Do I Belong?

 

Before You Go to Study

Before your Group Gathering this week, take a few minutes to prepare your heart and mind using the prompts below.

PREP

Belonging is a big deal to us humans. To really be a part of something. To feel truly wanted and accepted. To be connected to others in meaningful ways. We seemingly spend our lives trying to be somebody’s something (friend, spouse, parent, idol, leader, mentor, boo, babe). It is no wonder then that to not belong is one of our biggest fears. The terror of this concept leaves us always evaluating where we stand with others. What do they think of me? How do I fit? Do I really belong? I believe that the answer is a resounding “Yes!” and, over the course of this study, I hope God shows you just how much!

What are you hoping to see happen in your life during the course of this study? What might God want for you during this time?

Your life is not your own: it belongs to God. To ‘be yourself’ is to be and do what God wants you to be and do, knowing that God created you for a mission and knows you and your mission better than you do. ~ Leonard Sweet

PRAY

This crafted prayer is intended to help you open your heart and mind to God during this study. Pray these words aloud or in your mind as a practice of embracing your belonging.

Prayer of Belonging

God, I want to know deeply who You say You are. In knowing You more fully, I find my identity and belonging in You. As my heart longs to fit in or feel fulfilled, I will trust in You. Through the roles You play in my life, the relationship You have with me, and by Your very nature, I understand how I belong to You.

Thank you for paying such a high price to make me Your own. Thank You for being a Father to my orphan heart. Thank You for being my first love. Thank You for creating me with a purpose to live with assignment and authority under Your Son Jesus’ leading and instruction. Thank You for shepherding my wandering soul. Thank You for grafting me into Your family and pruning me so that I flourish.

I want to know who You are so intimately that the joy I experience overflows from understanding how I belong to You. And, God, above all, I echo the words Paul wrote in Philippians 3:12:

…I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me…

I open my heart. Will You open my eyes and ears as well? In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Group Gathering

After spending a few minutes catching up or getting to know each other, select a volunteer to read the following paragraph aloud.

Our world seems to be built around belonging. We create communities, seek out friendships, build families, plan parties, and connect on social media. No matter who you are, something inside you longs to belong. Over the course of this study, we will be exploring together the truth of who and whose you are according to God and what that means for your life. In the process, you will experience that you are God’s and He is yours. This study was crafted to help you see, without a doubt, that You Belong.

Press Play (13 minutes)

Watch the video for Session 1. Feel free to take notes in the space provided.

General Field Notes

You belong to God.

Bible Verses I Use:

  • 1 Corinthians 6:19
  • Romans 14:7-9
  • John 1:12
  • Psalm 103
  • Isaiah 41:3
  • John 4:4
  • 2 Corinthians 1:22
  • 2 Corinthians 5:17-19
  • Hebrews 12:2
  • Luke 9:23-24

Belonging depends on what God has done for you, not what you can do for God.

We do not live as though we belong, because we do not understand how we belong.

Your joy is connected with knowing who God is and how you belong to him.

God is who He says He is and you are His.

“If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.”  ~ Mother Teresa

Slowing Down

Take a minute to review your notes and write down what stood out to you most during the video. What did you connect with and what challenged you?

Belong Together (30–50 minutes)

Use the following questions, Bible passages, and activities to be real with one another, engage in conversation, and connect as a group.

Pit Stop

Supplies Needed: Bowl of M&Ms or fun-size bag for each person

Part of feeling like you belong is feeling like you are known. So, this activity is an opportunity to get to know one another a little better. Take a small handful of M&Ms (or one fun-size bag per person) and don’t eat any of them. Assign a category for each color, for example:

  • Red = family/childhood
  • Green = job/school
  • Blue = friends/crazy story
  • Brown = favorite movie/musician/food dance move
  • Yellow = passions/hobbies

For every one of that color M&M you have, you have to share a fact from that category. (For instance, if you have three yellow M&Ms, you have to share three facts having to do with your passions and hobbies.) Make sure everyone has at least five M&Ms before you start.

EXPLORE THE IDEA

Use the following questions to help your group discuss what was shared in this session’s video. Don’t be afraid to go “off script” if the conversation is good!

  1. What do you think it means to belong in a group, community, or family? How do you see people in the world around you seeking belonging?
  2. What stands out for you most about what was covered in this session’s video? How does it make you think differently about the importance of belonging?
  3. How can exploring the ways we are described by God (His children, sheep, bride, etc.) help us to understand how we belong to God? Which way of belonging to God feels the most difficult for you to accept?
  4. How have you seen joy be directly connected to belonging in your life (specifically belonging to God)? How do you want to see your perspective shift when it comes to your sense of belonging in life and where you are seeking it out?

UNPACK SOME TRUTH

Select volunteers to read the following Bible passages aloud and unpack them together. Use the questions provided to help you explore the verses.

It is God who enables us, along with you, to stand firm for Christ. He has commissioned us, and he has identified us as His own by placing the Holy Spirit in our hearts as the first installment that guarantees everything He has promised us. — 2 Corinthians 1:21-22, NLT

Jesus said to all of his followers, “If you truly desire to be my disciple, you must disown your life completely, embrace my ‘cross’ as your own, and surrender to my ways. For if you choose self-sacrifice, giving up your lives for my glory, you will embark on a discovery of more and more of true life. But if you choose to keep your lives for yourselves, you will lose what you try to keep. — Luke 9:23-24, TPT

  • What does it mean to you to know that God identifies you as His own in Christ?
  • How have you seen others try to earn their belonging to God? How have you tried to do so?
  • How can surrendering to Jesus’ ways and giving up our lives for his glory help us to experience true life?
  • How is surrender an important step if we are going to accept the true belonging available to us through Jesus? How do you want to surrender to Jesus’ way this week?

