects all of life and even our upcoming Christmas celebrations. We’ll have more to celebrate because we understand who God wants to be for us.
Last Wednesday, I detailed the first two needs of security and identity. Today, let’s look at belonging, our third core need. These are always important. It may be especially easy to be distracted by lies calling our name this time of year. Let’s choose to live in truth.
Belonging: Who Wants Me?
We have a need for belonging – to be accepted and to connect with ease to others. God meets this need just as He meets the others. He wants us and created us to have fellowship with Him. Through His Word, His presence, answered prayers, encounters with Him during worship, and more, we can know we belong to Him. He accepts us as we are, loves us unconditionally, and never forsakes us. This meets our need for belonging and also for security. The identity we get from this is huge, too. We are wanted, connected, accepted, and never alone. This month, as we celebrate Jesus’ birth, let’s remember He came so we would always belong to someone.
God meets this need, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t also create a climate in our homes that makes belonging to each other easy. He created us to need fellowship with others. Do we work to establish peace in our home and among each other? Do we expect everyone to relate kindly to each other? Do we not tolerate gossip, bullying, and rejection? Do we tell the truth and build each other up? Do we help others and work as a team?
If we lower our standards this month because we’re tired, distracted, and busier than normal, and allow our children to get away with negative behaviors, we won’t have healthy belonging in our homes and security will also be shaken. And, if kids are allowed to get away with inappropriate interactions at home, there’s a good chance they’ll continue those behaviors at school and church. They could end up feeling like they have no belonging. This is not a safe feeling.
And what might happen if you spend so much time entertaining or being entertained this month that your children feel unimportant? Can you see how that will fracture their belonging and also their security and identity? Now they may act out to get attention. They may choose to isolate in their rooms because they already feel alone. Kids sometimes tell me, “I might as well actually be alone since I feel alone.” They sometimes add “unimportant” to that statement.
What About You?
How are you meeting your need for belonging? It’s a legitimate need – healthy relationships are essential. I hope you reach out and make time for friends. Your family absolutely can and should meet some of your need for belonging. But, it’s especially not healthy to try to meet this need only through your children. The way we and our children relate is different from how we relate with friends and colleagues. Or, it should be.
God wants to meet your need for belonging. He is always available and present. He doesn’t keep a record of our wrongs. We don’t have to work to reestablish our relationship with Him. Through faith in God and by trusting in Christ, we are His. This month, celebrate this!
You can learn more about the core needs in my book, Finding Authentic Hope and Wholeness.
You might also be interested in the Core Needs Pocket Guide, friendship poster, and other products.