Where do you belong?

There's one word that keeps coming to my mind, one theme of continuous learning right now, and it's the idea of really belonging. 

This word belong, I'm guessing that we all tend to like the sound of it. It's a concept that we all want for our own and would give up all we've got at times, just simply to say that we too belong.

It deals with our identity and who we're really meant to be. It deals with heart issues and sometimes even the scared parts of bent up lives.

It affects us at the very center of our being, this whole idea of belonging. So, let's go ahead and ask the question, what does it really mean to belong?

Why does the word bring a stir of desire and an ache for possession?

The meaning of the word runs along two parallel tracks, two different ways of looking at this grand idea of belonging. It means to have a close or intimate relationship, and doesn't the whole world want more of a relationship, more of that love and attention that we are all longing for? 

And then there's the second view on what it means to really, truly belong. The second look will show us that it also means to be a possession- to simply be someone's. 

We might wonder at that, and ask ourselves if that's something good, and something worth wanting after all? We might ask ourselves if we really do want to be a possession? 

And yet, all along isn't there this craving in each of us to know just exactly where we fit? To know we have a place and a space that's made just for us?

This idea of belonging means to be just exactly where you are meant to be, and in a world that's often gone crazy, doesn't every single beating heart just want to know where they're meant to be?

Doesn't every running, confused soul just want to know what they are really meant to do?

Don't we all ache deep down to simply know where we belong?

And yet, in order to belong you've got to accept that you are owned. You've got to accept not only the belonging, but also the idea of being another's possession.

There's one fact in all of this that will make a world of difference to what our belonging really means. Perhaps you've already asked the question, but let's spell it out right here in case you haven't- 

Who do you belong to?

After all, there has to be an owner to every thing that is marked "owned". There has to be a possessor that goes along with every possession. 

So, who? Who is it that you and I belong to? 

There is a God who desires to have you.

Yes, the same God who hung stars in the sky and formed each and every mountain peak. There's a God and He has a desire to have you and I.

He wants us to belong, not only amongst His acquaintances, but among those that are the very closest to Him.

Remember? To belong means a close and intimate relationship. That's what He's holding out to each and every one of us-this invitation for each and every weary heart to finally belong.

He gave everything that He could possibly give just to be able to offer the very greatest invitation. He spent and spilled His very own blood on a cross in order to reach you with His most important question, "Will you belong to me?"

How can any searching, human heart overlook the grandness of this offer? 

An offer from the Author of Life.

An offer from the only One who could ever redeem you, remake you, restore you and free you.

The only One who breaks every human chain and sets every prisoner free. 

The only one who loves you everlastingly.

The only One who never leaves.

The only one who is righteous, holy and perfect.

The only one who is deserving of worship wants you to be forever found in His closest presence.

And if that doesn't bring your heart low in a humble, holy adoration, then friend, I don't know what on earth ever will. 

And yet, there's this part of the belonging that you and I don't often take time to consider. It's like we're reaching up for all of the treasure without counting in the fact that there's a real cost. 

You see, you are truly His possession. A prized possession. And when a prized possession leaves it's rightful owner, there is a vast amount of trouble. When a a prized possession takes a look at the empty treasure of this world, it pains the One who paid such a high and costly price simply to call you His.

See, we like to make it light. We like to skip over what we're actually doing when we take a little break to fit in with the world.

But how in heaven's name do we ever turn our eyes away from perfect, eternal love? And when we take our eyes off of His holy perfection, what are we really trading it all in for? A cheap and deadly counterfeit.

A shadow of light in a world of dark, when Heaven's light has already been opened up to us. 

We're His. We're forever belonging to Him. We've got a place that's made especially just for us at the greatest table your eyes ever could dream up.

We've got more love flowing down and over us than any of us knows exactly what to do with. And don't let us kid ourselves on thinking one drop of it is deserved by us. 

Undeserved and Unreserved it all flows down on us.

Our hearts are fragile and our hearts are quick to turn away. But I ask you today, won't you look at the Master of your life and see once more the love in His eyes?

Don't go and trade in the only real reason for hope in your life, for a moment of the world's cheap and fleeting version of a treasure. 

You've got something eternal. You belong to a Forever King. Stay in your place of belonging.

"You are not your own, for you were  b o u g h t  with a price. 

So  g l o r i f y  God in your body."

- H E B R E W S  6 : 1 9 - 2 0 - 

If you’re feeling a little lost in life

Have you ever felt lost in life? Maybe you've been going for awhile, just doing your very best to stick with the plan and get to the end. You think you've got it set in your head, just what will be ahead, and then life goes and takes a turn and you're left somewhere else instead.