OFF THE BEATEN PATH

If you have an extra 15–20 minutes, consider engaging in this activity as a group. This is an opportunity to sit in this session’s main idea a bit longer and explore it in a creative and intentional way.

As a group, take some time to come up with a definition of belonging that is based on what you have learned in this session. Talk about how this definition of belonging is different from your old understanding of belonging. Write your group’s new definition of belonging here:

def. BELONGING: ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

SOUVENIR SHOP

Draw a picture representing what you want to take home from this Group Gathering. Then write down one challenge you would like to personally pursue this week. Make sure your challenge is stretching yet attainable for you. Briefly share your souvenir and challenge with the group.

My Souvenir:

This week I challenge myself to:

PRAY

Have your leader or a member of your group read the Prayer of Belonging aloud to close your time together.

Prayer of Belonging

God, we want to know deeply who You say You are. In knowing You more fully, we find our identity and belonging in You. As our hearts long to fit in or feel fulfilled, we will trust in You. Through the roles You play in our lives, the relationships You have with us, and by Your very nature, we understand how we belong to You.

Thank You for paying such a high price to make us Your own. Thank You for being a Father to our orphan hearts. Thank You for being our first love. Thank You for creating each of us with a purpose to live with assignment and authority under Your Son Jesus’ leading and instruction. Thank You for shepherding our wandering souls. Thank You for grafting us into Your family and pruning us so that we flourish.

We want to know who You are so intimately that the joy we experience overflows from understanding how we belong to You. And, God, above all, we echo the words Paul wrote in Philippians 3:12:

…I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me…

We open our hearts. Will You open our eyes and ears as well? In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Filling Up with Fun Work

As you continue on your journey between gatherings, the following pages are intentionally meant for you to enjoy the content by engaging in activities, prayers, and reading. This isn’t academic homework but material that’s fully alive and relevant to your daily experience!

THE NAMES WE GO BY

Write down names in your life that you accept and respond to. Spend some time with God talking through each name on the list. As you do, write down your reflections. How do you feel when responding to that name? What does it make you feel about who you are? What does it reveal about belonging?

When you are done, ask God what name (or names) of belonging He wants to highlight for you personally. Listen for a while and write down what He says and how you feel about it.

FINDING YOURSELF

In the following word search, find all the names that God gives us as believers. When you are done, pick two or three names that stand out to you the most, look up the verse, and write it in the space provided. Or if you hate word searches, just go straight to picking the God-given names that stand out to you the most!

*INSERT YOU BELONG WORD SEARCH*

Image of God

(Genesis 1:27)

New Creation

(2 Corinthians 5:17)

Children

(1 John 3:1-2)

Branches

(John 15:5)

Beloved

(1 John 4:7)

Living Stones

(1 Peter 2:5)

Wonderfully [Made]

(Psalm 139:13-14)

Free

(Galatians 5:1)

Body [of Christ]

(1 Corinthians 12)

God’s Temple

(1 Corinthians 3:16)

Citizen [in God’s Kingdom]

(Philippians 3:20)

Masterpiece

(Ephesians 2:10, NLT)

Write out the names that stood out and the entire verse associated with it in the space below:

Name

Scripture

Name

Scripture

Name

Scripture

“A deep sense of love and belonging is an irreducible need of all people. We are biologically, cognitively, physically, and spiritually wired to love, to be loved, and to belong. When those needs are not met, we don’t function as we were meant to. We break. We fall apart. We numb. We ache. We hurt others. We get sick.” ~ Brené Brown

TALK TO GOD

Spend some time just talking with God about where you feel like you belong the most and where you feel like you belong the least in your life right now. Tell Him about what you feel, the thoughts you have, and the way you act in response to each situation. Ask Him what He might want to show you about yourself or that situation. If it is helpful, use the space provided below.

Where I Belong Most

Thoughts:
Feelings:
Actions:
God, what do you want to show me?

Where I Belong Least

Thoughts:
Feelings:
Actions:
God, what do you want to show me?

Go the Extra Mile

For all you overachievers out there, here are some chapters in the Bible that will help you to think more deeply about belonging. If you have some extra time, you should definitely check them out!

Psalm 100

John 10

1 Peter 2

Psalm 139

After you have read each chapter, write down what you learned about belonging to God.

Excerpted with permission from You Belong Study Guide: Because God Is Who He Says He Is by Candace Payne, copyright Candace Payne.

* * *

Your Turn

Come share your thoughts on You Belong on our blog. We want to hear from you!

 

 

Candace Payne

Candace Payne is a viral sensation whose Facebook Live video of trying on a Chewbacca Mask became the most-viewed Facebook Live video to date (165+ million views). She has been featured in more than 3,000 media outlets and has interviewed with major media such as “Good Morning America,” “The Late Late Show with James Corden,” The New York Times, PEOPLE and Cosmopolitan. Candace recently launched a video series with TLCme and her first book will release in the fall of 2017. Candace lives in Texas with her husband, two children, and ornery pug

Follow Candace Payne on:   Facebook   Website

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