When I first moved to the US, I felt very alone. My host family sister says I cried in my sleep every night. A dear friend from home called me one night and I remember crying the whole call. She said, “Honey, if you hate it you can come home. You can always come home.” And she was right. I could. And it was so comforting. Comforting and strengthening. I stuck it out here because of that hope. I can always go home.
Home. My home is with my parents. Wherever they are, that is my home. They are my homebase.
There are many Aussies in this part of the US. There are two large companies that bring Aussies out here for work. I’ve met some of these Aussies at local parks and playgrounds. I try to reach out and connect but they don’t respond. One of them was kind enough to explain, “We are a tight group. The families of the company.” They have created closed communities and I don’t qualify. Firstly, my husband doesn’t work for either of those companies. Second, he’s American so even if he did, I may still not qualify.
One day I was skyping with Dad about my struggles with the conflicts between Australian and American culture. I was sharing with him that I doubt that I’ll ever feel like I “belong” here. But I also felt like I don’t “belong” back in Australia either. I am now a mix of cultures and I don’t belong to a place or a people.
Dad spoke vision and hope into my heart.
We are citizens of heaven. (Philippians 3:20)
We are aliens and strangers in the world. Temporary residents and foreigners. Sojourners and exiles. Wayfarers and pilgrims. (1 Peter 2:11a in several translations)
My dad is an incredibly wise and insightful man. He also is full of God’s Spirit and has a godly gift of wisdom which adds a whole other layer to his natural wisdom. He says profound things that change me.
He reminded me that Philippians and 1 Peter show us our true identity. He encouraged me that my feelings were not unique to me. He suggested that most humans feel like they don’t quite belong and that they live life looking for people and places where they can feel like they belong.
Isn’t that true? Don’t we do that? Search for a place to belong? And isn’t awesome when you find someone who seems like you? There is a calm and peace that comes in those kinds of relationships.
That craving of our hearts… our search for belonging… our need for a place to be a home… is not a problem. It’s a reminder. It’s truth. It’s our guide. We don’t belong here.
Our Father God created us to be in relationship with Him. Not from a distance but in-person. Walking side by side with Him. This life we are living is a shadow of the life He created us for. Our bodies groan and cry out for the real life we were made for (Romans 8:23, 2 Corinthians 5:4).
And you know what? I’ve found a group I belong to: the aliens and sojourners. The citizens of heaven who have come to grips with the fact they don’t belong here. I’m inspired by them. For now, my home is with them. Wherever they are, that is my gypsy home too. A community dedicated to living out God’s love as they journey in this foreign place. I’m drawn to them. I am one of them.
This is my true homebase. A firm unchanging place. Everything else will fail. God and His people are my home.
This song by David echos the hearts of my people.
How lovely is your dwelling place, O LORD Almighty. I long, yes, I faint with longing to enter the courts of the LORD. With my whole being, body and soul, I will shout joyfully to the living God… How happy are those who can live in your house, always singing your praises. Happy are those who are strong in the LORD, who set their minds on a pilgrimage to [God’s city]. When they walk through the Valley of Weeping, it will become a place of refreshing springs, where pools of blessing collect after the rains! They will continue to grow stronger, and each of them will appear before God in Jerusalem… A single day in your courts is better than a thousand anywhere else! I would rather be a gatekeeper in the house of my God than live the good life in the homes of the wicked. For the LORD God is our light and protector. He gives us grace and glory. No good thing will the LORD withhold from those who do what is right. O LORD Almighty, happy are those who trust in you. (Psalm 84)
How are you doing? What is God doing in your life in this area? How do you find strength as a sojourner and citizen of heaven?
Want to read through the Bible with me? Today’s Readings: Psalm 18:25-50; Luke 10:25-42