The Misfit Mantra: "I Just Don't Fit In"
I often feel I don't "fit in." Pick a reason: I don't homeschool my kids anymore. I've got four kids. My kids are young. I have rowdy boys. I'm not sporty. We don't eat organic food. My wardrobe and home décor are eclectic/funky. I drive an old minivan that I can't seem to keep clean. We live on one income. It's easy for me to look around and feel like the "freak" who doesn't fit in among the seemingly "all-put-together" crowd.
Although I do find camaraderie among the scads of other women who also feel the pain, I've heard young girls, moms my age, and women seasons ahead of me rattle off the misfit mantra: "I just don't fit in."
Perhaps they didn't move away to attend college or don't have a degree, they're still single, their job isn't ideal, they're married but can't have children, they have children but are working outside the home. Maybe they are a single mother or have been widowed, divorced, or remarried. Or they're ashamed of their past. Whatever situation convinces them they don't fit in and grants them misfit membership, the end result is the same—their differentness isolates.
A Bigger Problem
This feeling of social isolation and the inability to relate to those around us is creating a much bigger problem in our lives. The more we look to find our fit, the more we isolate ourselves right out of communion with other believers. We convince ourselves other believers in the Body of Christ aren't able to relate to us and therefore can't offer us valuable and meaningful relationships. When "fitting" feels hard, we choose to walk away. Instead of finding love and acceptance in the church, we leave hurt, bitter, and alone.
The enemy would love for us to stay isolated from community. When we live isolated, we avoid sanctification, confrontation of our sins, repentance, forgiveness, encouragement, and edification. Away from compassionate relationships, there is no iron to sharpen iron and we grow weak and defenseless against Satan's lies. The enemy is like a lion, waiting to devour us—and in social isolation he will do so quickly and easily.
What's the Solution?
I'm not going to offer you ways to win friends or give you tips and tricks to be more popular in your Sunday school class or MOPS group. I am going to point out, that in Scripture we are never promised popularity. We are promised rejection (Heb. 13:13). So apparently, Jesus values not our chameleon-like ability to fit into a crowd but our ability to persevere through relational trials (Heb. 12:3).
The counsel we find in Scripture is intended to conform us into the likeness of Christ, not to attain us the acceptance of others. Our priority should never be the adoration of others (John 15:19), but instead to adore God alone (Deut. 11:1), to love others more than we love ourselves (1 John 3:11), and to serve instead of looking to be served (Matt. 20:28). Christ Jesus cared nothing about His honor, His fame, and His acceptance when He was reviled. Instead He valued God's glory above all else (Heb. 12:2) and went to the cross obediently without complaint (Isa. 53:7).
Recalibrate how you enter into social situations. Stop looking to find your fit, and make it your aim to make others feel the same love and acceptance of Christ that you have received! Ask the Holy Spirit to help you see the needs of others and identify ways you can show grace, love, and compassion in their lives. Be the kind of friend Christ calls you to be—show honor (Rom. 12:10), speak truthfully (Eph. 4:15), avoid gossip and slander (Eph. 4:31), demonstrate humility (Eph. 4:2), and pursue peace (2 Cor. 13:11).
Ask the Lord to help you care more about how you are "fitting in" with His call to holiness. Ask Him to use you for His glory in the Body of Christ. Pray for the Holy Spirit to take your eyes off of where you fit and secure them on Jesus, the author and perfecter of your faith. Then trust the Lord to complete the good work He began in you. He knows your heart, and He will provide for all of your needs physically, spiritually, and relationally.
The Final Fit
The next time you're feeling isolated, yearning to fit in, remember the One who offers you a forever-fit. Because Jesus bore your sins and mine on the cross (1 Peter 2:24), we are offered forgiveness (1 John 1:9) and eternally accepted before Holy God (Rom. 8:38). If you believe and confess, then on the last day when you stand before the Lord, you too will "fit in" forever. No longer will you long to find identity in acceptance with others, because you will be permanently and perfectly accepted and identified in Christ ( Col. 3:3).
Fitting in with the King of Heaven is immeasurably better than anything this world has to offer.
By Lindsey Carlson