A young mother revealed these vulnerable words about her mom’s group: “I feel like an outsider. At every meeting, I feel excluded and uncomfortable.”
An outsider, excluded, and uncomfortable.
Haven’t we all felt that way one time or another?
Yet, it’s easy to cling to the comfortable and not notice others who are alone. To swarm to our friends where we are known.
Or to be the one who wallows, stays put, and hides away.
What would it look like if we stepped out of the familiar to be known or to help someone feel included?
Mother Teresa once said, “The most terrible poverty is loneliness, and the feeling of being unloved.”
While many mask their faces with smiles, hurt and loneliness might be hiding behind them. By noticing a person—one person—you can speak warmth and life into her.
In following Jesus, we are called to look beyond ourselves. Sometimes that means leaving our padded space to enter one unfamiliar for the sake of another.
While our first instinct might be to stay put or stick with friends, what if we looked around the room for someone sitting alone? What if we spoke with that person? Someone’s day or even life could be changed—just because we noticed.
Maybe our lives would be changed by the gift of a person we might have otherwise overlooked.
Are you the one hiding away, feeling lonely? Chances are someone else is feeling the same way. You have a choice. Be that person to step out and reach out.
Or, are you the person abounding with friends? Who do you see? Who is sitting at that table alone, not part of the group? Who can you show that they have value and matter? Just by saying, “Hi, I don’t think I’ve met you. What’s your name?”
Jesus had his inner circle, but he talked to ALL people. He took time with them. He stopped to be with them. He noticed.
He noticed the woman who touched the edge of his cloak even though there were so many pressing in around him. He noticed the one who was desperate.
Let’s not be so fixated on our agendas, friend groups, and world, that we miss that person who feels like an outsider, excluded, and uncomfortable.
And if you’re the one aching as an outsider, you’re not alone. Be bold. Step out. Take a chance.
Step out of the comfortable to follow Jesus’ example of noticing, caring, and bringing life to others.
And, as our children watch us take that step, they will be quicker to notice, to reach out, to love—like Jesus did.