Although it’s been many years since I moved out of my parents’ home, I remember it like it was yesterday. In one week’s time, I landed a promising job and found a cute apartment near the big city. All these changes were exhilarating, but anxiety and doubt crept in. For a long time, I wondered: Will I be okay? Will I fit in? Will I belong?
Maybe you’ve been the new girl, too. You transferred to a new school, launched a business, or joined a new parish. Perhaps no one knew you, which was both refreshing and a bit terrifying. Everything you knew before that point was in your rearview mirror, and everything ahead of you was a big question mark.
In today’s First Reading, Saint Paul reminds us that, as followers of Jesus Christ, we have nothing to fear. By virtue of our baptism, we are bona fide citizens of the Kingdom of God. (Ephesians 2:22) In other words, we already do belong to something greater than ourselves, regardless of our mailing address or our job title.
And it gets even better: We aren’t just citizens; we are family members. You are a beloved daughter of our Heavenly Father and a sister of Christ Jesus. There are neither strangers nor interlopers in your Father’s house. You don’t have to “fake it ‘til you make it,” sister—you’re already in—you’re a unique and integral part of something bigger than you can be on your own. You belong.
In Luke’s Gospel, Jesus calls twelve men to be His Apostles. He doesn’t select cookie-cutter followers, one indistinguishable from the next, either. (Luke 6:13) There’s the uneducated fisherman who becomes the head of the Church; the reformed tax collector who writes one of the four Gospels; a former zealot who preaches in Persia; and the future patron of impossible causes. Each brings his different experiences and personality to the mix.
Our Lord doesn’t care about His Apostles’ socioeconomic backgrounds or their past; He is interested in them. As Pope Benedict the XVI spoke in his General Audience, October 2006, “…[W]hat bound [the Apostles] together was Jesus himself, in whom they all found themselves united with one another.”
And so it is with you and me, sister. Jesus invites us to the table just as we are, offering what we have to give. With Jesus as the capstone, we aren’t strangers. We are citizens. We are family. We belong.
Do you ever feel like you don’t quite fit in? Ask the Holy Spirit to speak healing into any brokenness concerning your identity today. Ask Him to reveal the truth of your citizenship in God’s Kingdom, your special place in God’s family . . . right where you are.
Heather Renshaw is a writer, speaker, and uplifter on a mission to love and serve God with her husband and five children in the Pacific NW. You can learn more about her here.