My Need to Belong – Part 2 — Morning Devotions - Hope 103.2

My Need to Belong – Part 2 — Morning Devotions

It’s God who makes us good enough. It’s not what we find in this world to add value. It’s God. You’re enough. You’re enough for him!

By Chris WittsTuesday 31 May 2022Morning Devotions with Chris WittsFaithReading Time: 1 minute

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One of my favourite singers is Whitney Houston. What an amazing voice! A brilliant artist. But tragically, Whitney Houston died in 2012 of a drug overdose. From many people’s perspectives, she was the greatest female vocalist of all time. For sure, her record sales would show that. But what most of us don’t know is her upbringing and where she was coming from.

During her funeral, the famous actor Kevin Costner was called upon to speak. He spoke for 17 minutes, and as he spoke, he said,

You know, Whitney and I worked together in a movie, and I knew her as a friend. We really actually had a lot in common. I know you wouldn’t realise that, but we both grew up in the Baptist church. We both grew up knowing that was the best place for us. The values that we learned there, the relationships that we had…Even there, we learned the plan of God for our lives. We were hoping one day to hear that voice from heaven that would call us to himself.

It was a remarkable statement from Kevin Costner, the experience they had had as young kids. But as he would later describe, they both rebelled and went their own ways. But he was coming back to his roots in that moment; he was coming back to the grace of God. He talked about his conversations with Whitney—and he said, “There was something that always bothered me about her. Though I loved her dearly, on the movie set when I first met her, I remember her coming out and doing the scene and then going back to the room. She pulled me aside and said, Did they like me? Was I pretty enough? Was I good enough?

Am I Good Enough?

He said as he would go to a concert or be around her, she could sing in front of thousands of people, going out to millions of people, but she would always go backstage and ask, Am I good enough? Did they think I was pretty? Did I do good? He said she was like a little girl, reduced to her own fears and sense of shame and insecurity. Whitney Houston had everything: fame, power, everything that we think will bring value to us. She had beauty, she had talent, she had fame, money, and she had every resource and access to anybody in the world. She was somebody, according to the world, but inside, she was a little girl asking the question, Do they like me? Am I okay? It drove her to addictions, and actually drove her to her death.

It’s God who makes us good enough.

Kevin Costner explained this process as only someone like him could, knowing her closely, and he ended his eulogy saying: “To all those young girls who are dreaming that dream, to be like Whitney, that maybe are thinking, Are they good enough? I think Whitney would tell you, Guard your bodies. Guard the precious miracle of your own life. And then sing your hearts out, knowing that there’s a lady in heaven who is making God himself wonder how he created something so perfect. So off you go, Whitney, off you go—escorted by an army of angels to your heavenly Father. And when you sing before him, don’t you worry—you’ll be good enough.”

Here is something that Kevin Costner understands. It’s God who makes us good enough. It’s not what others say, it’s not what we find in this world to add value. It’s God. You’re enough. You’re enough for him! Created in his image, wanted by him. I didn’t say you were perfect; I said you were wanted! When we know we’re wanted and we know we belong, we become anchored. And when we know we have value, then whatever God has given us to do, we can do that with all of our hearts, because we’re not running with a question mark: Am I okay? Am I good looking enough? Do they like me? You know you’re loved.

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The Power of Belonging

But in this context, it’s what researchers often call ‘the power of belonging’. It’s a powerful thing, what happens to people when they feel like they belong to a group or a people or are connected to something larger than themselves, versus those who are isolated and alone. Maybe that’s why Facebook is so popular. We like to belong.

Stanford researchers in 2007 came out with a study they had done for several years with 7,000 different people. In this research, they tried to label what belonging would look like. And then they asked, “What happens to people when they feel like they belong? Or, when they don’t belong?” The ones who felt like they belonged, they found this: They were four times more likely to be healthy in every area of their lives if they belonged and were attached to people than if they were not. This was to do with mental health and physical health. It was related to wholeness; belonging was so important that it affected our physical bodies and mental health.

In another survey, they infected 276 individuals with the flu virus. Then they did the same study, and they asked, “If somebody is connected to a community, does that affect their immune system to fight off sickness?” They found that they were three times more likely to, either not get the flu—even from the virus they were infected with—or overcome it earlier. Those who did not have a sense of belonging or community, were three times more likely for the flu virus to have its full effect and for them to have long-range effects. Isn’t that amazing?

But you got the point. This sense of belonging is huge. It’s huge for the human soul. It’s value, it’s worth, it’s Somebody cares about me, I matter, I’m in sync with how God has created me. And he loves me and sent Jesus as my Saviour. And isn’t it the beauty of God that he’s created you for himself and for his people, called the church? And without that sense of community on a natural level, and relationship with God, you’ll struggle. If you don’t belong to a church fellowship, go and look for one today. You won’t regret it.