belonging practically.

This post is part of a 31 day journey. See the rest of abide: love where you live right here.

How to foster warmth and acceptance and grace. That’s what we’ve worked our way up to.


I have to confess I struggle the most with this part. I’ve spent much of my life trying to out-perfect the messy portions of my life so that I’ll feel worthy. But do you know what ministers to me most? When someone DOES NOT clean up their messes for me. And so I am learning to be instead of do more and more.

Instead of a list of practical applications, I’d love to point you to some sources that have really spoken to me about making genuine and real connections that are full of transparency and staying power.

1. Watch. This talk by Brene Brown is so smart and insightful. She’s spent much of her career actually researching belonging and what keeps us from getting there. If you spend any time at all around any type of people, you’ll be challenged and enlightened. (I do have to warn you. There is one bit of adult language.)

2. Explore. The Blessing is a book that I’ve had since I served with an inner city ministry in Roanoke, Virginia. Just this month, I’ve picked it back up and it is messing with me in the best way. The authors explore the idea of the family blessing in the hebrew families of the Old Testament and examine how the basic framework is essential to healthy attachment. This book is for children, mothers, fathers, friends, neighbors.

3. Read. One of my favorite places online is Edie’s blog . She’s been writing about radical hospitality this month and I can’t even pick a favorite post. They’re all beautiful and they’re all challenging.

4. Listen. As a former teacher and someone who is just generally interested in attachment, this podcast from This American Life was fascinating for me. Don’t be fooled by the description. You won’t be listening to an hour long debate about teacher strikes and salaries and all that jazz. Instead, the focus is on changing the fundamental educational philosophy of our public schools. I was left wondering about how building standards and classroom practices based on cognitive development fails children who have never experienced a sense of attachment. I’m not really offering this as an answer for all of our school system’s woes. The real impact for me was in realizing the ripple that belonging offered or withheld sends out into our world.

How’s that for a bunch of nerdy stuff? But, really. I’d love to hear from y’all about how you’ve embraced and offered belonging right where you are.


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