You know, it doesn't take some great big catastrophe to knock us down off of our feet and remind us that we're little more than a frail human life.

No, sometimes all it takes is the reminder that we can't see what's coming ahead in the days that are yet un-lived.

You don't have to have an earth shattering event take place in your life, for you heart to suddenly flounder into what-if's and what-am-I-doing-here-in-life?

Sometimes all it takes is a moment's pause and a little reflection.

Chances are, if you're human than you know well how it feels to sense that you are lost.

You've come to crossroads that don't seem to come with any direction. You've come to seemingly blank spaces that don't seem to have any form of progression.

You've up and lost your way, without one bit of your own trying. You've simply come face to face with the fact that you are a limited human.

You're dealing with the reality that you don't have all the facts in life, and you're dealing with the idea that you're less than qualified to live out this life.

But friend can I remind you that there's a God up above who isn't ever capable of becoming lost.

Right now you're going back and forth on what you ought to do. Right now you're searching far and wide for whatever is the best choice. And friends did you know that there's a God up above who really does know it all?

He knows the options that you can't even see yet. He knows the end destination of every road that you could end up walking down, and He cares enough about you to never leave you in your lost and sorry state.

He's a God of direction and a God who has order, and He'll never leave you stuck to figure it out all on your own.

And yet friends, did you know that this God who loves to lead, can also see the value of a much needed wait.

He'll always lead you on, but He won't ever rush past the treasure gained through a little bit of a wait.

So, let your disorder and your confusion be organized into peace and submission, as you look up above to the only Perfect One.

Give yourself over to the One who knows the inner workings of your heart and is the only One capable of following a perfect plan.

Maybe the truth of it is that in all of those times that we've begun to feel lost, is when we're really the most found. Because there's nothing greater than coming to terms with the reality of your own inability.

Maybe the sooner we each come to grips with our great weakness, means the sooner we can reach our hands up to the sky for His unfailing wisdom.

So, to every lost and weary heart out there in this vast and beautiful world, hold on tight to the One who sees every moment. Hold on tight to the One who holds you the closest. Hold on tight to the One who goes before your every step. Hold on tight to the only One who was able to pay the ultimate price to set your life completely free.

When you don't know where on earth you're meant to go in life, place yourself right there in front of His light, and trust that in His time, He'll always lead you right. 

Soon you are going to find that the greatest lamp is His Word, and the greatest Light is now yours when you walk ever and only in the presence of your Lord. 

If you might be called a dreamer

There are countless times in my life when I could be found scribbling away on a pile of blank pieces of paper, filling them full of the plans that I had. Perhaps if you're a fellow dreamer, you can understand.

I made up the goals. I laid it all out. First this step and then the next. I called them my dream-these ideas that I'd chase. I told myself that I could do it all if I just reached up high enough and gave it my all. 

A dreamer is a beautiful thing to be in this world, and yet, it's a messy thing to be when done in the natural ways of the world.
Time and time again, in my short little life, I find myself dazed and confused by the sharp turns of life. Then one day I'm stuck in a place that's far from the words that were scribbled away on those precious little pages, all those days ago. I'm stuck in a place where dreams seem far from coming true.

When I look around at where I'm at I think the goals just weren't meant to be met after all, and decide that I must not be the dreamer that I thought I once was. I try then to keep myself from dreaming to freely in order to miss out on the pain of dreams not coming true. 

But what exactly is it that a dream is meant to be?

A dream ought to be something that, once made true-once you can touch it, see it and feel it-you've reached the very top, there's nothing more to climb. You wouldn't change a thing from then on in life.

Now, have I lost all the realists out there in this world? Sounds like what, you say? An impossible life? You're right. 

Unless, that is, you've dreamt things up just right.

See, back then each plan I had was for a dream that if I'm honest, once reached, I'd still be looking for more. But what if my dream went a little like this...

I didn't care where I was, and I didn't care where I went. I didn't care what became of me really at all. 

What if the only thing I sought after was something that could never fade-something with eternal weight? 

What if I cared more about the hearts alive around me then the destination at the end of the journey? 

What if I dreamed of sharing more of a soul-transforming love, instead of trying to be the one that's always running in the lead? 

What if I gave a little more of what I've got inside, rather than trying to keep it all to myself in order just to get ahead?

Perhaps the greatest dreamers can only exist inside the Love that lights a fire that can never be dimmed. 

You see, I think all of us are meant to dream and chase them with full force, but better look close at what it is you're dreaming. Don't let yourself become deceived. 

Let me ask you this, once you've reached all that you are after, will it be the end of cares and maybe full of laughter? Or do you sense that you'll begin to look for what it is that could be next? Do you think you'll feel a little sinking when your worldly success is reached? 

