A House Is Not Always A Home
For those of us fortunate enough to live in a house – it doesn’t necessarily mean we live in a home, and this is the reality for most teens when they reflect on their home environments. Amidst the chaos and frustration of a household with bantering parents or even the silence of one with a full-time working parent, it is common to feel… displaced, lost and pulled in all different directions. It’s true to say that a person’s identity is formed from such a young age by those closest to them, so what happens when the people who are put in charge of nurturing us tend to stray from their responsibilities? From kids who’ve had to make new friends 6 times in 7 years, the kids who have two Christmases and birthdays, to the ones who have only been able to call for ‘mum’ their whole lives, this lack of stability is bound to cause a shift in how we perceive ourselves in our quest to discover stability in our identity.
As someone who is of mixed heritage, I’ve felt from a young age the effect of being plopped in between a Western world and a traditional Batak Indonesian family had on my identity. While I cannot deny the unconditional love I’ve received from my mother’s side of the family, there were many instances in my childhood when living and visiting Indonesia when I felt like nothing but a foreigner. The desire to be fully accepted and be able to proudly claim this heritage drove me to seek more knowledge about my culture, in hopes that those around me could see my sincerity and finally perceive me as one of their own.
But the more I dwelled on it, the more lost and disoriented I became. It seemed as though the more I gave in to my desire to fit into the mould of what I thought would grant me acceptance and a stable identity, the more ‘foreign’ I felt, and the finish line only became more distant. As feelings of rejection grew, I realised that I was seeking acceptance and belonging from the wrong people.
We Belong to God
Rejection by those closest to us or by those who have known us for a long time is a painful experience that evokes sharp emotions, such as anger, outrage, self-pity, and sadness. More people have experienced this type of rejection than we might think. Jesus knew what it was like to be rejected in this way. The scriptures tell us many times that Jesus too felt this way, even amongst his own people he was rejected, mocked and felt displaced. John 1:11,
“He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him.”
But even in all His affliction and loneliness after feeling rejected Jesus still remained faithful to God as he knew he was a part of a family far greater and personal than any family or community that we can experience on this earth. Ephesians 2:19 states,
“So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.”
Paul in this verse, emphasises the idea that as believers, we belong to the household of God and are part of a larger community of faith. That as believers, we all belong to one community in Christ, regardless of our race, social status, or gender. Stating that,
“ There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28 )
God reminds us that “we are his people” ( Psalm 100:3) and it is he who made us, and we belong to him, assuring us that in times that we feel as though we do not belong, we belong to him and are the “sheep of his pasture”. Our identity is in him and that we belong to God.
So even when we feel like family doesn’t feel like family, or when we even feel disconnected, rejected and feel a lost sense of belonging and identity, the Bible teaches that as believers, we belong to God’s family and are part of a larger community of faith. This sense of belonging is grounded in our relationship with Jesus Christ, who brings us into a new family and gives us a new identity as his followers.
Just remember that there is a greater community around you, God’s community, as we are his chosen people and we belong to him. If you’re searching for the same community come and visit us at the Regeneration Z convention https://regenerationz.org/convention/
Reginella Lapenna (18) is one of the many writers in the RE Generation-Z community. She aspires to use her talents to serve God, growing and bringing others to the light of Christ. You’ll often find her in the kitchen cooking, eating and hoping to be the next Wolfgang Puck.