In Brené Brown’s popular TED Talk, she shares a widely accepted truth: “Connection is why we’re here. It’s what gives purpose and meaning to our lives. This is what it’s all about.”
Robin Williams said, “I used to think the worst thing in life is to end up all alone. It’s not. The worst thing is to end up with people who make you feel all alone.”
We are wired for connection. We are created to crave belonging.
When babies are born, they want to be held. When children are afraid, they want to be close to someone. We are designed to find life and comfort and security in connection to others. But somewhere along the way, we experience hurt and brokenness and just being human. Connection no longer comes easily.
After years of research and thousands of interviews, Brown says, “There was only one variable that separated the people who have a strong sense of love and belonging and the people who really struggle for it… the people who have a strong sense of love and belonging believe they’re worthy of love and belonging. That’s it. They believe they’re worthy.”
What keeps us from connection? What keeps us from feeling worthy of love and belonging? Shame.
Brown says, “Shame is really easily understood as the fear of disconnection: is there something about me that, if other people know it or see it, I won’t be worthy of connection?”
Shame makes us believe we are not enough. Not powerful enough. Not rich enough. Not attractive enough. Not smart enough. Not spiritual enough.
When we think of a path to worthiness, we think of becoming enough. Being more. Doing more. Looking more. Making more. Succeeding more.
But take a deep breath, and hear this:
There is a place where you are already enough. There is a place where you are already worthy. There is a place where you already belong.
That place is the Church.
It does not matter what you have done, what you have said or who you have been. You do not need to change, or become anything other than all you are, right in this very moment. Right now, you belong in the Church.
You are worthy to belong in the Church, because God calls you worthy. “Regardless of what you have come to believe about God based on your life experience, the truth is that when God thinks of you, love swells in his heart and a smile comes to his face” (David G. Benner, Surrender to Love). God “has a single relentless stance toward us: He loves us” (Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel). “God is love” (1 John 4:8).
In this moment, just as you are, God loves you. God calls you worthy. He says you are enough. And He established the Church to be the place where you belong, the place where your soul is called to life through love and connection with other people. The Church is a place where you are worthy before you walk in and loved as you are fully known.
You may have experienced something different in a church. You may have attended a church where you felt isolated, unworthy or outcast. Perhaps you have attended a church where you were expected to become before you could belong.
But this was not God’s design for His Church.
Whatever the Church has been, it did not begin as a human institution. The Church was not created by people for religious control. It was designed by God to be a family of broken, healing people who welcome you home. The Church should be the place where your heart is nurtured by a community learning to love well.
Jesus said: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35).
Jesus made a place for you in His Church, a place marked by love. He loves you and calls you worthy just as you are, and He invites you to belong.
No church will be perfect, because no person is perfect, but we invite you to find a local church where you will belong. We stand with Jesus, opening our arms to you in love. We believe you are worthy just as you are, no matter what. We have a place for you.
You belong with us.