For her, being raised in a military family sure had its pluses and minuses. It meant her family could see the world, travel to new places and make new friends! It meant all things were “new,” places to discover and new faces to see. It also meant trying to “fit in”at a new school, with new friends, in a new neighborhood, and within a new community. Sometimes that transition was fairly easy, sometimes that transition was really difficult. For a shy, quiet girl, at times this proved to be an overwhelming task.
Many years later, with a sense of adventure still there, she boldly took a new job in a new town and that old familiar feeling set in. New experiences, new places and of course — new and exciting adventures! She wasn’t prepared to face the culture shock though, even though she had spent a year in a foreign country without her family. This change was not one she really wanted to accept and she was having a difficult time with it. She didn’t really feel like she fit in, not really feeling accepted, knowing she was called to this place, but not quite sure why! Excited to be meeting new co-workers and neighbors but instead who often viewed her family as “outsiders” in their new county and not someone from around there.
Checking out many churches who instead of embracing you with warmth and love, unfortunately, eyed you with suspicion and apprehension. Hearing her children say that people seemed friendly on the outside, but didn’t really make an effort to go further into friendships/relationships, was disappointing. Or, those awkward stares on the ball field where you longed to fit in and feel accepted but were instead given a friendly “hello” but nothing deeper. No invitations to conversation, just a stare or a whisper. “Cliques” on the ball field with parents can still, even many years later, bring back those old familiar feelings of rejection and not feeling like she measured up. Rejection hurts, no matter how confident you are in yourself. And when it affects your own children, it’s very painful.
Have you ever been there, longing to feel accepted? Feeling like an outsider in a new place is scary, uncomfortable and unpleasant! Ephesians 1:3-8 “I have been chosen by God and adopted as His child.” Wow, how these words needed to sink in, instead of letting the enemy say she wasn’t good enough, unaccepted, not friendly enough, or worthy of deep friendships. That adversary can conjure up feelings of insecurity so easily, taking our focus off of what we do have and focusing instead on what we don’t have. Yet, a longing to “fit in” is a basic want that we all have and seems to be a reasonable request. We can be confident in Christ and how wonderful HE has created us, unique and wonderful in HIS sight!! Yet, sometimes we need to realize that our acceptance isn’t based upon our external circumstances, or an incessant need to measure up.
Sometimes we have to step outside our own comfort zone to seek out new friends, or perhaps even new ways of tackling the stressors in life. I believe HE wants us to do something about our insecurities and feelings of failures. Thankfully there’s a place on Friday nights where you’re accepted, and it’s OK to be the “new person” that no one yet knows! We know that rejection hurts, from our friends, from our family and perhaps even from our community; because many of us have been there! We know that acceptance, trust and love is where true healing can take place. We’ve embraced the concept that it’s okay to not be okay, and we’ll choose to be supported, loved and have decided to walk through that pain anyway. Are you at this place yet? Many have chosen to face their fears, so that they can learn from them. Maybe that love and acceptance we’ve desperately longed, for won’t come from our own families, but it’ll come from a new family, new friends who’ll accept you, no matter what your past or present circumstances look like.
At Celebrate Recovery, we’re here to encourage, support and inspire you, no matter what you’re going through! We meet every Friday night at 7 p.m. at 408 College St., Clinton. Whatever you think you know about this meeting, it might just surprise you! Perhaps your pre-conceived notions may be incorrect, but there’s only one way to find out! We CELEBRATE on Friday nights, have fun, get to know each other, develop deep friendships and we share life together! It’s not about focusing on our problems, but it’s about recognizing those sometimes hidden things that hinder us, facing them, dealing with them and then getting victory and healing. It’s about being better! What could be better on a Friday night than that? What are you waiting for? Come check it out, we’re saving you a seat! 2 Corinthians 1:3-4a, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction …” (ESV)
And since we’re on the subject of acceptance, may I offer a suggestion? When you see someone new or different in our community, open your heart to embrace them with compassion and acceptance! Try to imagine life in their shoes-I believe that’s what Jesus would do. Perhaps discover that their differences might just be something HE intends for YOU to learn and grow from! That HE puts people in our path to challenge us and to change us! God’s family is multicultural, varied and unique and I believe HE truly likes it that way!