Let's you and I dream a dream that will lead to everlasting, soul-satisfying bliss in eternity. Let's give our lives over to the dreams of our Heavenly Father. He's an applauder of the dreamer that dares to reach for more than this world could ever offer.

He's the author and the builder of the greatest stories and creations. The One who saw fit to give us our imaginations. He gave all that He could give in order to show us what it means to really live.

Those who walk behind His guidance will never want for more adventure. They'll find their fill along that narrow road, where willing and ready vessels are needed in a greater supply. They'll find the joy that lights the eye and never will grow dim.

Let's you and I be dreamers, making sure our dreams are really what our hearts are after-making sure that they will please the Master. Because it's only when His heart is filled with joy, that our own hearts find their infinite worth for all of eternity. 

The dreamers that follow Christ can dream without limitations and those are the few that He seems to entrust with those out-of-this-world sort of tasks. He's looking for the ones who will willingly accept when He's got a special task. He's looking for the ones who will transform small living into something with meaning. He's looking for the ones will accept with a ready yes when the road has not yet been revealed.

Let's all be dreamers. Let's be dreamers that are building another Kingdom that this world can't even fathom. Dreamers that love without limit and don't hesitate for a moment when the call of Christ is placed upon their lives. Let's dream of the beauty of His radiant majesty, and bring it to our little places on earth.

What's true about authenticiy

We all want it-this life of authenticity. You'll hear it a thousand times in our society. It's a word that this generation has adopted as it's very favorite, it would seem.

Perhaps it's the fact that the idea holds a sort of beauty, and that beauty charms us, enthralls us, captivates our full attention. 

Our Instagram feeds give us away in this whole pursuit. They show what our hearts are after, and what it is that we crave. We're after authentic-there's no doubt about it. But what is it, I wonder, that authentic really means?
If you take a quick look around you might think it means placing yourself in the beauty of nature. You might start to get the idea that it can be used to describe a certain type of friendship, or what community really means. 

Yes, you and I can think it means these things and we wouldn't exactly be wrong. After all, each mountain adventure, or friendship enjoyed can hold the aroma of a truly authentic way of life. 

But I wonder if we've missed something, in our search for authenticity. We are quick to adopt what we perceive it to be from our online displays of living. But what if we took a bit more time to see it's full reality?

This way of life holds something to be desired, that's more than certain. But could it be that authentic living holds far more than we show through our adoption of the term?

Authenticity means to be real, true, genuine. And yet our only proof of our own authentic life often lies bottled up into some square image that was created by a pose and transformed through a series of edits. Tell me now, have we reached authenticity? 

I've been caught up in it time and time again, and yet, all I seem to find in my pursuit of an "authentic life" is a pressure to achieve a perfect looking life. Tell me, is this what should be called authenticity? 

You and I can be so easily caught up in a world that's been imitated and posed, manipulated in order to get the sunlight just right and, "oh, could you just pretend that you're reading that book for a moment?"

Now a pose is far from wrong, but then again, is it authentic? Perhaps not. 

I'm guilty of living an "authentic life", while often missing out on my very own real life. 

I'm guilty of living a life for display, making sure none of the cracks and the shattered parts are visible to others eyes. 

Tell me friend, how free can you and I be when we're enchained to the opinions of our fellow man? 

Tell me, how authentic can you live, when every moment of "authenticity" is scheduled out and planned?

I'd venture to guess that real authentic living rarely makes the display. 

Instead it's found in those moments that are often only captured in our minds. It's found in real and open conversation, far away from any type of recording. 

It's found in times when laughter can be heard and warm memories made, with no one there to witness it-no one, that is, but those who are living it. 

Authentic living holds within itself, a beautiful freedom, and that's why you and I might just be longing for it. But freedom won't ever be ours if we've made the satisfying of our self our number one pursuit. 

Authentic living is found when you and I step away from any sort of display, and live in our very own reality. 

Your perfect pictures may be a beautiful display of art, but they often do little to display a persons true heart. 

Let's you and I, live in real authenticity. And yes, we'll take the photos, and sure, let's even put this one online, but could we let ourselves be free of living picture perfect lives?

Could we let ourselves be free to show our broken pieces along with our joys?

Could we let our only display be one of God's glory weaving it all into a beautiful work of art-difficult days included, no broken pieces excluded. 

If not, you and I might just be guilty of robbing our God of displaying all of His vast beauty, because He's made it clear that His glory is held best in imperfect, human hearts. 

"For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us." (2 Corinthians 4:6-7)

You and I are but jars of clay, holding the glory of a perfect God on display. 

Let's live authentic in every way, that He might be clearly seen in every bit of our fragile, clay lives.