Do you ever feel like an outsider? Everyone around you seems to click, but you feel like an outcast at the office, in your community, at your church – or sometimes in your own family.
You wish being part of a group wasn’t that important to you, but it is. In fact, it keeps you up at night because you’re desperate to belong. To fit in. To be important.
Not a look-at-me or an I’m-all-that kind of importance, but a we’re-glad-you’re-here and an it-wouldn’t-be-the-the-same-without-you kind of importance.
You may be relieved to know that, for various reasons, most of us occasionally feel like we don’t fit in. Maybe we have different interests or suffer from intermittent shyness or lack of confidence.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to belong. God made us relational beings. But whenever we’re self-focused, we come up short. We become needy.
Rather than dwelling on how out of place we feel, what would happen if we sought ways to love and serve those around us? How would it change our situation if we asked God how He could use us during these uncomfortable circumstances?
Jesus wants us to live our best life possible, which is why He says to abide in His love and obey Him so that “[His] joy may be in [us], and that [our] joy may be full” (John 15:11, ESV). The Amplified Bible says “that your joy may be made full and complete and overflowing.” In the next verse, Jesus commands us to love others the same way He loves us. Wow!
How differently would we feel about ourselves (and more importantly, about others) if we chose to abide (linger, remain) in God’s incredible love? Wouldn’t it change our perspective about ourselves and others as people who need God? Wouldn’t it help us feel closer to those we work with and live with if we purposed to love them the same way Jesus loves us?
Try it this week. At the office, be supportive of your co-workers by pitching in whenever you can. In your community, ask the Holy Spirit to show you who needs encouragement. At church, perhaps you can sit with a visitor. At home, rather than walking around with a chip on your shoulder, finds ways to shoulder your spouse or sibling’s burdens.
Seeking ways to love others in the same way God loves us will allow God’s joy to fill us – and complete us. We become more purposeful and less needy.
And rather than allowing the darkness of isolation to overtake us, we push back and get to know those we previously felt disconnected with.
Sheryl H. Boldt is the author of the blog, www.TodayCanBeDifferent.net. You can reach her at SherylHBoldt@gmail.com.