She stood at the chalkboard looking at every student waiting for someone for a response. I looked down trying not t meet her gaze even though I knew the answer. I knew the other kids didn’t like it when I answered the questions in class, so today I was determined to be silent. Maybe if I didn’t say anything today and let them talk they would like me.
Our teacher shook her head as she turned towards the chalkboard letting us know the answer. Then I felt a pinch of disappointment inside of me for not speaking up. At the end of class my teacher announced we would have a quiz to ensure that we read our assignment. In that moment it felt like that class looked at me in disappointment like I was the reason we had a quiz.
My intentions were to simply fit in, however, I did it at the expense of who I was. I thought that by dimming my light they would be more comfortable around me. However, this wasn’t a solution to get their acceptance; they actually liked me less because they had to study for a quiz.
Over the years I’ve learned that the need to fit in is something that never goes away. At some level we all have that desire to connect with others, it’s a part of our nature. We just have to determine how far we are willing to go to be appreciated by others.
Desiring To Be Liked
My coworker told me that her daughter has been begging to get these graphic tees like her classmates. The problem is that the shirts are not appropriate for a 3rd grader. While she’s already an outsider for other reasons, my coworker wants her to learn that clothing isn’t going to change things.
As much as we desire to be like everyone else there is value in being different. Even though I despised being an outsider in high school I look back at those times with gratitude now. I was able to find myself during that time and become my own person instead of just like everyone else. Those times of being the odd one out helped me develop confidence in who I am.
We are all beautifully and wonderfully made, and even when others can’t see it our Father does. His word says we don’t need to seek the approval of man, but of the one who has the power of life and death. He’s shown me that I shouldn’t seek to fit into the crowd but to stand with the one he has for me.
Fit In for What?
One of my favorite stories comes from Daniel 3 when King Nebuchadnezzar has this created a golden idol. He wanted everyone to worship it, however, three young men would not abandon their faith to do so. They decided to stay true to their faith despite the consequences and being different.
The amazing thing about their story is that they were willing to risk it all and stand out to be true to themselves. In the same way, we have to risk standing out to show the beauty we possess within. If we don’t show who we are to others we risk the opportunity of not sharing our light to those who need it.
Standing out is bold and yes it does take bravery, but it’s better than blending in with the crowd. Don’t be like me, raise your hand and share the gift because we can all benefit from it. We were never meant to fit in because a long time ago we were set apart.