My daughter has become a big advocate for kids that are mistreated by other kids. Of course, I am so proud of her because I have always had a huge heart for the “misfits”. I have zero tolerance for bullies, and I have never understood why kids let other kids eat alone, play alone, or sit alone in school settings.
Although I grew up as a social butterfly, I still understand the heartache of being left out. I grew up in a trailer out in the sticks … this was not cool growing up. You had to live in a two story house in a subdivision. The subdivision had to have the big rock entrance sign, or it wasn’t really considered a “cool” subdivision and, of course, you had to have the coolest sneakers, or you were lame.
My parents were not cool. My dad was a mechanic, my mom a high-school dropout who worked in a warehouse … not cool. They weren’t involved with my school or with other people’s parents. Uncool.
In Elementary school the white shoes with the blue tag on the back… you know, KEDS, were super cool! Well, Keds were a little more expensive than the Payless white shoes. I had the Payless shoes. Not cool.
I never felt like I didn’t have friends but I tried my hardest to fit inside of the more popular circle. I got my foot in every once in a while and was elated by the acceptance. I felt like I belonged.
One day in 3rd grade, I was playing at recess and a group of “popular” girls, whom I thought I was actually friends with, walked up to me at the swing set and said, “April, we all feel like you are trying to be like us. You are trying to copy us and … you really just don’t fit.”
I remember her words so vividly because certain situations that rock your world just stick with you. It hurt. It knocked the breath out of me. I was inflicted with rejection and as a little kid, you just don’t quite know what to do with that feeling.
Of course I remember them saying that to me but I don’t remember my response. It could have been that I was silenced in hurt or … knowing me back in the day, I probably cussed them out (because you know us trailer park kids … we knew how to cuss!) LOL! Either way, I got my feelings hurt. Bad.
I knew I didn’t fit. My family didn’t have money. My mom didn’t understand “style” or what was “in”… and even if she did she sure wasn’t going to buy that expensive stuff for me.
As I grew up, I carried a piece of that conversation with me everywhere I went. I embedded it into my identity … “you just don’t fit.” I didn’t fit. A lot of times I don’t fit. Even inside of church “circles”, I still don’t fit.
Now that I’m older I am so thankful that I don’t fit into people’s ideas or molds. I was not made to fit in this cookie cutter society where everyone is following someone who doesn’t even knows where they’re going.
I am very passionate about teaching people to be comfortable with whom they are. I know that’s hard, especially when you’re younger in school and surrounded by peer pressure and the need to be accepted. It can be extremely tough! I was always naturally drawn to the “misfits” and the “underdogs”. I have always been drawn to them and them to me. I’m a misfit myself, and I’m okay with that. Jesus was a misfit. (Regardless of our Christian subculture now-a-day, don’t for a second think that Jesus was a hipster… because he wasn’t.)
Misfits are full of treasure, and I feel sorry for anyone who has belittled or bullied such magnificent beings. This world is so twisted, and we can easily become robots if we are not rooted in the Truth of Jesus Christ. We have to be anchored to Him and Him alone. You have to receive your identity from Him and Him alone. This world will toss you around like a rag doll if you don’t get anchored and stand firm.
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You, my friend, don’t have to be accepted by people to be valuable. You were made for a purpose. God created you with such excitement. He tailor made you just as you are for His glory. He meets you where you are in your transgressions, and He gently corrects you. He doesn’t give up on you no matter how many times you get it wrong. He pours out His love on you constantly. Your Heavenly Father treasures you.
*Throws hands up in VICTORY*
HERE’S TO MY FELLOW MISFITS!!! BE YOU, BE FREE, and PRESS ON!
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