From kindergarten to the prom, from our first job to our last semester, from our wedding to the funeral, we are seeking one thing. We want to be known, and loved when we are known.
We are seeking to belong, with all we have.
In some way or another, sometimes through direct questioning, sometimes through passive aggression, we’re all looking for our invitation, for our seat at the table. Some of us try to earn it. Some of us attempt to keep it with kindness. Some of us have given up, and sit in the corner on the floor — we’ve been squeezed out or shoved over too many times to risk trying again.
But it’s still what we want most.
This inner longing seems to continue, even when we think we’ve finally “arrived” at the point of fulfillment — getting into that dream school, marrying that dream lover, landing that dream job, having that dream child. We never reach the point of contentment.
Some of this is healthy; if we were unequivocally content, we might never feel motivated to strive forward or to make the world better than it is today.
But I think there’s another reason for never reaching the point of “fulfillment.” It’s simply that it isn’t possible.
This isn’t fatalistic and depressive, at least not if you track with the ideas of scripture and following Jesus.
Life as we know it is merely the foreword.
The big story begins in the future.
Theologians love to argue about when, and where, and how, but the truth is, today I don’t really care.
I just need to know it’s coming.
Embracing my identity as an Image-Bearer and a Christ-Heir makes that hope possible.
Uncovering my true identity now is part of what I will carry with me into the future of beyond. There’s a Kingdom coming, and in that Kingdom I am already known, accepted, loved. As I am.
The mystery of belonging to today and belonging also to a life in the future is a mind-boggling one. And I’ll admit, I don’t think about it all that much — and that’s one reason why finding fulfillment is a struggle.
If now is all there is, what is the use of trying? I’ve proven to myself over and over that I can’t get it all right, all the time. If now is all we’ve got, it makes sense to live from a mindset of angst and scarcity…because everything is anxiety-inducing and scarce.
But if there is a belonging that is already mine to claim in the future, that 100% gives me confidence to claim a place now.
My fulfillment is coming, and is not of my own making.
Because of this, I find fulfillment now, because the imperfect, unconscionable, debilitating now is not all there is.
I belong, even when I don’t.
I am fulfilled, because I will be.
This is the invisible Kingdom, “among you.”
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