It’s not often I think about the belly button. In fact, the most recent time I thought about it was when my adorable year-and-a-half-year-old granddaughter brought it to my attention through this picture:
She had discovered belly buttons, and was intrigued by them! Her delight in discovering her baby sister’s belly button is evident in this picture, and no doubt will provide lots of giggles at her wedding reception one day. This type of fascination with the belly button is adorable, endearing and precious.
There is, however, a second meaning associated with the belly button that is not so adorable – that of “navel-gazing.”
Navel-gazing is defined as, “Engaging in self-absorbed behavior, often to the point of being narcissistic.” This is when we spend way too much time in unproductive, self-centered contemplation. The focus is on “ME” – how do I feel, what am I thinking, what do others think of … ME. It is most often not a good thing.
While listening to a podcast from White Horse Inn recently, I was introduced to a third, very different, perspective on the belly button. Michael Horton was interviewing author Kelly Kapic about his most recent book, God So Loved He Gave. In his book, Mr. Kapic discusses the myth of personal freedom and autonomy – the idea that we exist in isolation as self-made individuals, dependent on no one. In this discussion, he humorously brought up the belly button’s huge theological importance – how it serves to remind us that we are not autonomous, but that we belong to, are attached to, Another – the Creator God himself.
In this discussion, Mr. Kapic brought up the doctrine of creation – that EVERYTHING owes its existence to God. So, we too, owe our very existence to the one who made us. Romans 11:36 says:
For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever.
From him, through him, to him…sounds like utter dependence to me…and sweet communion.
So from this day forward, I think the belly button will remind me of the blessedness of belonging, and also that I am not to live my life in isolation, but in community – generously giving to others from the abundance that God has given to me.
I agree with my granddaughter about the belly button… “it’s a good thing.” 🙂