We all want to fit in.
This is a natural, human desire that stems from the necessity of living in community. In fact, we were created to live in community. God recognized from the beginning that partnership through life is necessary. He created man and man was good, but God knew that it was not good for man to be alone. So God created Eve for partnership with Adam.
We are not designed to live in exile, alone and isolated.
This is why we are set into families as children and why we often continue living with others into college, eventually marrying and beginning our own families.
But not all community is good community.
Some community inspires us to do good and motivates us to do our best and live the way God wants us to. Those people live in a way that points us toward God and allows us to draw nearer to Him.
Other communities, we may find, glorify themselves instead of Jesus and focuses on the things of this world, instead of the things God tells us to set our focus on. We can certainly be friends with these people, but we should pay attention to whom we are giving our time. We become more like those we spend most of our time with.
But this is easier said than done, isn’t it?
Sometimes, we want so desperately to fit in that it becomes all we can think about. In attempt to satisfy our craving for acceptance and belonging, we develop tunnel-vision, solely focused on fitting in.
We want to feel like we are “normal.” Perhaps if we have recently moved and are the new girl in school, we look for ways to blend in with the rest of the girls in our class. Or maybe we are new to a club or sports team and we just want to do what everyone else is doing because we don’t want to seem weird. We may have just moved into our college dorm room and want our new roommates to like us so we go along with their activities. Whatever they might be.
Sometimes, trying new things can be a great way to connect with people.
Other times, going along with what our friends are doing can put us in situations where we feel uncomfortable, unsafe, and not truly known.
To be clear: I am not saying that we shouldn’t be friends with people who are not Christians or who act, look, or believe differently than we do. We definitely should be.
Jesus himself was constantly hanging out with partiers, thieves, criminals, and sinners. I am saying that we must be careful who we allow to influence our decisions and actions. As Christ-followers, we want to make choices which reflect Jesus to a watching world. We want to point others toward God in our everyday lives.
This can be difficult. It can be heartbreaking to stand up for what we know is right, in big ways and small. Sometimes it is just as hard to walk away from a group of people making fun of someone else as it is to say no to drinking alcohol underage.
Some things that appear good may actually be sin disguised in religiosity.
Prayer request time in Bible studies can slip into nothing but a time to gossip with the excuse of prayer. It is hard to say no to these things because we are choosing to change the status quo, to go against the grain and refuse to follow the crowd. That can make people uncomfortable.
As a result, we may be bullied, laughed at, or mocked. We may even be cast out from certain friend groups or cliques. But we must continue to lean into the heart of God, following faithfully in the way of Jesus.
How are we able to do this? Because we know that it is pointless and exhausting to place our self-worth in the approval of others. Instead, we seek our worthiness in Jesus.
Regardless of what the world says about us, this is what God says about each and every one of us:
You are dearly loved by God. (Colossians 3:12)
You are a child of God. (Galatians 3:26)
You are fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psalm 139:14)
You are a new creation. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
You are unfailingly loved. (Psalm 36:5-7)
You are rescued. (Psalm 18:19)
You are free. (Galatians 5:1)
There is no one else in the world like you.
And while we are so focused on fitting in, God is whispering: “Be YOU. I created you to be the one-and-only you on this whole earth in all of time. Be who I have called you to be.” Can you hear Him?
Dear Friends, let’s follow Jesus and let the noise of the world fade away.