You aren’t alone.
There are others out there who feel like they’re different. Like they participate on the fringes. Like they aren’t accepted.
So today, I want to send some truth your way.
1. You belong.
2. You are accepted.
3. You have something to contribute that no one else has.
4. Everyone feels the same.
5. It’s not about you anyway.
Let’s start at number five and work backwards from there.
5. It’s not about you.
At my introverted worst, I enter a room and worry that no one will want to speak to me. I worry that as they stand in their groups, I’ll remain alone. It takes a lot of effort for me to be proactive and say hello, begin a conversation, and especially to break into a group. All this to say, I can easily make it all about me. So here’s something I’ve found helpful and more useful than acting like wallpaper…
I can try to change my mindset and resolve to enter a place and make it about others. There are some who are feeling uncomfortable too, and the extroverts are all bursting to connect, so what am I worried about? It sounds so simple, but I can mindfully choose to say hello to someone new, ask about how another’s day has been, or remember someone’s name or their child’s pursuits. In a coffee shop, I might make a special effort to connect in some small way with the person serving me. A smile goes a long way, as does an honest compliment, and a bit of small talk can dramatically improve a person’s day!
If you’re an extrovert, the above might be second nature to you. Making it about others might mean you ask more questions than usual, allowing the quieter types time to engage. You could also make a special effort to include the “fringies” who are waiting/longing to be invited into the fun you naturally help create.
#4. Everyone feels the same.
Everyone wants to feel loved, accepted, connected, and experience belonging. If I make it about me, in moments of insecurity I might draw back sending the message that I don’t care, when nothing could be further from the truth. When I make it about others, I engage, listen, and show another acceptance and love—independent of their response or level of acceptance toward me. Realizing you’re not the only one who desires meaningful connections gives you the courage to be relationally proactive. You never know what impact these small acts of kindness can have as you move through your day making others feel less invisible.
#3. You have something to contribute that no one else has.
One of the great relational fears is that if we put ourselves out there, we’ll face rejection. You will at times be met with rejection (or perceived rejection), but when your thinking is other-focused instead of only self-focused, and you believe that you have something to offer that can positively impact another human being, your fear of snubbery shrinks. You and I weren’t made from a cookie-cutter. Your different way of thinking, your unique viewpoint, your encouragement, may be just the thing someone needs to hear.
#2. You are accepted.
The truth is, we’re already accepted in the beloved (Eph 1:6). When I make it about me and disengage, I miss the very thing I have to offer the world, or a single person, in that moment. Yes, you are a quirky, different, one-of-a-kind human being. There isn’t another out there like you! You don’t need to be ashamed or apologize for all that God made you to be, or all that He is making you to be. It’s the very thing you have to offer the world, the ONLY thing, in fact, save Jesus himself! So engage and love—regardless of what others say or think of you.
#1. You belong.
Camp out there for a minute and let that soak in. You belong to the One who took care of your sin, forgave everything, and is healing you by His grace. The more you tap into who you are in Christ, the more comfortable you feel in your own skin. You’re free and easy to love others and their judgments cease to matter. You realize you don’t need to be like everyone else to be with everyone else. YOU are more than enough!
Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son. ~ Ephesians 1:6 (Message)
May you be surrounded with a deep sense of belonging by the One who created and adores you, and share who He made you to be with others!
- In what ways have you felt on the outside?
- What steps could you take to engage more fully with others?
- Take three opportunities today to positively impact another’s day.